The jury came back with 45-52 counts adjured "Guilty". I have some pretty strong opinions about this entire event. Many readers may not find them palatable. I could not possibly give less of a rip than you could possibly conceive.
If you dare, follow me below the
squiggledoodlethingey fold, and learn why that last sentence is only the beginning of this particular screed. Yes, it IS a screed. Vulgarity ensues with wreckless abandon. You have been warned. Triggers aplenty, for my beloved and fellow children of the shadows. You may safely pass, or graze as you wish.
Just a few of the many questions that I would like, in time, to ask our two brave witnesses of the trial and convictions of Jerry Sandusky would be:
"What were your expectations having come out on the other side of this drama? Were they met? Was the reality for you after the fact anywhere near your original expectations for yourselves? Discuss."
Every day, they reported. Every day, I read their reports while following what news I could on the intertoobz and the idiot box. Drawn, like a moth to the flame, this so quickly became a penultimately personal drama for me that pretty much everything else, and everyone else in my known universe took on only a reactionary, second-class role. And, not since the day the jury came in with the "Not Guilty" verdict for O. J. Simpson have I truly cared so much as one tinker's damn about anything even loosely connected with the legal system.
Every possible hue of emotional involvement has been wrung into, through, and out of me during this series of what will most assuredly be ongoing events. I realized that, as both Rebecca and Roxine have intimated, there is a book in their reality. There's one in there for me, as well, if I ever garner the unmitigated guts to write it. (Don't bet on that one, Virginia!)
To answer, just for myself, the interminable question about the cheering after the verdict was announced to the gathered throng:
It was an instinctive reaction of an affected community. The good citizens of Bellefonte, or of State College never asked for this trial, nor (for at least most of them) the circumstances which created its necessity. This was not manufactured drama for the purpose of Nittany support, vilification, or even vindication. Innocence or guilt had virtually nothing to do with the outburst, to my mind.
It was a collective response that was voiced by some, heard by many, and most importantly felt by all. Those Pennsylvania citizens (or guests thereof) had long-since understood that whatever idealism, innocence, or folksy ways they may have enjoyed since Mr. Penn's greatest drama was forever evaporated, because of the arrogance of but one man. And, despite what many, many might well believe, and several have said, that man was NOT Joe Paterno.
That man was Jerry Sandusky. Period. It's pretty damned important not only to realize that, but to forever remember it. Anyone who would like to debate that with me, just don't. You will, in my mind, be forever wrong, and there is absolutely nothing you could possibly do to convince me otherwise. Save us both the time, energy, effort and emotional baggage. I carry enough, and can only suspect the same is true for you, as well.
None of this trial was about Joe Paterno, none of it. I'll say that one more time: NONE OF IT!
This trial was completely, and only about Jerry Sandusky, and those whom he violated. (To the faintest glimmer of hope, cling ye? Yes, including Joe Paterno! Dammit! Now quit yer damned divertin' tactics. Can't you smell a rant when it's in front of your pie hole?)
We somewhat surreptitiously nod toward the campus with our arrogant disdain. What utter bullshit! What unmitigated buffoonery! Joe Paterno got a sentence far more severe than his sins merited. Just shut up a minute, and listen. It really, truly DOES matter here.
Jerry Sandusky did not, has not, and will not. There is, for me at least, a stunning ambiguity here which I cannot seem to work out, so I'm trying with this Diary. The answer, should it per force arrive, will in all likelihood not arrive here, or within your witness. But the ambiguity which creates the question is one which we must either honestly address, or forever forsake the real truth in play here.
We rail about the horrors, yet for those who have not lived them, it is only borrowed horror. It is disingenuous. Oh, how we so do hope our response would differ from those of McQuerty, or Spanier, or Paterno, or Mrs. Sandusky, or the Police, or the Campus Police, or the State Attorney General, or the District Attorney/Investigators at the time a real difference could have been made. It's sickening to me! Just stop it! Thou knowest NOT of what it is thy speech portends!
Yet, in our most intimate hope of hopes, we wish it to be so. Next, I presume you will regale me with the "facts" that no such thing has ever, is not now, or could ever possibly occur within your zip code, or on your block. No friend, or child of a friend could possibly be forced to endure such as these poor, innocent victims--not while YOU'RE around. PUHLEEEEEZE! Get it, a real grip.
The only reasonable presumption based upon this unequalled, and completely unauthorized moral outrage you spout which could be inferred would be that every single incidence of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) occurring upon our planet between 1985 and (Looks at watch) this very instant was the actions of but one man named Sandusky, in Centre County, Pennsylvania, USA.
Wanna bet? Ya wanna play for double bonus points?
"We listen to kids." No you fucking do NOT. And, despite the best intentions and candy cane wishes to the otherwise, you will listen with an ever more jaundiced hearing from this point forward. You have empowered the same children, monsters that they are, who readily pick up the phone and tell the nice lady at 911 that your (fill in the blank) hit you and you hurt..."down there". For the same fucking reasons. Just like their paranoid, abysmally dysfunctional parents have so drastically warned them to do; as their teachers have instructed them how to do, and you very damned well know it. So do the police. So do the MSW's who will take one more on the chin because of it. What utter, complete, and un-reconstituted bull shit!
