Welcome, fellow travelers on the grief journey, and a special welcome to anyone who is new to The Grieving Room. We meet every Monday evening. Whether your loss is recent or many years ago, whether you have lost a person or a pet, or even if the person you are "mourning" is still alive ("pre-grief" can be a very lonely and confusing time) you can come to this diary and process your grief in whatever way works for you. You don't have to respond directly to anything written in the diary: share whatever you need to share. We can't solve each other's problems, but we can be a sounding board and a place of connection.
DIARISTS NOTE-My browser crashed an as a result I lost the second half of this diary :( I'm currently trying to recover it, but don't want to cause any additional delay in getting this up. Please use the comments as a discussion forum, and I'll do my best to get the second half up!
When I was 17 years old, I wrote a poem. The poem was about dream-one in which I was lying on the sidewalk staring up at the sky, with someone beside me. I knew he was a boy my age, but I couldn't see him, or even touch him because I felt paralyzed. And yet somehow I felt like I knew him better than anyone I had ever known in my life, and so did he.
Even at that tender age, I had become a hardened cynic to the idea of love as anything but a cruel joke. “I love you” was what my abuser said to me, before he did the things that destroyed me. From that point on, I felt broken. It was a feeling only reinforced through the years-as I heard those words again and again, and always from the lips of a man who would ultimately hurt me. I settled for it, because I thought it was all I could get, and it was better than nothing. But secretly, I always held out a small sliver of hope that maybe, just maybe, that dream meant something after all. That the boy who lay next to me on the concrete was out there-my one true love.
3 years later, I thought I found him.
His name was Solan, which to me was a sign-because he was named after the brightest star in the galaxy. 2 days after meeting him, I developed a severe infection in both eyes that threatened to leave me blind. For weeks I had to stay in a darkened room, with blackout curtains and sunglasses on at all times because the slightest hint of light would cause searing pain. I told him this over the phone, assuming he would walk away. We had just met, and who on earth would want to take on the burden of a girl who might be going blind-let alone all of the other burdens I carried with me. To my complete shock, he didn’t. We spoke on the phone for hours, he played his guitar and sang for me, and I began to fall in love with him almost instantly. Perhaps it was the strange sense of comfort that sensory depravation provide-the ability to get to know someone without ever seeing them, and knowing you may never see them at all-never finding yourself searching their face for a sign of disapproval, or anger, things that left me permanently on edge. But for the first time in my life, it felt like love. Or something at least approaching it.
But as it turns out, I did not go blind. My sight returned, an suddenly I was not the blind girl in the darkened room-I was his girlfriend. I could see him, and he could see me. And nothing was quite the same after that.
I wanted so much to love him, but didn’t know how. He was delicate and beautiful-his hands were soft but for the calluses on his fingertips, built over the years of playing his guitar. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and look over, afraid that I might have broken him, or imagined him. I loved him, but from a distance-like peering through smoked glass. Even when we touched, embraced, I felt like there was a chasm that separated us and try as he might he could never reach me.
One day, the last day, I stood in his room alone-he had gone out somewhere, and left me there thinking I was still sleeping. (He never knew how little I slept). I tiptoed around and looked for things-pieces of this man who loved me, trying to understand him, and perhaps why he did. On his bedside table there was a stack of photographs-nature, the world, the profile of a woman with long dark hair. I traced the outside of her face with my finger, and longed to be her. I didn’t know her name-past lovers were not something we ever discussed, really. But I was sure that she was different than me somehow. I looked at his journal, feeling guilty then but unable to pull back-within it layers of more complexity, the beginnings of songs, words that sprung out from the page. Pictures he drew in the margin that were so beautiful they took my breath away. I looked across the shelf at the top of his bed-filled with spines of books I had never read, or even heard of. I fought back against the tears that sprang to my eyes. There was no reason, no reason in the world, for me to be crying. I should have been happy. The night before had filled with laughter, and music, and at the end of it he had pulled me close and whispered into my ear “I think I’m in love with you, you know”. I had gone to sleep feeling weightless.
It lasted for a matter of hours. I rocketed awake in the middle of the night, to the sound of a voice that I knew all too well, and dreaded-telling me “you don’t deserve this. He doesn't actually love you He said. "You are broken. Walk away, or you will break this man" he told me.
I never fell back asleep that night. I left without even saying goodbye, and never saw him again.
Apparently it was seeing this little girl, and her powerful message that made him blow his top:
At his core, nothing more or less than a misogynist, acting like a cornered rat because a woman and a survivor, and a little girl with a sign saying "Teach your boys how to not rape" dared to confront him.
He will get not one second more of my time.
So, this came across my Facebook Stream yesterday:
The reason behind it-Apparently, while I wasn't paying attention, Michelle Malkin managed to turn a discussion on gun control in Colorado into a "rape prevention" debate, which then downward spiraled into an avalanche of rape jokes on Twitter that shows no sign of stopping.The hashtag #LiberalTips2AvoidRape somehow started trending, with predictably classy results:
All of this, apparently, was the result of a very stupid comment a democratic State legislator in Colorado (who later apologized), which Malkin then falsely tied to a list of college campus rape prevention tips from 7 years ago on her blog. This is especially ironic, since Michelle Malkin has, in the past, called the very existence of campus rape a "myth" on her blog.
Seriously, you cannot make this shit up.
The fact that the gun lobby has been targeting the women's market by tapping into their greatest fears is nothing new. What is new- the right's attempt to use that marketing to masquerade as anti-rape crusaders.
