15 August 2012

When Justice Becomes Injustice: Penn State

This morning, I heard on Al Mohler's podcast, The Briefing (which I listen to every day, and recommend you do too) that Penn State is now in danger of having their accreditation yanked by their regional accrediting agency because of findings in the Freeh Report.

Nuttiness has moved to insanity.

If this happens (which isn't likely, but possible), that means we can now add to the list of people punished for the perpetrator's sins (remember, I won't use his name on this blog)-

all 44,000 (ish) current students, and however many future students enroll until the sanctions are lifted.

How are they being punished?  Try using a degree from a non-accredited institution to get a job, or even worse, to transfer credit to another school.

Now, I'm not a softy on punishment for crime.  I'm a bit of a redneck, in fact.  I'm of the opinion that the perpetrator didn't get what he deserved.  He'll likely get some ridiculous number which will translate to a life sentence.  Think about that.  They are sending a homosexual pedophile to prison.  That's like sentencing a sex addict to house arrest at Hugh Hefner's place.  My idea of a sentence is that he should be fed (slowly) into a wood chipper, genitalia-first. So you can't argue I'm opposed to tough sentences for actual crimes.

Let's look at the list of who's been punished so far-

  1) the perp (that's a good thing)
  2) the school president and athletic director (fired, awaiting trial; probably a good thing as they bear some culpability
  3) Joe Paterno (probably should have lost his job, but many of the other penalties were over-zealous)
  4) Every football player at Penn State since 1997 (all victories erased; absolutely terrible injustice...what did they have to do with the crimes?)
  5) Students and supporters at Penn State since 1997 (same as the previous point with regards to athletics)
  6) Local businesses (who will suffer greatly under the football sanctions for the next four or more years)
  7) The local economy, and thus everyone in State College, PA (you don't yank sixty million dollars out of a small-town economy and expect nothing bad to happen in that small town)
  8) The victims of the perpetrator (yep...with the insanity of the broadcast punishments, don't expect the unfortunate victims to go peacefully into the night...some kooks will blame them for the hardships that are unfairly brought on those listed above...this won't be fair but it will negatively affect the victims of the crimes of the perpetrator)
  9) The Truth (everyone is afraid to speak up for the not-guilty who are being punished right now...people like me, but who have a bigger voice, will take a lot of flack for defending Penn State even though Penn State is not a pedophile)

And just as importantly, look who is not being punished so far-

  1) Other minor players who directly facilitated the abuse (because of the lack of time and thoroughness of the Freeh Report, and the school's insistence to grab it and run with it (no pun intended), a careful investigation of the details has not yet happened...this almost surely means that some of the more egregiously guilty are walking away without sanction).
  2) Individual trustees who, in the interest of covering their own rear-ends, have not pursued remedies more favorable to the innocent.

Criminal activity has taken place in college athletic programs in the past.  Remember the Baylor basketball player being murdered by a teammate over an alleged drug deal?  What about the rapes we hear about on an almost-annual basis out of some of the other powerhouse schools?  Where's the precedent for what happened to Penn State?  Is the rape of a co-ed any less damaging to that person than the rape of a child?  Is the murder of a student any less criminal than what the perpetrator did?  All of them are terrible.  All of them deserve a swift, but accurate, application of justice.  But should we vacate Baylor's 30-win season in basketball because of what happened there in 2003?  That's within the time-frame of how long Penn State suffered.

Before we are done, we may see as much injustice in response to the crimes as we saw in the crimes themselves.  And that's criminal.

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