Over the past week, there has been tumult and turmoil at Penn State University. Both the president of the school and its iconic football coach, Joe Paterno, have been sacked and there is more shit that has hit the fan. News outlets have offered all sorts of approaches to the pedophile sex scandal that bubbled and percolated under the guiding hand of football defensive coordinator Gerald Sandusky. He may have been the perpetrator, but (like the Catholic church before him), he was surrounded by those who enabled his continuing assaults on children ... keeping quiet, misremembering, not-quite doing something to end the infamy. In their defense, of course, there is the matter of how much money -- millions and millions of dollars in income -- could be affected by blowing the whistle. Same as always -- follow the money.
There is a lot of hand-wringing in the news articles being written ... a lot of hand-wringing that is no doubt shared by 'caring' onlookers. What a despicable mess, right? Taking advantage of young and vulnerable kids is ... it's vile, heinous ... an infamy in the heart.
But I think for those who claim to care, the grand jury report on Sandusky's activities really needs to be required reading. News stories are blessedly at one remove: We may hear or read them with a distant horror, but the key word is "distant" ... it's awful, but there's an escape hatch in that distance. A friend send along the grand jury report and I was grateful (if that's the right word) to read it. This is no-escape material, raw and horrifying, with the full insidiousness of the situation plopped in your mind's lap. The report may offer no clear answer to the situation (which is more common than anyone wants to believe or know), but it does help to frame accurate, if painful, questions.