If radical gun-grabbers have their way, your daughters, mothers, and grandmothers will have nothing but whistles, pens, and bodily fluids with which to defend themselves against violent attackers and sexual predators.
Yes, this is now a thing. Seriously, the party of "legitimate rape" is actually trying to pretend they are feminists now. Or at least, not misogynists. Because, guns.
As a woman, and a woman who has been in a rape situation, on more than one occasion, it is offensive to try to tie guns with rape for the sake of attempting to win a political argument. It's not just pathetic; it's undignified. And it's a slap in the face to the thousands of women who have been victims. It even sickens me more when it's women attempting to make this argument.
I think it's asinine to try to use any of the tactics reported in the past to ward off a rapist, it's just as asinine to think that if you can conceal and carry a weapon, a woman is protected from any potential rapist. In other words, a gun can provide security, but not in all situations.
As a woman who has been "in a rape situation" on more than one occasion myself, including when I owned a gun for self defense (which is pretty useless if the rapist is your live-in boyfriend) I could not agree more. Yes, women have a right to defend themselves. What Salazar said was stupid and condescending. This is above and beyond that. This is turning rape survivors into a punchline, and doing so in a way that frames the problem of rape as, once again, something that women (and victims in general) are responsible for both provoking and preventing.
The "tip sheet" has been removed from the UCCS website, but here is a screenshot (h/t to Global Grind):
And you know what? It DOES deserve mocking, but as the kids say guys, you're doing it wrong. And you're doing it wrong, because you are completely out of your element. Because TRULY confronting the absurdity of the #UCCS tips, and all of the other "Rape Prevention" tips routinely given to women, means addressing the underlying problem of rape culture itself-something you are clearly not willing to do because it would require looking in the mirror, and actually admitting that rape culture exists in the first place.
H/T to my fellow Kossack frosti for pointing me to the blog Farine: Crazy for Bread. As the title suggests, it's author, a native of France, is passionate about "bread, bread making, bread tasting, bread eating, bread blogs, bread books, bread pictures, bread everything." And this is what she wrote about for a long time.
"We just learned that our six-year old grandson Noah has been murdered in the Sandy Hook massacre this morning. Our hearts are bleeding for him, his parents, his twin sister, his other siblings. I have no words left."
Thankfully for all of us, she managed to find those words again. While there have been no more bread posts, there have been many about Noah-about what he was like in life, the impossible grief of losing him, and the legacy she is fighting to create in his memory. They can all be found in this section of her blog:
Gun sellers say they are struggling to keep up as people have been rushing to buy firearms across the country. The sudden surge in rifle and handgun purchases has been driven by fears that the Obama administration may push for new restrictions on guns and ammunition after the killing of 26 people in a Newtown, Conn. elementary school last weekend, they said.
That much I suppose we could have predicted...but this?
The AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, the model of weapon police say Adam Lanza used to carry out his rampage, has been among the most sought-after items, several gun sellers told The Daily Beast.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous how many people are buying guns,” said Tim McFarland, an employee at K-5 Arms Exchange, less than 25 miles from Newtown. Customers have been packing the store since the weekend, he said. “It’s just astronomical. We sold out of assault rifles yesterday."
IMO, I've said all along that if your first reaction to the slaughter of 20 small children and their teachers is to worry about your damn guns, you are probably a selfish asshole devoid of a soul.
But if your second impulse is to rush out and purchase the same fucking weapon that was used to murder them? This is self-incriminating of a psychopathology that, as part of any meaningful gun control, should prevent you from ever possessing such a weapon in the first place.
Please do not recommend this diary. I'm writing it strictly for the purposes of clearing the air, and clearing my name. I seriously contemplated leaving here for good after everything that happened over the past couple of weeks, but ultimately I decided that I would like to stay, and continue writing about child sexual abuse and the other topics that I am passionate about. But some pretty atrocious things were (and still are) being said about me, the people who were kind enough to come to my defense, and worst of all, about my charity Tree Climbers. That is the main reason why I'm writing this-the allegation that I would use the cause of child sexual abuse to commit fraud is simply something I cannot let stand.
As one of the targets of the behavior...(11+ / 0-)
I've seen the evidence and can confirm that it was The Nephew that was responsible for this.
Enacting our agenda requires winning elections. Oh, and me on Facebook.
by Mets102 on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:53:58 PM EST
True.(9+ / 0-)
If you say "gullible" real slow, it sounds like "green beans."
by weatherdude on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:59:12 PM EST
Confirmed(5+ / 0-)
He told me both on the phone and via emails that I forwarded to the mods. Matt has apologized profusely for his actions, and while I will still pursue legal action I forgive him. I give him credit for owning up to it, and I believe it was a cry for help which he is now receiving.
And let me just say for the record I am so sorry for all of this. And in light of this information I am hoping timeaus can be reinstated.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"- MLK
by SwedishJewfish on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:10:48 PM EST
I have confirmed with zero room for speculation who has been sending the messages. For legal reasons, I cannot disclose who it is or how I found out at this time.
All evidence has been turned over to the Admins (Markos, Meteor Blades, et. al.,) on this site. It is their discretion what to do with it. As a trusted user of this site, it is not within my purview to share this kind of information, even in this extreme case. I trust our fearless leaders to handle this in the best way possible.
Please rest assured that it is one person, they are no longer an active member here, and I am pursuing legal action. I am no longer in fear for my safety and no one else should be either
If you have been around during the past 24 hours or so, you probably noticed that there has been a horrendous outbreak of Meta. I'm not going to spend time hashing out the details here-but I will provide the relevent information to clear up some of the confusion.
