Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Saddened and Ashamed

I always thought of becoming a lawyer.  No, really.  I thought it would be a pretty cool gig...until I heard the jokes (and had first-hand knowledge of some lawyers).  You know, the ones we've all heard - "What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?  A great start."  Sad...but oh, so true.  Still, I thought it more of the process that was a calling, and having to actually debate.  That's it - the debate.  That is what I enjoy.  With that, I cannot imagine how easy it would be to debate some on the issues of the day.  Are these issues what have me "saddened and ashamed"?  To a degree, yes.  The thing is, I am more frustrated than anything, I believe.  Frustrated in the fact that people - everyday people with actual brains and minds and thoughts - are so easily swayed by the media.  I now realize, as well as have firsthand knowledge, of the fact that we are easily duped by the media in print, on the radio, and on television.  Yes...firsthand knowledge.  The 'sharing' is coming up - give me a few seconds to set this up...because I am ashamed and embarrassed about us as a society right now.  **WARNING: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN OPEN MIND AND CANNOT READ FURTHER KNOWING I HAVE DONE MY RESEARCH, CLOSE THE PAGE NOW.  PLEASE.**

I hate and abhor child molestation and abuse.  Period.  Vile and disgusting and a theft that can never be repaid.  As a parent, I can state publicly that I used to live next door to a state trooper.  When my daughter was but two or three years old, he and I were sitting in my garage looking out to the street where the kids were playing.  He was telling me of some of the more horrific crimes he had investigated, including one with child molestation.  At that point, I politely informed him that, should anything even close to that ever happen to my daughter, he was to come to me first and make sure I was restrained.  Then, he was to go into my home and remove all weapons and ammunition.  Then...and ONLY then...could he tell me what happened.  I would, without question, be like Samuel L Jackson in, "A Time To Kill," where he avenged his daughter.  So w're on the same page, right?  You get it and understand?  Current events - Jerry Sandusky should rot in hell.  Period.

I have purposely not spoken out on this for a few months as we watched how it all played out, AND I wanted to let Louis Freeh do his job as an Independent Investigator into what happened at Penn State.  So everyone knows - I am from Pennsylvania originally, however I was NEVER a Penn State fan.  I went to Temple University and prayed for them to, at least once in my lifetime, beat PSU in football.  I then moved to Virginia and had a son that went to VA Tech.  My friends and former roommates went to Tech, too.  I pulled for them, BUT....I have ALWAYS been a fan of the Crimson Tide.  Since a kid growing up in PA, I respected Bear Bryant and the team in Tuscaloosa.  I respected Joe Paterno...BUT was not a disciple.  I respected him for what he meant to the game.  Hell, who wouldn't respect someone that did what he did for the kids that went to school there? A-HA!  There you are saying things that I have been reading and hearing this week - "He was a pedophile-enabler," or "He covered up child abuse - Louis Freeh said so and I heard it on TV!!"  There is the problem.  How many of you actually read Freeh's report?  Yes, I have.  All of it.  All 267 pages of it.  Was I bored?  No.  Was I curious? No.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing because, as I had grown up with this name being part of the school all my life, I found it hard to believe AND I was hearing conflicting reports from those that HAD read the report.

What was reported on television by Louis Freeh and others was his summary.  It should be noted, too, that the ONLY key witness he spoke to was Graham Spanier.  In his summary, he stated that, "It would be a reasonable conclusion," to assume certain things.  Call me fickle, crazy, or just a non-believer, but I STILL believe in Due Process.  That we are, fundamentally, innocent until proven guilty.  Again, let me reiterate - Child Abuse and Molestation is WRONG and SHOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED.  With that said, though, who among us (show of hands, please) would like to be accused of something like this (Oh, CAN and HAS happened) without your day in court?  Now, having said that, too - Jerry Sandusky was found guilty.  Due process at it's finest.  Schultz and Curley are yet to go to court, however they are charged with perjury.  Graham Spanier was forced out.  In ALL of the Freeh Report, I found mention of Joe Paterno having been told of an act of abuse and he reported it.  Yes, to the Campus Police...who, by the way, are a recognized police force in the Commonwealth with all rights and responsibilities of any other municipal police force.  He reported it...and Curley, Schultz, and Spanier did nothing to either inform the Board of Trustees, nor go to the Dept of Public Welfare.

