Monday of this past week brought about four new AAA batteries for my television remote, as I tuned into the media coverage of the horrendous tragic shootings and stories of heroism which occurred in Aurora, Colo., and the NCAA sanctions handed down to Penn State University in the aftermath of the unspeakable acts by a former assistant football coach which occurred on campus in the football facility at what was once referred to as Happy Valley.
With the seriousness of both situations, and my wanting to watch and listen to the coverage of both, I made sure my remote was ready for the pounding it would take switching from CBS to CNN to ESPN.
As I watched the coverage of the Aurora tragedy, I was perplexed at the posting of the picture of the alleged shooter - the one with the smirk on the face of the accused. To me it was somewhat disturbing that this particular picture was used in the coverage, and I felt the media used poor judgment in posting it in that coverage. In the coverage of the perpetrator's appearance in court, I watched as the accused killer appeared, to me, unrepentant, and almost apathetic as to what he was accused of doing. This too, disturbed me.
Questions popped up in my mind, as I'm sure they did in many minds, as to how someone could be allowed to order so much ammunition for weaponry, and there didn't seem to be any concern from the places from which he ordered it.
Obviously, the accused was very intelligent and did everything he could to not give himself away. I'm sure he did not order all of it from the same supplier, but it's still mind boggling after hearing what he accumulated and what police found in his room after the tragedy happened in the theater.
In the midst of all of the violence, questions, and the still stunned feelings I had watching the coverage of this senseless act, I heard stories of heroism by others in that theater, who disregarded their own safety to help others, and who, without a second thought, tried to administer to some of the victims. This was a sliver of light in a situation so dark that you wondered if there could even possibly be any light. And then there were those analysts who tried to see which presidential candidate gained or lost by their participation or reaction to this tragedy, and what each candidate's policy is on gun control.
Does any of that even matter? What about the victims?
And then I switched to ESPN to listen to the decisions of the NCAA with regard to the sanctions on Penn State University and the scandalous happenings of what was a 13-year atrocity there. As the penalties were read, reactions were of people gasping, moaning, burying their heads in their hands, and some stating their feelings of how the sanctions were unfair, how they would punish the present players and new coaches who are with the football team now when things happened way before they even got to Penn State to play or coach. I guess my response to that is that these young men still get to play football on Saturdays, and the coaches still get to coach football. With the reduction in scholarships, will the team be as good as it might be with them? Probably not, but the team still gets to play football, so how are they hurt, and what about the victims?
Some former players and analysts interviewed stated that they're putting present players in a position to be physically pounded against Big Ten teams, but I'd question smaller conference teams who play powerhouse major conference teams each year. Is it any easier for them?
One of the sanctions was to strip Penn State of all wins since 1998, thereby moving Joe Paterno from first overall in wins to eighth. Not sure how that fits the crime, accept maybe by taking Paterno's name off the top of the list takes some "luster" away from the situation which he may have played a part in covering up.
I do agree with taking anyone who may have played a part in this heinous situation out of the main focus or out of the focus of attention, as that focus must be on the victims. Keeping his name atop that list and keeping the statue up on campus would probably bring attention to the wrong place. I don't think the statue should be destroyed; maybe move it to Paterno's hometown, and his supporters can still exercise their right to honor his legacy. Regarding stripping the wins, he was the coach of the team during those wins, so those supporters of Paterno will always know that. But getting upset over the stripping of some football wins, and the loss of future bowl games and some scholarships, brings the attention back to winning football games and not the unconscionable assault and abuse of the victims in this scandal. I fully agreed with the fine, and especially the uses for the fine, imposed on Penn State.
In all the coverage of these two tragic occurrences against humanity, questions were raised which sometimes appeared to focus on, what I felt, was the wrong priority. In both tragedies, the thoughts, concerns and focus should have rightfully been on the victims.
Whenever anything like this happens, and it happens far too often these days, it is imperative that the first priority be on the victims. Nothing else matters in my mind, and again, these are only my thoughts. My prayers are with the innocent who were killed and victimized.