As I mentioned in my last entry, I still have quite a few emotional links with the U.S. I am also a die-hard sports fan of all things Fighting Illini and I follow Big Ten sports quite frequently even from Colombia. So, as an alum from a Big Ten institution, it hits you even harder to hear the news of the sexual abuse incident at Penn State. It hits you even harder to notice how students at that institution rallied and vandalized the campus in support of Joe Paterno (I'll get back to him later) and how it seems that there are so many folks who have forgotten that the ONLY VICTIMS here are those 9 children who were abused, not to mention the possibly dozens who may or may not step forward. Then I read a blog from a parent and it hit me that I needed to get back to the blog and write my thoughts. Just as this blog helped me heal on April, 2007 after the VA Tech massacre, I feel I need to write these ideas to get over the rage (Warning: There will be some foul language here and there, and for that I apologize beforehand.)
Just for starters, let's set something straight:
Those children are the victims here. The adults? NOT ANY OF THEM!
The protests at Happy Valley seemed to imply that Joe Paterno was a victim in this event. Let me make this clear: HE IS NEITHER A VICTIM OR A SCAPEGOAT. Sure, say what you will about his doing the minimum he was supposed to do. But, we're talking about CHILDREN IN DANGER here, not about some football player selling his jersey or something like that, ok? What he really had to do was DIAL 911! Anything else is unexcusable! And yes, I do have a few words for Sue Paterno. You see, when we get married, or at least that's how I did it, we seek for strong women who can also become our compass, especially our MORAL COMPASS. And real men do listen to our wives (we know there's a reason we call them "my better half", you know). So, why didn't Mrs. Paterno told Joe to CALL 911? Yes, ma'am, I am wagging my finger to you and assuring you that the Sandman will stop by to pay you a visit. Enjoy your slumbers from now on, Mr. and Mrs. Paterno!
Hold it! I'm not done, not by a longshot.
I have a few words for Mike McQueary, whom I wish no harm. We need no more violence, enough harm has been done to add blood to this tragedy. But, The Dr. goes on record to call you a COWARD. Sure, you went to Coach Paterno and reported what you saw... now slow down, Cochise... did I just write WHAT YOU SAW? Oh, yes, according to the Grand Jury (I tried to read this and I only made it to page 7 before I had to vomit. Warning: The stuff in this report is so crude and graphic that the writers from Law & Order Speciual Victims Unit can't even think about using as inspiration for an episode!), you SAW the rape take place, and you did what ANY REAL MAN would do, right? You fled and called your dad? And what did your dad do, like any real dad would do? Tell you to call JoePa? Here I have a couple of questions for you and your dad (please answer them while you surrender your BALLS to the Planetary Man Guild... your membership is under review as we speak): 1. Why didn't you stop this? Seriously, why not? 2. Why didn't you call 911? (I think Jon Stewart put it best, "and didn't do the two things most adults would do: Stop it and call the cops, or call the cops to come stop it. Both scenarios involve the police and stopping it") Why didn't your dad? You, sir, deserve to have your mug pasted near the word COWARD in the Oxford Dictionary, right below your dad's.
And of course, I do have words for Jerry Sandusky, you filthy scum of a human being. I don't give a fuck how you want to spin it: I heard his lawyer on CNN last night saying that, sure, Sandusky and the 10-year-old boy were naked, but nothing happened. In the holy words of the Maharishi, WHAT THE FUCK? You're an adult male, naked with a little boy and NOTHING HAPPENED? That alone is disgusting and if you attorneys are using that as your defense, they're even more despicable human beings (how an attorney, after reading the report from the Grand Jury, can say, sure I'll defend him, makes me cringe. How do they sleep at night, with pillows made with the skins of live chickens?). The fact that you created a foundation, which you later used as your pipeline for your deviant behavior, is inexcusable! You are everything that's wrong with the human race and not only do you deserve to rot in jail, I hope Hell as a place reserved for scum like you!
Then, there's of course, the NCAA, whom I also blame. While sure, I understand that they're letting the investigation run its course, the lack of a strong statement is troublesome. Here's why: The NCAA leaves the impression that if a coach meets adult recruits at his home for a bbq, that's a major violation, but if another coach meets a young child in a shower in the school's facilities, that doesn't even merit a wag of the finger? REALLY NCAA? Are you going to hide behind your "student-athlete" semantics? It's that double standard what's so effed-up about college sports. Penn State deserves to be penalized big time, if only to show the point that the NCAA cares about those kids so scarred for life that their pain and shame will never let them even be able to "go pro in something other than sports".
