Joe Paterno has been fired. That is the focus of the news this morning. As I read it and listen to the television blaring about it, all I can think of is the children.
They say how sad it is to see Paterno end a 46 year career like this. How upsetting it is to see the campus and university affected by this.
What about the children? What about the unseen scars that they will bear the rest of their lives?
What about the children that might have been saved, had someone spoken up and done the right thing? All it would have taken was one person speaking up. That's all.
I told my husband, when the news first hit the public, that this would bring Paterno down. Why?
Because he had a responsibility to follow through. Yes he reported it. Nothing was done. Why didn't he question it? Why? I believe when you are a leader, you have a responsibility to follow through, no matter what people might say. To do the right thing. Even when it might mean a scandal. I believe Paterno should have followed through, and he didn't. Only he can answer why he didn't.
And don't say it's because the description of the incident given to him wasn't as graphic as what has now been told. That's rationalization. He should have followed through. Demanded some answers. Was he afraid he'd lose his job if he pursued it? Or did he just forget about it? Only he can answer that.
I have become so jaded and disillusioned about people in high power. There is a saying, my father-in-law, a wise man, used to tell me.
"Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
I believe that. And I grieve for these children. And am deeply disturbed and disgusted that so many people took no steps to protect the children.
What about the children? What will become of them now? How will they piece their lives back together?
I have no answers. Just a feeling of deep, deep, sadness and grief.