He is summoned…by a committee of nervous citizens expressly to be a hero, but finds that he cannot, at last, live up to his image; that there is a flaw not only in him, but also, we feel, in the entire set of assumptions that have allowed the image to exist. – Thomas Pynchon, “A Review of Oakley Hall’s Warlock”
Joe Paterno left in disgrace last November after 46 years from his position as head coach of the Penn State football team when allegations surfaced that he had knowledge of Jerry Sandusky’s sexual involvement with multiple children. Mike McQueary, one of Paterno’s assistants, went to Paterno in 2002 after witnessing Sandusky in the shower with a child. Recently, Paterno recounted that conversation he had with McQueary:
You know, he didn’t want to get specific,” Paterno said. “And to be frank with you I don’t know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man. So I just did what I thought was best. I talked to people that I thought would be, if there was a problem, that would be following up on it.
Francesco Schettino, captain of the now-sunk Costa Concordia, has been criticized for leaving his sinking cruise ship before all passengers had been evacuated. When asked why he left early Schettino said:
I was helping some passengers put the life boat to sea. At a certain point the mechanism for lowering it, blocked. We had to force it. Suddenly the system unblocked itself and I tripped and I found myself inside the life boat with a number of passengers.