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Psychiatrist Explains Culture Of Power

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(Photo By- Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

(Photo By- Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined NewsRadio 1020 KDKA in 2004 as co-host of The KDKA...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Prior to Wednesday night, Joe Paterno’s power base was legendary at Penn State.

Modern history is full of those who have amassed power and used it in contrasting ways.

English cleric Charles Colton once said, “No man is wise enough nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power.”

From Abraham Lincoln: “If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

“It can be a real challenge to remember what your limitations are,” Dr. P. Van Nickell, chairman of the psychiatry department at Allegheny General Hospital, said.

In the case of Joe Paterno at Penn State his status and power were widely known.

“Most of us succumb to our human arrogance and start to believe what everyone’s saying about us and consciously or subconsciously surround ourselves with people who agree with us,” Dr. Nickell said.

For Joe Paterno, that power was bestowed on him on many fall Saturdays by thousands in the adoring throng.

And as William Pitt once said: “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

And inside the world of Penn State, Paterno was virtually unchecked.

“Over years if we don’t get corrections to the course, the small deviations build up over time.”

In this case, Dr. Van Nickell says the culture of unquestioned power deviated priorities to the university’s interest over the victims.

“I would have to think that on some level that was a decision that was made,” Nickell said. “Protect the turf, protect the power, protect the image.”

Dr. Van Nickell believes Joe Paterno is basically an honorable man who once the dust settles outside the cloud of power will look back and be surprised by the decisions he made.

RELATED STORIES/LINKS:

PHOTO GALLERY: Chaos On Campus After PSU Fires JoePa
VIDEO: Interim Coach Tom Bradley (11/10)
VIDEO: Joe Paterno Speaks After Firing (11/9)
VIDEO: Board of Trustees News Conference (11/9)
VIDEO: Watch The Attorney General’s News Conference (11/7)
STORY: Gov. Corbett Asks Penn State Students To Show Restraint
STORY: Bradley Takes Interim Coaching Job “With Mixed Emotions”
LINK: More On The Penn State Scandal

WARNING Contains Graphic Material: Read The Entire Grand Jury Presentment
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LINK: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
LINK: Penn State Nittany Lions

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