Long story short-someone has been harassing several members of this site via email and Facebook. Several Kossacks have been targeted, but the ones who have spoken about it publicly are me, Weatherdude, Mets102, Slinkerwink, and The Nephew. We have no reason, at this point, to believe this is a member of the community-although they claim to have several accounts here.
It appears that The Nephew was the first one targeted, followed by Weatherdude. The Nephew has posted a number of diaries and comments about this, going back quite some time. Weatherdude was first targeted a couple months ago, and wrote about it here:
You may have noticed that I edited the title to ask that people unrecommend it. If you haven't done so already, please do. The comments section has predictably turned into a train wreck, and it's something I never wanted to write in the first place. Please allow me to explain why I did.
I have been getting these bizarro communications for about 2 weeks now. These messages have been sent to my email and through my Facebook. I have blocked this person several time, only to have them create a brand spanking new account under a new name and message me again. I am NOT "friends" with any of these profiles on Facebook. They are using the message/email feature. Most of the messages were targeted on getting me to prove "The Nephew" was a fraud, but they became increasingly paranoid and threatening. They posted the street I live on, and my middle name-both of which I have never disclosed to anyone here. But after continuously blocking and ignoring them, they stopped. Or they had, until today.
Today, after the protracted and painful exit of the Kossack known as "The Nephew" after he was on the recieving end of some pretty creepy harassment that escalated to in-person contact- I recieved an email saying "YOUR TURN. GBCW AND THIS WILL ALL BE OVER". This was immediately followed by an email with the make and model of my car as the subject line, and the names of both of my parents, and my stepmother in the body text.
The intent was obviously to scare the crap out of me, and it worked. Full blown panic attack that 2 ativan wouldn't even touch. My personal information is one thing-but my family members? Horrifying. Awful. I did exactly what they asked. I don't think I've ever written a diary that quickly.
Here's the thing. After the panic wore off, I started to get really pissed off. In the tradition of looking in on your own memorial service, of course I read the comments. And it was pretty horrible. People getting scared, talking about leaving the site, pointing fingers, throwing wild conspiracy theories around, namecalling, and saying things that were completely innacurate. And of course I couldn't even try to diffuse any of that or correct the innacurate information because I GBCW'd!
There is one comment that really stood out for me, and I want to quote it here:
Just Imagine (7+ / 0-)
Recommended by:SwedishJewfish, weatherdude, mjbleo, mapamp, Gooserock, JayRaye, Free Jazz at High Noon
What it's like for local activists fighting a dam project, or a timber harvest or a new subdivision -- unambiguously and using their own names. They get threatened all the time, in their faces.
My domestic partner was fighting a dam project in Southern Oregon in the early eighties. Roseburg Timber Company used a helicopter to spray Agent Orange into her spring box. It poisoned her kids and she bled out nine pints of blood via uterine hemorrhaging. She almost died.
But she did not give up and she and her neighbors beat the dam.
The Chicago cops assassinated Fred Hampton in his bed. Various members of the anti-war movement were framed for drugs and sent to prison.
The FBI listened-in to Martin Luther King Jr. having sex.
Very sorry that people are sending fellow Kossaks harassing e-mails and putting nasty notes under their windshield wipers. That is a bad thing they are doing. They are bullies and bad people. Shame on them.
The author of this comment is kaleidescope. I am seldom, if ever, in agreement with him. In fact, he may not remember this but he actually HR'd me once! It was the first HR I ever got on Daily Kos, and I was distraught about it at the time. How silly, in retrospect. And how fitting that hsi comment put this all in perspective.
So yeah, in the spirit of those great activists who have come before me and faced down much, much worse-Fuck that. I am not leaving. I don't WANT to leave, and I refuse to be intimidated into doing so.
Recommended by:bijoudesigncom, Clues, 2laneIA, bmor, Regina in a Sears Kit House, mamamedusa, pmcmscot, Shockwave, California06, JamieG from Md, coral, mwk, Cassandra Waites
I actually signed up (after perpetual lurking) so I could respond to your diary. You perfectly sum up what so many millions of people in this country are going through right now...that quiet desperation of being poor and invisible, the unbearable frustration of being stagnated and unemployed, compounded by the guilt you feel when you are a mom on top of that and you feel like you are failing your children.
That diary, by Laurinista, stands out as one of the most profound pieces of writing I have ever read. Because it spoke to something I was experiencing at the time, but couldn't quite put into words. I still get chills reading it. Giving a voice to the disempowered-THAT is what Daily Kos is all about.
In the ensuing 12 months, I have written 59 diaries, 6,224 comments, and formed lifetime friendships. I found the strength to finally admit out loud that I was sexually abused. And I found out that I wasn't alone in that either. I found a group of people who not only supported me, but knew exactly what I was going through without me needing to say it out loud. I heard other stories from survivors, many that had also been buried for years. I formed a charity to help other survivors of sexual abuse. A community quilt is being made for the children we will eventually help. Artwork is being created through gallery kos to brighten up their lives, and we have compiled a book of letters and poetry written by members of this community to give to the 8 young men who testified against Jerry Sandusky. And I was able to bear witness to that testimony, and stand in that courtroom when he was convicted on 48 counts.
I am not saying this to self-aggrandize. I am saying this because considering where I came from, this is nothing short of amazing, and I know it couldn't have happened anywhere but here. This site has literally changed my life over the past year in ways I could have never imagined. This community helped me find my voice. I'm not going to be silenced again.
And with that in mind, I have the following message for this person-who I know is reading this. Follow me below the Fleur de Kos, stalker, and please read carefully.
