By Frankie O
There are events that create these lines in our lives and nothing is the same. For anyone associated with Penn State University, a line was drawn on November 5, 2011, and there is no going back. For the alleged victims of Jerry Sanduskys evil, predatory reign these lines were unfortunately drawn a long time ago, covered in a sickening shroud. I can only hope that for their sake that a new, uplifting one can be drawn, but the cynic, and realist, in me has no idea if that can ever be the case.
I think about these victims every day. Thats the parent in me. I cant help but feel a little guilty whenever I give my little ones a hug and kiss. I realize how precious they are and how fortunate I am to have them in my life. For some reason Ive been doing it a lot more frequently lately. How some monster could see them as something else is very unsettling. Seeing children for the gift they are is at the core being a parent. I dont know if it is coincidental that Sandusky does not have any biological children of his own. I know for myself, when my oldest was born it changed the way I looked at everything. First and foremost was the unconditional love and need to provide for and protect the new center of my universe. And not being unaware of what was right or wrong, being responsible for someone elses little angel took on an entire new meaning. I cant think of a bigger responsibility then when I am in charge of the care of someone's child.
That a sick deviate can exist is something that a behavioral psychologist can try to explain, but that doesnt mean the normal-thinking of us can understand. The issues being dealt with here are beyond any sort of acceptable behavior. But what makes me especially nauseous in this case is that there where highly educated people, who were put in a position because they should know better, and they did nothing to stop the atrocities from continuing. When procedure means that a university official can determine when a crime has occurred without consulting police, this should be a big red flag that morality has been shoved aside for profitability.
The more we learn the sicker it gets. I dont know when the thought of a cover-up began, but you cant convince me that isnt what occurred. In that case, what kind of monster agrees the safety and innocence of young kids is worth saving the program? I cant begin to fathom the depths of the feelings of the victims, but how could one be so unfeeling as to turn their backs on them?
The fallout, of course, is that it casts a stain on anyone associated with the university in any way. I know there has been a lot of talk about the current team and I get that, but this is much bigger. Being a symbol for child abuse, which the university now is, means that anyone who wears the Penn State colors, walks on the university campus or has the name prominently featured in their resume, is going to have to answer questions and explain how they feel about what has occurred.
Hopefully this will create enough emotion that it motivates us to make sure that the truth is learned and no matter who it is, anyone in any way responsible will have to pay a price.
Not that that will erase any of what has happened. Listening to the Bob Costas interview with Sandusky on Monday was chilling. I wont try to analyze his pauses and inflections for what secret meaning they possess, I think its obvious enough, but by just going on the facts of what he was talking about, at what point is it appropriate behavior for a man in his 50s to be showering at any time, let alone late at night in an empty building, with a young boy? Horeseplay? Again, I dont understand why this guy is not in jail! Not only that, he has no restrictions on his movements or is being monitored. In fact he was advised by his attorney, to take a vacation with his wife so he will be ready for the stress of the upcoming trial. Does that make anyone else angry?
This brings me to the least understood situation of what we are dealing with, at least with some that I talk to. These victims must confront their abuser in a court of law if justice is to be done. In a way it is to re-live their nightmare over again for all to see. I know that this is a fundamental procedure in our judicial system, and rightfully so, but it rips at my heart to think of how painful that must be. One can only hope that they have the strength and support to be able to do what must be done. And now that they are older, they can finally stand up to the person who willfully took advantage of them, in a way they were unable to as a child.
That is also how people are going to understand the magnitude of what has taken place. This story still has many, many unanswered questions. What has yet to come out is the explanations of what those tied to the university will use as their excuse. Im sure it will center on one person though, and whether you believe them or him. Mike McQueary being able to talk has to make a lot of people nervous. He also will have a say in the way that Joe Paterno will be viewed from here on out, although there still are some who refuse to believe that Joe could have done any wrong. At this point its a little late for that kind of thinking, isnt it? Its going to be to what degree of wrong, when all is said and done.
But whatever happens, its going to be when we hear from the kids themselves that this whole awful episode will hit home. No amount of spin-doctoring is going to be able to change what happened to them and the culture that allowed it to happen more than once.
The contradiction that is Paterno and what was built at Penn State is that we should strive to be something better, that education and brotherhood are great virtues. But the measure of what we achieve isnt in the magnitude of what we have built, it is in the knowledge that we make this a better place to live one at a time, bringing everyone with us, especially those who cant always fend for themselves. Somehow, Paterno and those around him forgot this very basic idea. They became enamored with themselves and all that they possessed. Soon we will learn at what price.