The stunning and horrific news emanating out of Happy Valley has peaked the curiosity and ire of the nation. However, my hope is that we might use this tragedy to advance the victims, students, Penn State University and the public discourse as we continue forward. After all, is there a better time for a teaching moment than when things appear so helpless? Aren't the darkest parts of our days just before the light of dawn?
It seems to me that all of us should be very careful about judging the alleged perpetrators in the court of public opinion, as that seldom brings about true justice. Instead, it gives us an immediate surge of relief, but the remedy leaves us feeling empty.
My question is: what makes a man who could be everyone's grandfather commit such heinous acts on children? Further, what can we do to keep this from becoming more than the national epidemic it has become? This may sound a little bit "hockey" to the reader, but I'd like to see a national committee composed of our brightest psychologists, sociologists and social scientists convene to study sexual abuse, and to report its findings. Countless interviews with committed pedophiles could be conducted from prisons throughout the nation to unlock some of the reasons why these acts occur, and what can be done to stop it from happening. Most important, how can we keep these people from having access to children? Seeking answers is our best defense. Why are we surprised that a possible cover-up may have occurred? When you think about it, aren't we taught, especially men, from an early age to have each other's backs? Never to forsake the sacred bond that men have - the one to the other. It might be misplaced thinking, but it is what men do to prove to other men that we have honor.
Not withstanding, what happened to these innocent children; but just as tragic would be to paint Penn State University with the same brush for the acts of a few. To judge their whole body of work based on these distressing events would be unfortunate. As for Jerry Sandusky: those of you that want to see him barbecued, well; fair enough, but remember that good people do bad things: just read on the record everyday.
Michael R. Olson