I know. Personally. Fifty years worth. Spare me you self-centered, sanctimonious, egotistical bullshit. You didn't listen then. You are not listening now. You will not listen at any point in the future, until the blood streams under the door and into your shoes! AGAIN!
This is, you see, the sorry and sordid truth of Jerry Sandusky. It's not just that, for decades he and many others nearby him perpetrated these unspeakable horrors in front of the faces of a community or several. It has nothing to do with that at all. If you think otherwise, you are sadly mistaken. What is the proof of this? Simple.
He didn't do enough. What he did, he did poorly, insufficiently, or incompletely. Hell, it was HIS fault! Give me a fukkin' break. He shoulda, coulda, woulda. ENOUGH!
Joe Paterno didn't die the day he was fired. He died the very first time he knew the truth about Jerry Sandusky, and his entire entourage of terror. Above any other human, Paterno IMMEDIATELY knew...everything. One of the impenetrable truths that came washing through this man's good soul was, like a Tsunami, an immediate understanding of it all, including the ultimate force upon which it assaulted him, and all the man had ever truly cared about: Penn State.
Paterno also realized in that moment, that (and so completely foreign to his thinking, to his life) there was not one damned thing he could do about it. He couldn't stop it. He couldn't change it, and he sure as Hell couldn't announce it. Sandusky was, after all "his" guy. Paterno, in that one moment, understood that he was one of Sandusky's better known victims, but only one of them. The worst thing Paterno could possibly do to Sandusky, he did. He told Sandusky that he would NEVER be the head coach of Penn State football, and if Jerry tried to call him on it, even one time, Paterno would sing like it, the proverbial canary. It was a forced stalemate. Sandusky eyeballed Allentown, but just couldn't give up the super-sized gig he and his cronies had so perfectly created. Recall that there came a time when Paterno refused to walk the sidelines. In my mind, this is precisely why. He couldn't bear being near Sandusky, either. Or his minions. Or, incidentally, his victims--his other victims.
In the end, the worst possible outcomes occurred, but to neither Paterno OR Sandusky. You see, any reasonably respectable institution having, against its collective will, to endure such a moment as the failed McQuerty report (He lied, okay?), knows the rules of homogeneity, namely that any (even imperceptible or unmeasurable) introduction of foreign matter ruins completely the entire batch.
Remember this. We'll visit this again, soon. Paterno knew this the very second he saw it for what it was. And, nothing could ever make it (or he) pure again. What JoePa purposely chose to do was, while the entirely wrong thing, the only reasonable thing he could possibly have done to at least forestall the death of his beloved community. As we saw, that love was returned in equal measure. Some would say in too great a measure. I would be among them, but I'm speaking from factual experience. You are not. I win.
You see, the complete truth of this situation is that everything Paterno ever touched for good or ill was immediately bastardized in that moment of absolute understanding. Sandusky knew it. Hell on the half-shell, he counted on it. It was his crowing achievement for his little "enterprise". One of the ne'er to be answered questions which has, from time to time, glistened its way across the theatre of my mind has to do with precisely that fact. Who, I wonder, was it that actually imparted the word of knowledge TO Paterno way back then? My mortgage says it was Sandusky. "JoePa, I'm in a little trouble." Nothing more. He would turn, and confidently but deliberately walk out while the ruination ran it's course. The arrogance of Paterno had been simply, but completely upstaged by one sick son-of-a-bitch who was even more perverse than the legend himself.
Does that even matter? You betchum. Here's why.
Remember that "any" is precisely enough to ruin the entire batch. Sandusky had not only devised, but implemented this incredible plan for he and those others like him which was, in all honesty, fool-proof. The one person who could even potentially bring it down, Sandusky dealt a death-blow to. It worked. Sandusky had, after all, perfected his schtick in his own home, with his own family. If his wife, knowing, would do nothing, say nothing, who would? Under what conditions? Evidently, not even the past week has changed that opinion from her point of view.
What chance did a throw away child have? Perfection personified. Sandusky wins. Every time. No matter what.
But, who loses? So far as I am personally aware, no victim has died as a result of the crimes and absolute abominations perpetrated against them. Not physically, at least. Now, there could be some discussion about investigators or Assistant District Attorneys, or perhaps a coach or two. Perhaps. We may yet find reason to re-evaluate this statement over time (I pray an unbelievably short time)...perhaps. As has been said in other places, even if the most conservative and marginal statistics are to be employed here, and only to Sandusky, there are upwards of 120 children that need to be accessed, plus their parents, brothers and sisters, friends, teachers....the community. Community. IN this case, a community of the afflicted. Children of the Shadows all, Children of the Silence without exception, exemption or dispensation. And, that is further presuming that the entire putrid ordeal was limited (impossible, by the way...not at this level) to only one perpetrator.