Please unrecommend this diary and stop commenting. I'm going to post a new one shortly to explain why.
Congratulations, asshole. Mission accomplished. But before I leave, I want to offer this warning for those of you who seem to think this is just silly meta drama:
The part I lined out was my address.
The part I lined out was Matt's address, and his aunts name.
Self-explanatory. Information, per Matt, was accurate.
The part I lined out is my middle name. I have never disclosed that to anyone.
The picture included was Matt's boyfriend. I'm redacting what he said about him because it's disgusting.
The following message was sent to Weatherdude:
[The Nephew] and [SwedishJewfish] have both been investigated thoroughly. I know their addresses and phone numbers. I know about their families. I know much about their personal lives. I have yet to give you much scrutiny.
When I found out that Matt had GBCW'd again, I was furious. I put a lot on the line for him, and I felt like it was a slap in the face. I was also concerned that this would only embolden this person, and I knew I was #2 on their shit list. Matt sent me an email that explained why he felt he had no choice (he later posted about this publicly so I think it's kosher to share part of it):
[Redacted] was leaving work yesterday and went out to his car and found a note on it that read: "Hello from Daily Kos". This means that whoever it is must live close to the [Redacted] area. This means they know more about him than I even thought they did. Of course, I had him call the police, and they wouldn't even come take a statement. They said if the car wasn't damaged and the letter wasn't threatening they didn't have time to investigate. Not knowing what was going on, he spent the night at a friend's house. I wasn't sure if the lunatic had gone nuts and was on his way to [Redacted], so I spent the night with a friend in [Redacted]. I got an email yesterday afternoon that said "GBCW and I'll stop". I wasn't going to do it, but when he called me about the note I couldn't ignore it anymore. I have no clue who this person is but I think they must live close to [Redacted]. They've never targeted me in this manner, so maybe they are too lazy to drive to [Redacted] or [Redacted]. I don't know what to make of it. Since I did the GBCW diary I haven't gotten a single email.
Did I overreact? Not a single person he knows has a clue about Daily Kos so I don't think this is some prank from a friend of something. He was seriously freaked out. I will not put him in danger. I don't want to be the person out there trying to save the world via some blog and put him in danger. I hate to leave because I didn't want to but I really don't think I have a choice. It's escalated to a point where I really can't ignore it anymore. This person is close enough to leave a note like that, so that makes them a real threat.
One of the businesses nearby has security cameras in the parking lot. They will not review them or all us to review them without an order from the police. I'm hoping we can get a license plate number or something. An attorney in [Redacted] has contacted the police there and is trying to get them involved but so far no luck. They just don't see a real threat.
No, he didn't overreact.
So The Nephew GBCW'd, got Bojo to the apparent delight of many, and then I got this:
Followed by this:
The lined out parts-The make and model of my car, and the names of my family members.
(CNN) -- With convicted serial child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky behind bars, new questions are surfacing about what Penn State officials knew about a 2001 incident involving the former assistant football coach's encounter with a boy in the shower -- and whether they covered up the incident.
In an exchange of messages from February 26-28, 2001, Spanier allegedly acknowledges Penn State could be "vulnerable" for not reporting the incident, according to two sources with knowledge of the case.
"The only downside for us is if the message (to Sandusky) isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Spanier purportedly writes.
The alleged e-mails among Spanier, Schultz, 62, and former Athletic Director Tim Curley, 57, never mention Sandusky by name, instead referring to him as "the subject" and "the person." Children that Sandusky brought on campus --some of whom might have been victims -- are referred to as "guests."
The exchanges began 16 days after graduate assistant Mike McQueary first told Coach Joe Paterno on February 9, 2001, that McQueary believed he saw Sandusky make sexual contact with a boy in a locker room shower.
In an alleged e-mail dated February 26, 2001, Schultz writes to Curley that he assumes Curley's "got the ball" about a three-part plan to "talk with the subject asap regarding the future appropriate use of the University facility," ... "contacting the chair of the charitable organization" and "contacting the Department of Welfare," according to a source with knowledge of the case.
Schultz refers to Sandusky as the "subject" and Sandusky's Second Mile charity as the "charitable organization," according to a source with knowledge of the e-mails.
Pennsylvania law requires suspected child abuse be reported to outside authorities, including the state's child welfare agencies.
Very interesting, isnt it, how they never mention Jerry Sandusky or The Second Mile by name. It's almost like they were trying to cover their asses or something. Still, it seemed at that point they were willing to take the necessary steps by contacting the child welfare agency. So what happened?
But then, something changes.
The next evening, February 27, Curley allegedly writes to Spanier. Schultz, who's out of the office for two weeks, is copied.
Curley refers to a meeting scheduled that day with Spanier and indicates they apparently discussed the Sandusky incident two days earlier.
Curley indicates he no longer wants to contact child welfare authorities just yet. He refers to a conversation the day before with Paterno. It's not known what Paterno may have said to Curley.
Curley writes: "After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps."
The athletic director apparently preferred to keep the situation an internal affair and talk things over with Sandusky instead of notifying the state's child welfare agency to investigate Sandusky's suspicious activity.
"I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved," Curley allegedly continues.
Curley writes he'd be "more comfortable" meeting with Sandusky himself and telling him they know about the 2001 incident and -- according to a source with knowledge of the case -- refers to another shower incident with a boy in 1998 that was investigated by police, but never resulted in charges against Sandusky.
Curley writes to Penn State's president Spanier that he wants to meet with Sandusky, tell him there's "a problem," and that "we want to assist the individual to get professional help."
