Saturday, May 20, 2017


"The time is always right to do what is right."

Martin Luther King, Jr. uttered those words during a commencement speech at Oberlin
College  in 1963. Unfortunately, his message about doing the right thing probably fell
on deaf ears back then, and it's quite apparent, it means very little in society today.

The late civil rights leader would roll over in his grave if he got a whiff of the stench coming
from a world that is anything but civil. That quote about doing "what is right" has morphed
into doing what is right for yourself.

In the last month alone, we've seen fights on airplanes, adults brawling at a high school
graduation, in a Baptist church, no less, and a president who has a total lack of respect
for just about everything.

The lack of civility, compassion, respect, and the failure "to do what is right", was fully
encapsulated by two separate incidents with striking similarities. People forgot about doing
what was right and instead, did what was right for themselves, or so they thought.

During a frat party at Penn State in February, Tim Piazza was going through an initiation
(hazing) ritual with several other pledges. He went through a "gauntlet" where he consumed
a ridiculous amount of vodka in a short amount of time. With a blood-alcohol level of nearly
.40, Piazza fell down a flight of stairs not once, but twice. He was also kicked, nudged, slapped,
and had water thrown in his face by his friends and 'brothers.'

During the subsequent investigation, law enforcement officials discovered a text from a leader
of the frat who sent a note to his brothers in the frat house:

"If need be, just tell them what I told you guys, found him behind [a bar] the next morning
at around 10 a.m., and he was freezing-cold, but we decided to call 911 instantly, because
the kid's health was paramount."

The kid's health was so paramount, nobody in the frat house bothered to call 911 for almost
12 hours after Piazza fell down the stairs. Not sure that could be categorized as calling

Piazza was virtually ignored by his frat brothers and pretty much left to die, which he did.
Medical personnel told the parents of Piazza if their son had received assistance immediately,
he'd be alive today.

In late March, almost 300 miles east of Penn State and State College, in the ultra-ritzy town
of New Canaan, Connecticut, Andrew Knight, an 18-year-old high school senior, allegedly
went to a liquor store and, according to the police report, "bought four 30-packs of beer, two
handles of hard liquor and a bottle of Fireball whiskey" and went back home to host a party
where nearly 50 kids gathered. Man, that is enough liquor to satisfy the frat boys back at Penn
State. The parents, of course, weren't home at the time.

According to the police report, several kids were throwing up on the floor during the night
of drinking. One person ended up falling down a flight of stairs. Rumors were flying that
the person, a 17-year-old male who is a star on the baseball team, was actually pushed down
the stairs.

That 17-year-old baseball player reportedly suffered serious injuries and according to
the police report, had blood oozing from his ear and was unconscious for nearly 40
minutes and nobody called 911.

Let's see, a male falls down the stairs at a party, suffers significant injuries that leaves
him unconscious and nobody calls 911 immediately. Wow, sounds a lot like what happened
at Penn State.

And just as the "leader" of the frat and his brothers failed to do the right thing, it's quite
apparent that kids at the party in New Canaan, as well as the "leader" of the family of that house,
failed to do what was right, too.

According to the arrest warrant, Doug Knight, the father of Andrew, that kid who bought
enough liquor to satisfy the Penn State frat boys, "relayed to his son not to call 911." The
report goes on to say that "Knight arrived back at the residence and became fully aware
of the gravity of the situation in person. Still, for approximately 10 minutes after arriving
he argued with [a girl at the party] about why he refused to call 911 and causing [that person]
to curse him again and decide to call her father again, who ultimately placed the call
for help himself a full half hour after the situation became known to the Knights of
an unconscious, bleeding from the ear youth.”

                                 "The time is always right to do what is right."

Calling 911 immediately would have been the right thing to do. A young man was lying
unconscious on the floor with blood oozing from his ear and just like the situation at Penn
State, everyone starts thinking about themselves instead of the kid suffering on the floor.