I've heard a lot about the situation that started in 1998.  Here are the facts - this instance WAS investigated by the police.  There was also a psychologist involved that concluded that there was no sexual abuse at that point.  Then, in 2001, there were actually detectives in a woman's home AFTER her son had showered with Sandusky at the school that overheard him ADMIT to this.  Still, no charges were filed.  The current Governor, Tom Corbett, Attorney General of PA at the time, did NOT seek an indictment.  Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?  Now, Louis Freeh states in the report that, Schultz, Curley, Spanier, and Paterno were aware of the alleged instances of molestation, yet did nothing to protect the children from further acts?  I want to know where the police, investigators, Attorney General, and others were when THEY WERE AWARE of these acts yet still DID NOTHING.

I think what happened on this campus is a tragedy and a travesty.  There are many that need to pay, however lets make sure we get the right people AND punish everyone that had knowledge of, yet did nothing.  For everything I've heard about Joe Paterno having (by his own admission) not done enough, there are far too many that did NOTHING.  Graham Spanier, most notably, should be locked away.  Schultz and Curley should join him.  Paterno is dead.  If you read the report, you might have a difficult time wondering how the NCAA could exact the punishments they did.  You might truly have to ask, "Wait a minute - was this really a 'Paterno-initiated' issue?"  It was not - read the report.  You've let the media tell you what it says...and they only have 3 minutes of a 30 minute broadcast each evening.

Here's my final point, and one I am struggling with a lot.  I have heard many people screaming on the radio about how, "it's about the kids.  We need to stand up for the kids.  What Joe Paterno did is horrible and we need to protect the kids."  Joe Paterno did not rape little boys and, as far as I can tell, he and Mike McQueary are the only people that told anyone voluntarily.  I am struggling to figure out, though, how taking down a statue, removing his wins from a record book, or penalizing today's players is helping the victims heal.  If you're going to take $60 Million and give it to the families, I'd say it's a start...but I am guessing there is nothing anyone will ever do that will truly heal them of what happened at the hands of this vile scum.  Should something be done?  ABSOLUTELY - to the people that truly helped cover and conceal things.  The three I mentioned, the Board of Trustees, and the Governor of PA.  THESE are the people that let him continue doing these things.  To the fans and alumni of Penn State, I can answer your question, too - "Why Joe Paterno?"  Because.  Because he was the face of the school forever.  He ran a good program that was violation-free.  To indict the players - ANY of them - that played for him is unjust and unfair.  They did not do this.  As a matter of fact, the "Grand Experiment," as they say, is over.  Yet, just two days ago a report was released documenting NCAA football programs and their graduation rates.  I was proud of Alabama at #5...yet it paled in comparison to Penn State standing, still proudly because it is a statement about their players, at #1 with the highest rates in the country.

I'm sad and ashamed that we allow people to be knocked down because we are eager to see them fall.  Amazing that, in this day and age, we still cannot stand to see someone doing the right thing.  We just KNOW there has to be a scandal there.  Think what you want and take from this what you will.  I did not write in support of Penn State and I would gladly string up anyone harming a child in ANY way.    There is no way, after reading this report, that I believe the corrective actions of the NCAA were properly placed.  There are criminal charges to be filed.  While we all KNOW college football is big on these campuses, let's not make a statement just for the sake of saying college football has too much power.  Let's convict the criminals.  If we, as citizens, want to make this our Saturday calling and give the money we do, so be it.  That's a statement about us, not the school, and we're empowering these programs.  It's the same reason athletes are making 30 gazillion dollars after college - WE allow it.  WE go see them play.  I just think fair is fair and right is right.  It's the way I was raised.  Let's make our 'informed decisions' based on ALL the facts...not conjecture from talking heads on TV.  I was also taught to think for myself and get all the facts before reacting.  We need to do more of that.

Until next time..............


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