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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Decide to Decide

Aunt Stuff called the other day....not happy at all. This is the same always happy woman who has minimized her ailments over her later years. When I asked her how she was doing a few months ago she told me in that wonderful west Texas drawl "oh, Donna we're still kickin'! Just not very high!"
That same Aunt Stuff wasn't on my phone the other day. The woman on my phone was shaking with anger. She almost whispered, "Donna? Did you hear what has happened at Penn State?" When I assured her I had, she told me she was sick. Sick in her heart, sick at her stomach and sick with the thought of what had happened there.

Sick that young boys had been so used at the hands of a monster.

And no one did anything to help them. I cannot get the images out of my head. I have two sons....I remember when they were 10 what if this had happened to them and no one tried to save them? I can't wrap my head around what is going through their minds. The boys, the moms, the many innocent people involved......
The fact that no one helped these boys, and so very many people knew what Sandusky was doing...Aunt Stuff read the grand jury many people knew what had happened. And no one did anything. How can that be?

I hope I taught my children to be valiant. To be people of honor who stand up when the world would tell them to sit down. Should we have to reassess on something that should be a reflex? Shouldn't it be a reflex to protect a child? There should be no thought to our own safety or in this case to our own career when a child is being raped.

Joe Paterno was an icon. Now he is a pariah......his reputation ruined. He is scarred forever. It is horrific that he made such a disastrous decision. Couldn't he have made one more phone call? But just one report? And no follow up? There was an eye witness, not a rumor, an eye witness. But they all filed it away, oh that silly pedophile! Let's just take away his key and tell him not to bring young boys on campus any more. Again, I am sick.

This monster has brought down a whole town. Ruined lives and careers in every direction. Joe Paterno will never get over this, his wife and children are forever scarred, Penn State will always have this scandal to deal with. Proud students who have to come to grips with the man they considered their "dad" let a ten year old boy be destroyed and did nothing. And how many other victims? It is hard to believe such evil can exist, it is also hard to believe that this monster was welcome on the Penn State campus up to a week ago, working out in the weight room.

I have been heartened that most of the sports figures that have come forward have said the same thing....."I had nothing but respect for Joe Paterno, but I have sons....."

As typical with evil it was all well hidden. For years it was hidden. I saw Joe Paterno as a guy who never ventured out of his beloved State College Pennsylvania. His home was on campus, he was the undisputed king of Penn State Football. Hundreds of boys went through his program.....he prided himself on making them men, teaching them values, making them work hard and be disciplined. Again the reality is parents are the role models, parents teach morals, how to work, be disciplined. Parents teach values. Sometimes we trust the people around us with too much and we foolishly abdicate our responsibilities. This story should make us all stop and think. And then reconsider the people we continuously set on pedestals for no real good reason. And trust.....with our children.....why do we do that?

This is why we have to decide to matter what, no matter the cost....we will stand for what is right.