Friday, November 11, 2011

Penn State: Keeping a Focused Hate

The Penn State scandal has rocked the core of this nation harder than a Rolling Stones concert. In the following days, none would be surprised if more gruesome information comes out from this disgusting ordeal. We pray for the molested children, we pray for their families, we pray for the Penn State community.

Having visited the campus on many occasions, I learned quickly that the campus is the city. Commerce traffic moves rapidly and without delay. The atmosphere has always been lively, full of campus spirit, tradition, and above all else, pride. Beaver stadium was a Mecca that even if not a Penn state fan, was something to put on your bucket list. But step outside the institutions walls and there’s nothing more than corn fields and cow piles that stretch on for hours. This disconnect is stark and somewhat mind-boggling.

In this small town, gossip travels like tumble weed on PED’s which begs the question, how many supposed responsible adults had an inkling of what went on? The rumor mill had almost 15 years to be churning when campus Police questioned Jerry Sandusky and told him it was not appropriate to shower with little boys.
Anyone who thinks that Penn State shouldn’t completely clean out their football closet or think it was wrong to fire Joe Paterno via phone call hasn’t read the 23 page grand jury testimony or is too ignorant to understand it.

Paterno’s moral obligation was clear and he failed the test in a crash and burn fashion.

The detailed accounts of horror make the movie Saw look like a Disney amusement park ride. And here is this small town, represented by that Nittany lion emblem, the proud “We are” chants felt in every student has lost its meaning. There is a loss of innocence for the program and all that live in the now ironically called Happy Valley.

I remember reading the novel “In Cold Blood” in college and I couldn’t help but see the connection between that rural Holcomb Kansas town and the town of Penn state. It was over fifty years ago that this farming community was shaken to its core with the brutal killing of the Clutter family on one seemingly ordinary November night. Even the local Holcomb police lost their inculpability when they found out what happened.

The scary difference that makes the Penn State tragedy worse is that those murdering monster’s were jailed immediately, while Sandusky was seen walking the campus, working out in the facility, and wearing PSU garb only last week.

I just hope for the sake of the innocent in this community and the current Penn state football player’s who had nothing to do with this horrific event, that they are able to come together and move forward, while never forgetting this disgrace.

Many have focused on the 1,000 students that rioted Joe Paterno’s exit, flipping over news vans, seemingly looking for an excuse to party when they should have been morbid as a funeral. But, let’s not condemn the 45,000 other undergrad and grad students for the stupidity of a few. These students need more from us right now, more than prejudiced blame for a crime they didn’t commit or knew existed.

Many of my friends and colleagues have moved their anger to the whole of this community, condemning all who breathe, live, and work there. It’s a slippery slope.

At a time when thousands of Penn Stater’s are still in shock, the rest of us on the outside need to be their support system, not hate brigade.