Like Sandusky gives a shit. Nobody can do one single thing to him that would cause him even the remorse of a piss ant. He's bullet proof. The worst thing he could ever expect could POSSIBLY be three days...in the electric chair. (Preferably, for me, holding his beloved wife in his arms!) He alone was the one person in this high-stakes drama who could not be touched. That was the entire point of it all, you see. He did it very, very well. He wins. No, really. Yes, he does. He alone, Jerry Sandusky, wins. Everyone, and yes, I do mean everyone else...loses.
Who is ever going to believe that MaPa was clueless? Is there room for the possibility that the Regents had no clue? What about the hireling Executive Board of Second Mile? Nope, not them. What about the Chemistry professors? The band master? The cafeteria worker, or the House Mother for the Sorority? What about the students? Could they truly have been duped? The Water Polo players? The janitors? The yardsmen, the drivers of the buses? The social workers and their professors? The Police? The guys at the dry cleaners, or the Cafe? The children?
Forever tainted, forever spoilt, curdling milk from a Guernsey. With not the first hope of escaping this tyrannical oppression, for time and all eternity. Never. Never? Yeah, sort of makes ya wanna puke, don't it? Yeah. I know. Personally. More than decades' worth, I know. Deal with it. That's what you told me. I have no pity for you. NONE.
I have no pity for me, either. Don't want it, wouldn't accept it, and don't you dare offer it or I'll reach out and slap you right in yer damned pixels!
Those heroes that stepped outside their "Never!"s and came forward? I love them, every one of them. I'd like to figure out how one simple hillbilly could somehow honor them in something approaching the degree to which they do deserve to be honored. Perhaps, someday, I will. Right now, ya might as well be talking Greek to a Martian. I can't understand it. I can't see it.
The cheer? After all, that's what started this crap diary.
Do you begin to understand it maybe, just a wee tad bit better?
Never...died. the terminally ill, of many communities were given just a nanosecond's worth of something they dared not believe could ever again live among them. Hope. Entirely unmerited, to be sure. Without possibility of presumption, that one small moment of hope showed up, and showed off. And, that for me, was enough.
I can't have my moment of hope. But, for some children of the shadows, for some children of the silence, and for the children of the communities who let them down, hope showed up. And, they cheered out of unspeakable gratitude.
And, in THAT moment, Sandusky lost. I wish I could feel victorious, or validated, or justified, or even hopeful. It's not there. Not for me. You see, I was never rooting for those blessed children. I will admit to you that I was, even for a few short days, rooting for ME. Didn't happen. Wasn't my turn.
It was, you see, the turn of an entire region of America. Can the good things of Pennsylvania somehow overcome such dark and ugly reality? Can a University, so recently considered by the entire world as a Paragon of meaningful and powerful education (not to mention collegiate life and athletics, mind you) have even the snowball's chance for redemption? Could an entire community of victims come together with determination sufficient to overpower, overwhelm, and overcome a system created by a madman? Could Justice find a place in PA? Ever, ever again? Could such impossible odds somehow be overcome by such old, tired, and cliched (not to mention so completely ineffective) tools like honesty, truth, honor?
And, when our colleague and friend yelled her lungs out on those Courthouse steps "GUILTY!", it took a moment for every single victim of Jerry Sandusky to comprehend the answer to those questions.
The answer was a simple, resounding "YES!" to every single question. For countless thousands of Sandusky's victims, fate and the universe looked at the odds, flipped a coin, and smiled. And, they were grateful, humble, and again free. So were a few walking wounded, heroes who led us all to selves within us we could not ever hope again to see. And we, of the Great Orange Satan? What shall we say of ourselves, to ourselves?
I do truly hope that we will forever remember that, against all odds, and without any possible expectation from us, two stepped forward to bear personal witness for us. Us, as in the hundreds and thousands of us here who really are children of the shadows, children of the silence. Two of our number said "Here am I. Send me." We did. They went.
There is a very well known Latin phrase that has been worthily abused around my house for a very long time: "Veni! Vidi! Vici!" What some lesser intellects would tell you this means is "I came! I saw! I conquered!"
Around my house, it has always meant "I came on over! I seed! I fit, n I whooped!"
What those words will forever mean now, thanks to Rebecca, Roxine, and hundreds and even thousands of Kossacks, must and can only be:
"I went! I saw! I stayed! I won!"
Yes, you most certainly did. How does a body say "Thank you!" to a reality like that?
The same way an entire community, grateful beyond their ability to communicate their gratitude did in a pleasant and placcid city square, high in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania.
This diatribe is hereby dedicated to all of those heroes of PA, and for all those heroes within us all who, with just the right approbation, can still be found within us. That, I can celebrate. I do.
I hope you do, too. Then, we truly WILL hear the children. We will understand their honest and honorable language; a language we even used to know ourselves. No matter where it is spoken, or by whom. And, in that day, we will ALL truly win our victory.
May God richly bless you, indeed. Even in this very moment. It may not be what you expect, but it will very likely resemble something you very desperately need. Tomorrow.