With news this morning that Penn State coach Joe Paterno has died of lung cancer, I am reposting this column from last November. The scandal, it's now clear, killed the master at age 85.
Enough already. This lunacy is past crazy.
Joe Paterno, an icon of sport, was fired as coach of the Penn State football team yesterday. The reason: a peripheral tie to a child abuse scandal. The 85-year-old guy was preparing to coach his last game. He had already tendered his resignation.
Joe had heard about an assistant's heinous abuse of kids and reported it to his superior. He wasn't charged with a crime. Yet the school's trustees whacked him.
This comes on top of a life sentence for a 26 year old guy in Collier County for possessing porn on his computer. Enrique Guevara Vilca didn't molest a kid. Or at least he wasn't accused of this. Had he, he might have gotten a lesser penalty.
I have standing to declare an end to these hysterics. I have three young children including an eight-year-old girl whom I love and cherish. My next door neighbor was arrested as a sex offender. Hell, Miami New Times broke the story nationally of sex offenders being forced to live under a bridge because of insane rules governing where they can rent or buy.
Sure, sexual abuse of children is a horrible thing. We need to educate the public about it and clamp down on those who would allow such an accursed phenomenon. But the focus on this single crime is a distraction from more important issues like poverty, education and freedom of speech.
Look at the numbers: Even by the advocates' stats, old fashioned child abuse -- in which people beat their kids or leave them to eat dog food -- is ten times as prevalent as sexual abuse. Nobody's crowing about the bigger issue. Maybe they should.
A half dozen major economies are on the edge of default these days. We are about to slide back into recession. There's war in Afghanistan and a half dozen other places. And my garbage man still hasn't arrived to pick up yesterday's refuse because we are laying off public servants like never before. So can we please, please, please start focusing on the important stuff.
Joe Paterno should have been allowed to go out in style. An 83-year-old guy who has given his life to teaching young men about sport deserves that much.
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