In the same purported e-mail provided to CNN, Curley goes on to suggest that if Sandusky "is cooperative," Penn State "would work with him" to tell Second Mile. If not, Curley states, the university will inform both Second Mile and outside authorities.
Curley adds that he intends to inform Sandusky that his "guests" won't be allowed to use Penn State facilities anymore.
"What do you think of this approach?" Curley allegedly wrote to Spanier.
About two hours later, Spanier responded to Curley in another e-mail and copied Schultz. Spanier allegedly called the plan "acceptable", but worries whether it's the right thing to do, according to two sources.
"The only downside for us is if the message (to Sandusky) isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Spanier purportedly wrote.
"But that can be assessed down the down the road. The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed," he adds.
The next afternoon, Schultz allegedly responded to the Penn State president and its athletic director. Schultz signs off on handling the matter without telling anyone on the outside, at least for now.
"This is a more humane and upfront way to handle this,' Schultz purportedly wrote. But he made clear Penn State should inform Sandusky's charity Second Mile "with or without (Sandusky's) cooperation."
As for telling child welfare authorities, he added, "we can play it by ear."
No one ever reported the 2001 shower incident. A decade later, a 2011 grand jury found no Pennsylvania law enforcement or child welfare agency was ever told.
During Mike McQueary's testimony, he said something I found very interesting. When asked by Joe Amendola (Sandusky's lawyer) why he had not pursued further action, he asked if he could testify to a conversation he had with Joe Paterno- "Because that would explain why I didn't". He was not allowed to testify to this because it would have been considered hearsay.
We may never know what Joe Paterno said to Mike McQueary that day, or what he said to Gary Schultz to change his mind about contacting the proper authorities. But these emails would seem to put to rest any talk that Joe Paterno didn’t know what was going on, or that he didn't have any power or influence over how the investigation proceeded.
What we do know is that their collective inaction meant that Jerry Sandusky continued his predatory behavior for almost another decade. That is, until a 15 year old kid with more courage in his little finger than Joe Paterno and all of these men combined, finally stopped him.
Just days before Jerry Sandusky was convicted on multiple counts of child sex abuse, an email was sent to thousands of Penn State alumni with a simple message:
"We are ONE TEAM. Join us."
Inside was a link to a website for purchasing tickets to football games.
After seven wrenching months of utter turmoil, shock and sadness, Penn State is looking toward the future and trying to change the subject.
"We've got a new era of Penn State athletics. A new era of Penn State football. We've got to respect the past. We've got to learn from the past. But we've got to move forward."
This misses a rather fundamental point- This is not yet "the past". Not even by a long shot.
That message does seem to be getting through to recruits, said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who visits with hundreds of highly touted high school football players and their parents.
"When I talk to players, never does the Sandusky stuff come up," he said.
Of course it doesn't. Because no one wants to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable. Therein lies the problem.
Blackledge, who played on Paterno's first national title team in 1982, said the "bizarre and surreal" circumstances that led to O'Brien being hired could work in the new coach's favor.
"Had (Paterno) retired and none of this took place there would be a strong sentiment toward not changing things," said Blackledge, who currently works as an analyst for ESPN. "A guy like O'Brien would come in and be handcuffed."
Instead, fans are looking forward to seeing whether O'Brien's pro-style offense will invigorate a Penn State attack that has sputtered in recent years, and whether he can find the next Brady to guide the Nittany Lions.
Great, let's get back to focusing on what is really important.
These days, nearly everyone agrees that the more time people spend talking about who is going to play quarterback, the better for Penn State.
Holtz said O'Brien's message to his players should go something like this:
"There's been a lot of great things here, but they have been marred by an individual. But it's time for us to move on. You can't let one man tarnish the tradition of Penn State."
One man did not bring down Penn State. Penn State brought itself down with its arrogance, entitlement, greed, and blind devotion to a brand.
But Penn State wants to bring the focus back to football, and I suppose that is understandable. After all, it is much more pleasant to hear thousands of fans screaming "We are Penn State!" under the bright lights than the screams of one child in the darkness.
It was 8:32 PM, when I was stirred from a fitful sleep by a phone call from Roxine. "Looks like something’s going on at the courthouse" she said. "Any news?"
I rubbed my eyes, squinted at my Twitter feed. 140 new Tweets.
Joe Amendola in judge’s chambers
Court Stenographer returned to the building
Attorney General Linda Kelly just walked in the back of the courthouse
Lots of buzzing in the crowd at Centre County
Rumor has it there will be a Friday night verdict
I let out a heavy sigh. This was driving me nuts. All day long, I had been in limbo-Sitting on the courthouse steps or glued to the Twitter feed, trying to get clues as to when the verdict would come down. The media was given a 20 minute notice-but members on the public had to rely on word of mouth.
And so it was that around 9PM I found myself walking, for the 3rd time, that 5 block stretch between my room and the Centre County courthouse-this time, in my pajamas and feeling more than a little irritated.
Hours earlier, I had arrived at Centre County courthouse at 6AM trying to beat the crowds for a public pass. The crowds here have been growing steadily, with occasional fights breaking out over places in line, seats, and the like. I didn't want to take any chances. I was number 23.
After the mornings proceedings (which consisted of lawyers from both sides re-enacting testimony for the jury) I had spent the day wandering around Bellefonte aimlessly, playing the usual game of hurry up and wait. I was in the library when Roxine called me. "I'm seeing on Twitter they are announcing a verdict at 2" she said.
I checked Twitter-lo and behold, there was a flurry of activity
#Sandusky verdict will be announced at 2.
