Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On bleeding a certain shade of blue

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
Dante Alighieri
I keep waiting for the furor over Penn State to die down. Alums and other stakeholders have been going on national television to whine about how their school's legacy has been destroyed. Fans of Joe Paterno have agonized over his firing. Fans have been going to football games amid fears of pre- and post-game violence. Or they've been boycotting them. Whatever.

Newsflash, people: I realize there's an entire case yet to play out in court, but the allegations, if proven, involve perpetrators and their victims. If found guilty, the perpetrators deserve to be punished. The victims deserve all the support their communities, friends and families can provide. This is pretty much all that matters here. Everything else is merely a circus-like distraction.

If you got your degree from Penn State, or if you tailgated in the school's blue-colored uniforms before a game, I'm quite sorry to inform you that you really shouldn't be ripping your own clothes and claiming victimhood. Your degree isn't devalued by the alleged acts of a sexual predator you probably never even met. Your favorite team isn't sullied by the fact that those in positions of responsibility may have turned the other way and not done all they could to stop the abuse. Oops, alleged abuse.

Yes, the institution has some 'splaining to do insofar as whether it did enough to protect its students and stakeholders. It also needs to change itself to ensure this never recurs. But, again, and I direct this at the Penn State grads from 1972 claiming this has destroyed their lives, this has nothing to do with you. Please get on with your lives and leave the airwaves to an expected wave of Regis-wannabes and clones of The View. Or is it The Talk?

So, the lesson here is simple: Fight acts of darkness like these with everything you've got. Be there for the victims and do everything you can to build a better world where kids aren't victimized by those in positions of power, and those in positions of power don't protect the abusers. Do something to fix whatever you see that's broken - tikkun olam, remember? - but please stop saying any of this has anything to do with you. It doesn't. Get over it.

Your turn: Thoughts?

Disclosure: I attended two Montreal-based schools, Dawson College and Concordia University, that were the scenes of deadly shootings. Both were perpetrated by freaks who were clearly off the scale of normal behavior. Neither incident made me any less proud to have been associated with these institutions.


colleen said...

Well said, Carmi, especially the ending 'it has nothing to do with you. Get over it.' I can only hope that we can all learn from this, to read the signs and speak up.

awareness said...

You took the thoughts right out of my head and wrote a great piece here! People are so quick to jump on the victim bandwagon which dilutes the support and empathy for the ones who were directly impacted by the abuse. Such self absorbed whining.
Where does this lead? Perhaps future diagnosis for PTSD due to reading about it, or watching too many talk shows on the topic?
Write on! This is a topic that has legs and many more angles.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I totally agree w/you on this... Have u heard about UC Davis and the pepper spray incident? That hit hard w/me since my neighbor's daughter went to that college..http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-uc-davis-20111123,0,944907.story

David Edward Linus said...

part of this may be that many people feel an inordinate need 'to be part of the story'. indeed it is profoundly sad that there is this sort of abuse, and it must be stopped and punished. it is also sad that the news people OFTEN miss out on the real story because they go with what is most telegenic or the loudest (insert LAWYER) voices.
Thank you for saying what many of us are thinking.

I updated my blogs today, new posts!

cactus petunia said...

Well said, Carmi.