Sickening neglect

Posted Nov. 13, 2011, at 9:32 p.m.

Horrific crimes were allegedly afoot right under the noses of the leaders of the Penn State University football program, and none of them — not the school’s president, not its athletic director, not legendary coach Joe Paterno — alerted the police.

They should hang their heads in shame.

The figure at the center of the allegations is Jerry Sandusky, a trusted assistant to Paterno for three decades. Before and after his retirement in 1999, he ran a charity for at-risk youth — where authorities say he victimized at least eight boys, over 15 years, in university football locker rooms.

The alleged crimes are sickening … Just as awful is the neglect of the higherups.

There was an eyewitness to each of two crimes, in 1999 and 2002. Five youngsters, possibly more, were molested after those episodes, officials say. The witness to the 2002 crime told Paterno he saw Sandusky molesting a boy in a shower. Paterno referred the incident to Athletic Director Tim Curley.

Paterno has not been charged with anything, nor has university President Graham Spanier, though the Pennsylvania attorney general pointedly refused to say he was not under investigation.

Criminal or not, their legacies are forever stained. They purport to mold young men. They failed dozens of young boys.

The New York Daily News (Nov. 10)

Outside D.C., hope

While the inhabitants of Washington, D.C., sit in the worst political gridlock the nation has seen in a lifetime, amazing things are happening all around the country — without the blessing of those who get paid to do the public’s bidding.

Community service projects call to people of every conceivable political stripe to come together for a day to get something done: paint a library’s well-worn walls, clean up public parks and other such amenities, adopt a neighborhood that needs a little tender loving care, or tend to a stretch of road that gets a lot of litter and no respect.

When you look at the two realities side by side — communities taking care of business, and professional politicians taking precious time to accomplish nothing — it is truly amazing. It’s enough to make good-hearted citizens wonder why and wish for a better day.

The contrast is even more compelling when you factor in how people rally each other to take care of business. Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are the social media choices of concerned citizens and citizen-activists who know that a straight line is the shortest distance between any two objects, including a problem that needs to be fixed and the best solution to it.

The Town Talk, Alexandria, La. (Nov. 10)

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