I looked at the clock-it was 1:48. I posted a one sentence diary announcing the news, and took off running. Almost ripping the soles off of my flip flops I ran the 3 blocks to the courthouse, yelling "Verdict is in!" like Paul Revere in his midnight ride. Soon I had a group of people running behind me. I rounded the corner to the courthouse lawn and then stopped dead in my tracks. Instead of a media swarm and chaos, everything was perfectly calm. "Is a verdict in?" I asked one of the 50 or so cameramen who was walking around. He looked at me quizzically, and shook his head.
It wasn't the first time. The night before, rumors had spread like wildfire that the jurors had cancelled their hotel rooms, and that a verdict would be in before sundown. I rushed to the courthouse at 9, but all it amounted to was the jury determining the next day’s schedule, and asking to review some evidence. So as I took that walk down South Allegheny street, I was resigned to the fact that this would be yet another disappointment.
I saw the lights from 3 blocks away-a noticeable increase in the media presence. When I rounded the corner, I saw the front steps of the courthouse packed with people spilling out onto the lawn. I made my way through the crowd, seeing a few eye me jealously as I took my public pass out of my pocket. "I'll buy that off you for $100" offered a man by the door. I shook my head, and walked inside.
I took my place in the 3rd pew from the back. The room was full, but not packed.
A man and his wife sat down beside me. "Any news?" I asked, but he shook his head. "Nothing yet. We just heard he was back inside the courtroom, and something might be going down."
Men with suits began to line the aisles, hands folded and looking somber. A nervous energy started to fill the room. My hands began to shake, my teeth began to chatter and I felt the wave of heat and nausea wash over me that usually precedes a panic attack. I excused myself from the gallery and went to the small lobby outside, trying to calm down. I looked out the window, down at the courthouse lawn with the bright lights and gathering crowd. That's when it hit me that this might be the real deal.
I went back inside and took my seat. "Are you OK?" asked the man next to me. I nodded, but then I began to cry. "I'm sorry" I said. "I'm just so nervous". Every time the doors to the back of the courtroom opened, everyone in the gallery would turn around-looking anxiously to see who was coming in.
At about 9:30, Victim #6 walked in, flanked by a middle aged man and woman. He was dressed casually, and his eyes were fixed up at the clock, a nervous smile on his face. He sat down a few rows in front of me. He closed his eyes and let out a sigh. The woman next to him squeezed his shoulder.
The door opened to a small room next to the judge’s chambers. Dottie Sandusky and 4 of her children filed in. The courtroom fell silent as they took their seats in the front row, behind the defense table, sitting among a small group of supporters.
The bailiff walked in and stood at the front of the court. "All rise" he said, and I felt my knees shaking as I rose to my feet. Judge Cleland emerged from chambers, his robes billowing behind him as he took his perch on the bench. "Court is in session, you may be seated" he said. He told the court reporter to record the time-9:52.
"Ladies and gentleman" he said, "The jury has informed me that they have reached a verdict"
My heart began to pound so hard and fast in my ears that I could barely make out what he said next.
"Before we begin, I need to address something. I realize there is a lot of interest in this case. But this is a court of law, and I expect you to behave accordingly. There are to be no emotional outbursts of any kind, for any reason, while this verdict is read. If you violate this order, I will order one of the sheriff’s deputies to arrest you immediately and remove you from the courtroom. Is that understood?"
Nods, and murmurs of "yes, your honor"
Judge Cleland then asked for the jury to be brought in.
I watched intently as the 5 women and 7 men filed in-looking to see if they made eye contact with Jerry Sandusky. Only two did-A clean cut young man who is around the same age as the victims who testified, and a woman old enough to be one of their mothers.
Judge Cleland asked Jerry Sandusky if he was prepared to hear the verdict. "Yes your honor" he said-and it struck me, this was the first time I had ever heard his voice after sitting in the courtroom with him for 2 weeks.
Judge Cleland asked Jerry Sandusky and his team to stand to hear the verdict. As I saw him standing, slumped over slightly in his rust colored suit, I wondered what was going through his mind. How does it feel to stand there, waiting to find out if you would be spending the rest of your life in prison?
Juror #4, a man with greying hair and a blue checkered shirt, was the elected foreperson. He stood up, and the room became eerily still as he began to read from the paper in his hands. He read the first charge.
I closed my eyes and pictured the young man I saw testify last Tuesday. Victim #1-the first one to speak out. The skinny kid from the wrong side of the tracks who did what so many large and powerful people had failed to do-he stopped the monster.
((Descriptions may be triggering))
I remember his haunting eyes, how small he looked on the witness stand, the way his body shook with sobs as he told the packed courtroom how he was abused, how he hid underneath the pool table and in closets, trying to get away. How he finally told a school counselor, but they didn't believe him.
Count 1: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 2: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 3: Indecent assault
Count 4: Unlawful contact with minors
Count 5: Corruption of minors
Count 6: Endangering welfare of children
Guilty, as a course of conduct
I let out my breath, which I had been holding the whole time. Guilty, I thought. He's going to prison. Now it's just a question of how long.
And with each subsequent count that was read, I closed my eyes and pictured the victim it applied to.
Victim #2-The little boy who was pinned against the wall of the shower, being raped by Jerry Sandusky. Who looked up and saw a man who was there to save him-"He looked up at me, like he was surprised to see me in there" Mike McQueary said. But then he walked away.
Count 7: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 8: Indecent assault
Count 9: Unlawful contact with minors
Count 10: Corruption of minors
Count 11: Endangering welfare of children
Guilty, as a course of conduct.