Just as the frat leader did at Penn State, Doug Knight, a father who should know better,
allegedly tells his kid not to call 911. And allegedly argued with a young girl who wanted
to know why he wasn't calling 911. Clearly, the young girl was blessed with far more
common sense and compassion than Mr. Knight.

According to several newspaper reports, Mr. Knight was heard saying, "I don't want the
cops in my house." Right, he could have a kid seriously injured in his house and one who
may have died in the absence of medical assistance, but for god's sake, he cannot have cops
in the house. You know, the same cops that protect the town and those who would put their
lives on the line to save his family from being harmed.

Gee, Mr. Knight, I'm sure having those cops in your house would not have gone too well
with your golfing buddies at the country club. You probably didn't want to have those
uncomfortable stares from people in town as you went to get your morning coffee at
Starbucks. That would be truly terrible. Yep, a kid is unconscious on the floor of your
home but you're more concerned about how it would look if your name showed up in the
police blotter in the town's newspapers.

What the hell is wrong with you? If your kid was injured on the floor at somebody's house
there is little doubt you would've gone ballistic after finding out that nobody was in any kind
of hurry to call 911 as he lay bleeding from his ear while unconscious on the floor.
I'm sure you would've tried to rip the head off of the parent who told his kid not to call for help.

What is wrong with you, Mr. Knight? What is wrong with the people at Penn State? What
the hell is wrong with our society. Why do we have such a blatant lack of respect, compassion,
and regard for human life? It's become disgusting. Why are people only doing the right thing
when it's right for themselves. Leaving kids to suffer on the floor of a frat house or a regular
one is reprehensible.

                               "The time is always right to do what is right."

Mr. Knight managed to do one right thing in this heartbreaking and almost tragic case. He
decided to turn himself in to authorities to face charges. His son, Andrew, went with him.
Side-by-side in mugs shots. That's not a good look and I'm sure Mr. Knight's golfing buddies
will be talking about it. Everybody else in town is.

You not only got your name in the paper, Mr. Knight, but your picture, too. I'm sure a lawsuit
is coming your way also.

You could've provided an example to the young kids about doing what is right. Instead,
you tried to do only what you thought was right for yourself.


  1. Factual and beautifully written. Thank you Mr Devlin for having the integrity and courage to tell the truth. Although we have never met in person, you are clearly a stand up guy. Thank you for doing the RIGHT THING. Let's home this will start to become more prevalent in New Canaan and the country as a whole. God speed XO HEATHER DIAL, New Canaan, Ct

  2. Paul you and I go way back to our High School years at NCHS. Then as now booze is the underlying cause of tragic occurances (and in the issues you sight in this article). Had drinking not been involved, this likely never would have happened. Booze and drugs cloud judgement and doing "the right thing" in the fog of a booze engorged situation never ends well. As someone who grew up locally I partook in the party's "the fun", and the over drinking. It led to a failed marriage, but ultimately led to me looking within. Today I am a far better person. I would suggest everyone including the parties to these tragedies take a look at their own behaviors and ask to I model good behavior for my kids.

  3. I disagree with your statement "doing the right thing in the fog of a booze engorged situation never ends well." Doing the right thing is a moral and ethical standard of conduct and should have little bearing on the condition or state of mind. Presumably intoxicated and lacking sound judgement, the son was morally compelled to call and ask for help from someone about what to do. He trusted his father to be his guide. Unfortunately, his father lacked a moral compass and put his needs above another person's life. My son was at a party when a person with hemophilia was injured with a lot of broken glass from a table that collapsed and shattered beer bottles. He insisted above the protests of others and the professor partygoers that they call 911 even if he suffered the wrath of being an underage drinker. That is ethics. Doing the right thing all the time.

  4. If the situation was that Mr.Knights child that needed medical attention and no one helped he would go ballistic... That child survived and I hope the judge throws the book at the him and the family sues... Hell of a way to reach your child right and wrong leading by example !!