Of course, there's the students who vandalized the city. Sure, you respect the coach, but your priority should've been demanding JUSTICE for those children who were abused ON YOUR CAMPUS. You see, the heinous actions of one adult and the heinous inactions of at least five others have brought, as Mercutio would say, a curse on ALL YOUR HOUSES. You shouldn't be demanding that Joe Pa be reinstated, you should be demanding that all the perpetrators and enablers be brought to justice. You should be demanding that the Trustees keep digging deeper. You should be demanding for Penn State not to pay the legal fees of their administrators on leave, but all the counseling and therapy fees that these children (and now adults) will need in order to become once again fully functioning adults. Don't worry so much about Joe Paterno! He lived a good life and for all I care, now that he's retired, he might as well blow 10000 balloons around his home and to go to South America, like the old man from UP (they kinda look alike even). I believe that there must be a lot of good left in Joe, anyway, and I know that right now he knows that mirrors have become his worst enemies for however long he still lives. But, please, worry about the CHILDREN. They are the ONLY VICTIMS here, they are the ONLY LOSERS here.
In fact, one thing that makes me cringe about the students protesting is the possibility that among that mob, there might be EDUCATION majors, boys and girls who are getting ready to become the teachers of a future generation of children. I just hope that when they are faced with the tough decisions that one faces in the classroom, maybe THEN they'll choose to do the right thing. But, when it comes to them, we have earned ourselves the benefit of the doubt.
Why am I so outraged about this now? It's simple: It's the result of my life. As I read the stories about this incident, I looked back to 2002, when I started grad school.., and then 2006, when my nieces were born... and 2008, when I started dating the love of my life... and 2010, when we got married... and then this year, when we're living together and we are making our own plans to have our own children in the not-so-distant future. I always remember the famous Bill Engvall joke ("I got no problem going back to prison" - Check it out at the 2:50 mark) and I start thinking, like the dad who wrote the blog I mentioned earlier, that I would anything to anybody who would so much as try to harm my nieces or my children in the future. And then, I can't understand why those adults did nothing to stop it because there's no rational explanation whatsoever. I can't understand why some college students (who are supposed to go there to LEARN and EDUCATE THEMSELVES) did what they did on Wednesday night. I can't because I was brought up at home and all the academic institutions to believe in doing what's right and to fight for justice from whatever arena I chose for my career. And yes, as an alum I know that the ideas of the institutions will outlast those men and women in positions of power who forget the very ideals that forged the institutions in first place. I hope that Penn State will rise up again, hopefully not as a "football school'' or a "party school", but as a proud institution that will choose to do what right and not what's profitable. I also hope that all other academic institutions in the world will learn the RIGHT LESSONS from this and if they have to choose between the "swoosh" and the child, they'll choose the latter even if they have to wear uglier jerseys next season.
I just hope that all of us who are adults learn the biggest lesson of all: That sometimes all that children (ours and other people's) have to save them from harm is ourselves. I just hope that I can keep reminding my undergraduate and graduate students in education that they're are the first, the last, and sometimes the ONLY line of defense these children have against those monsters who seek sexual gratification from them. I hope that I can do everything that's in my power when I am a father to live up to the challenge to defend them with my life if need may be (just like my parents did when I was younger). I just hope that we, the adults, teachers, police officers, coaches, etc. who are bestowed the responsibility to look after these children that not doing the right thing when they are in harm's way (especially if they are in danger of being sexually abused) means that we are a COMPLETE FAILURE as professionals, as adults, and worst of all, as human beings. We owe the children that much: Not just to do what's the legal requirement, but WHATEVER IT TAKES to save them. That's where those adults at Penn State failed to do. Let's learn from them and avoid making the same fatal mistake ever again...
... because as Bob Sinclar said in his song, our job "is to save the children, we're all very serious about that because we expect the children to save our soul."
That's it for now. Till my next blog, I bid farewell...
The Blogger, the Thinker, the Provocateur...
Raúl A. (El Patrón Himself / The Doctor of Patronomics)