Victim #3-The combat veteran who was mentored, then abused, and then abandoned by Jerry Sandusky when he became too old for his liking. "I'm mad" he said. "I'm enraged, I'm hurt ... he could just forget about me like I was nothing after I was sent away."
Count 12: Indecent assault
Count 13: Unlawful contact with minors
Count 14: Corruption of minors
Count 15: Endangering welfare of children
Guilty, as a course of conduct
Victim #4-The 28 year old man who was both a surrogate son and a victim of Jerry Sandusky. I pictured him as the investigators described him when they went to his home-curled up into the fetal position on the end of his couch.
Count 17: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 20: Indecent assault
Count 21: Unlawful contact with minors
Count 22: Corruption of minors
Count 23: Endangering welfare of children
Victim #5-The soft spoken young man, who cried-along with his family who were seated in the gallery-as he told the story of the one time he found himself alone with Jerry Sandusky. The terror he felt as he tried to get away from him. "I felt his body on my back. I kept lurching forward but I didn't have anywhere to go."
Count 24: Indecent assault
Count 25: Unlawful contact with minors
Count 26: Corruption of minors
Count 27: Endangering welfare of children
Guilty, as a course of conduct.
Victim #6-The young man whose mother called University police in 1998 after her son came home with wet hair, who couldn't remember what happened to him after he was lifted into the shower head. Since he was in the courtroom, I looked at him when his verdict was read. He sat with his eyes closed, and appeared to be praying, silently.
Count 28: Indecent assault
Count 29: Unlawful contact with minors
Count 30: Corruption of minors
Count 31: Endangering welfare of children
Guilty, as a course of conduct.
Victim #7-The young man who was tiny as a little boy-the size of an 8 year old when he was 12. The boy who resisted Sandusky's grooming, and then felt rejected and ostracized by him. I thought I had done something wrong, he said.
Count 32: Criminal attempt to commit indecent assault
Count 34: Corruption of minors
Count 35: Endangering welfare of children
Guilty, as a course of conduct.
Victim #8-The boy that a Penn State janitor saw being sexually abused in the shower by Jerry Sandusky. I saw him as I pictured him in my mind, as I heard the testimony of Ronald Petrosky. "I saw him take the little boys hand, and then the two of them walked away"
Count 36: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 37: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 38: Unlawful contact with minors
Count 39: Corruption of minors
Count 40: Endangering welfare of children
Guilty, as a course of conduct.
Victim #9-The 18 year old boy who looked so young and vulnerable as he took the stand. Who said he screamed for help when he was getting raped in Jerry Sandusky's basement, but no one ever came. Who said that he bled after his attacks, but took care of it himself. He tried so hard to be tough and get through it alone.
Count 41: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 42: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 43: Indecent assault
Count 44: Unlawful contact with minors
Count 45: Corruption of minors
Count 46: Endangering welfare of children
Guilty, as a course of conduct.
(I had been holding it together relatively well, but when this verdict came down I couldn't hold it in. I let out a choked sob that seemed to reverberate through the courtroom, much to my embarrassment.)
Victim #10-The foster kid who was told he would never see his family again if he didn't do what Jerry wanted. He went on to a life of crime, but then got his act together, got married, and is expecting his first child. I pictured him cradling his newborn in his arms, putting his mouth to his ear and whispering softly "I would never hurt you"
Count 47: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 48: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
Count 49: Indecent assault
Count 50: Unlawful contact with minors
Count 51: Corruption of minors
Count 52: Endangering welfare of children
Guilty, as a course of conduct.
45 times, said with conviction. Each time, reverberating through the courtroom.
Of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Of indecent assault. Of unlawful contact. Of corruption of a minor. Of endangering the welfare of children.
Of preying on the most vulnerable-Children without fathers, in desolate little towns, in foster homes, trailer parks, public housing projects. Children who didn't think they would be heard or believed if they came forward. Each time that word was read, an affirmation.
We saw you.
We heard you.
We believed you.
When the foreman finished reading the verdicts, I looked up. Jerry Sandusky was facing the jury, stone faced and ashen, his shoulders slumped. His condemnation had taken 8 agonizing minutes.
"Mr. Sandusky" said Judge Cleland "You have been found guilty by a jury of your peers"
Karl Romminger requested a poll of the jury. One by one, they were asked if they heard and agreed with the verdict that was read. All of them answered yes, firmly.
DA McGeddigan then moved to have bond revoked. Judge Cleland asked if Sandusky's council would like to respond.
Amendola rose to his feet, and said that Jerry Sandusky had been living in his home as he awaited the trial, and had caused no problems during that time. He also had "no criminal history" and was a long term resident of the community in good standing and owned his home.
I had to bite my lip to keep myself from screaming.
A member of the community in good standing, except that his good standing was an illusion he created so that he could have access to young children.
"He has a heart of gold. He's a hero for what he did for those kids. He would never do anything like that"
Good standing predicated on being the defensive coordinator for Penn State-which he used to lure young boys into his trap.
"You want to go to a game with me some time?"
No criminal history because he was Jerry Sandusky, and nobody would touch him.
A homeowner who built a finished basement like an arcade, which led to a bedroom he turned into a torture chamber.
"No one can hear you down there"
A community member in good standing. A serial child predator. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Judge Cleland paused, and drew in a breath.
"The commonwealth's request is granted" he said, "bail is revoked". He ordered the bailiff and another official to take him into custody. He managed a small wave to his wife before he was led out of the courtroom.
Judge Cleland thanked the jury for their service, and dismissed them-and then dismissed the rest of the gallery.
As I rose from my seat, I took one last look at Victim #6 -who lay his forehead on the back of the bench in front of him, and began to sob uncontrollably. His family rushed over to comfort him. You did good, I thought. Be proud.
As soon as I got through the door, I bolted down the stairs-needing to get outside for some air, because I felt like I was going to faint. I wasn't even thinking about the crowd outside, so when I opened the courtroom door I stopped dead in my tracks, confronted by this:
I realized then that everyone was staring at me with anticipation-and that's when it occurred to me that they didn't know the verdict. "Guilty" I shouted, and as a cheer erupted I ducked down and ran to the side of the courtroom, and proceeded to burst into tears. Later on, I found out that many in the crowd thought I was a Sandusky supporter because of my reaction.
After I calmed down enough to call Roxine and tell her the news, I filmed this video on my phone (I'm kind of embarrassed by it, but oh well)
That sign, by the way, said "Tax the Amish". There was another sign that said "The Pope controls Long John Silvers". They were being paraded around by a group of 20-something guys who I suppose thought that would be funny. A few minutes after I filmed that, they came on to the courthouse steps and were parading around like idiots. I had already reached my boiling point with the circus atmosphere-people walking around with signs advertising their websites, dressing up in costumes, selling merchandise, walking around with T-shirts on that said "Release the tickle monster" (a reference to something Sandusky said to victim #6 before he sexually abused him) and I snapped. I didn't scream at them or make a scene, but told them in no uncertain terms that this wasn't a joke, wasn't appropriate, and that they basically needed to get the fuck out of there. Later on, someone who I was told is a friend of one of the victims ripped one of the signs out of their hands and stomped on it. They went away after that.
So yes, I was happy that justice was done. But I didn't have that sense of elation or relief that so many in the crowd seemed to be experiencing. I was shaken by what I had just seen and heard.
I have sat through this trial for 2 weeks. At a certain point, the mundaneness of the legal process as it chugs along begins to distance you from the underlying realities. But being in that courtroom, mere feet away from a man as he was led off to prison for the rest of his life, it hit me. It's not that I have sympathy for Jerry Sandusky. But in that moment, it was impossible not to see him as a human being. It was impossible not to have a twinge of empathy.
I just wanted to ask him, why? Why did you do this? What possesses you to hurt a child? Do you have any remorse at all? The same questions that have haunted me for 17 years still hung in the air. I knew I would never get an answer.
And no, it should have never come to this. There should not be 50 news trucks outside, or bright lights, or cheering crowds. There should have never been 52 charges, or 10 victims appearing in court. They should have listened to Matt Sandusky's mother in 1994, or Victim #6's mother in 1998. We wouldn't be here if Mike McQueary had called 911 in 2001, or any one of the powerful men at that powerful institution that Jerry Sandusky used as his personal playground who knew what he was doing in the locker rooms at night. It should have never come to this-but it did. It made for a hollow victory, and one I was not keen on celebrating in that moment for it had come at much too high a cost. And it certainly didn't feel like what so many there were calling it. "Closure".
I spent some time talking to the people I had met here in Bellefonte. There were many hugs, many tears, and many somber moments. We joined hands and had a group prayer for the victims. I did a couple interviews. After about an hour or so, I began the long walk back "home".
It was during that solitary walk that it occurred to me-that tonight was the five month anniversary of Joe Paterno's death. And that also meant it was 5 months since the day I wrote the diary that changed my life. The bravery of those young men who came forward was the catalyst for me to finally break 17 years of silence. And here I was, 5 months later. I could have never imagined I would be here, on this night, bearing witness to justice for those same young men. It felt like I had come full circle.
And that's when I realized why I had been hit so hard by the verdict of victim #9 that I let out that embarrassing sob. It was because of what he said when asked why he never told anyone-the same question that keeps so many of us silent as children.
Never ever ever ever trust anything you read on Twitter. I just sprinted 4 blocks in flip flops and inspired a freaking stampede to descend on the courthouse for...NOTHING!
Jerry Sandusky went into a room, with a paper, and someone got excited.
That combined with the fact that the Philedelphia Priest trial had a verdict at 2PM I guess caused a ton of people to get confused.
I tried to edit the diary to update but couldn't do it on my phone, so I had to delete it. But I wanted to clear up any confusion that may have arisen over my premature announcment.
As you probably know if you read my diaries, I'm in Bellefonte attending the trial of Jerry Sandusky. And every night, or sometimes in the early morning, I post a synopsis of the days events. Last night I had planned on posting not just a synoposis of the day-but of the entire trial. Each of the victims, each of the charges, all of the testimony, defense arguments, evidence, and predictions. A detailed account of the closing.
The truth is, I have no clue what the verdict will be. You can never predict what will happen when 12 people go inside of a room to decide fates. The cynic in me fears that he will walk-because he is too powerful, and when we hear of the unspeakable, it is our natural inclination to deny it's existance. Bearing witness to a crime like this forces the bystander into the uncomfortable position of choosing sides-and it is always easier to side with the perpetrator. All he asks is that you do nothing. Look no further than the actions of Mike McQueary, Gary Schultz, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, John McQueary, Jonathan Dranoff, Dottie Sandusky, and all of the others who were confronted with that choice.
This story has recieved wall to wall coverage and legal analysis. But that's not why I'm here-that's not what this is about. Instead, I want to tell you what it is like to be down here.
I haven't seen this being reported anywhere else. Keep the light of day on this one:
Two members of the Torrington High School football team have been charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old ...