Penn State University: Whiting out the Details in Favor of Knee-Jerk Reactions

Ryan NelsonCorrespondent INovember 8, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - NOVEMBER 08:  A statue of  Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno is seen outside of Beaver Stadium on November 8, 2011 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse, Paterno's weekly news conference was canceled about an hour before it was scheduled to occur. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

This is not a defense of Jerry Sandusky. This is not a defense of Joe Paterno, Tim Curley or Gary Shultz. Forget all of them for just one minute. Forget this whole thing, as disgusting, immoral and earth-shatteringly disturbing as it is, for just one moment.

Forget the tweeting; forget the calls for a head on a platter. Forget the tarnishing of the Penn State football team's white-as-snow reputation. Forget the undeniable, shaking reality that things are not what they were perceived to be.

Step back, and take a breath. As angering and saddening as this whole situation is, getting angry will not fix it. Telling everyone at Penn State that it is his fault will not undo what has been done, if it is true.

We, as a nation and as supporters of these victims and the Penn State community, must remember that this is a firestorm. The details are muddied and bleak. We must remember that anger does not bring justice.

This situation is a horrible one. No child deserves to have done to them what is being alleged that Jerry Sandusky did. But we cannot let anger at the situation, and the confusion over having reality thrown in our faces, cloud our judgement. Justice must be done, and it must be done with a clear mind to truly be just.

The media is blowing up with this story, as it should. They're there to report the facts. But when facts are charged with emotion, we get bias. And with bias, we lose the truth and we lose the justice because we let ourselves simply look for a fall-guy.

We cannot let ourselves, as humans and as supporters of justice, see red with rage toward Penn State, because it will cloud our judgment and make it difficult for us to see the facts. All we will want is someone to take a fall.

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 3:  Penn State head coach Joe Paterno addresses the media after the game against the Indiana State Sycamores on September 3, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

We see red when something rocks us to the core. We get angry when things change, when reality steps in and takes away our blissful ignorance. It's perfectly natural, but to purvey justice we must transcend nature and move past the anger to see logic. To separate fact from fiction and move on.

To be perfectly honest, we don't know if this is true or not. Does it seem to line up? Absolutely, there are smoking guns everywhere. But that doesn't always mean it's true. So often, we are pressured to find a perpetrator when there is a victim or series of victims, especially if kids are involved. Again, it's perfectly natural. But it doesn't necessarily mean it's true.

It makes sense to be angry, and it's okay to be angry at first. But eventually we need to calm down and take our emotion out of the case and let the justice system work. If there is evidence, if Sandusky did commit these crimes, the anger is justified. But if he's innocent, we'll all just look like we overreacted and we're overemotional.

Use logic, and think clearly. It's the only way to make sure true justice is served.

I understand this isn't a popular opinion. This is a hot topic, a controversial topic and something that is very emotionally charged. Again, I'm not defending anyone's action or inaction. Please don't mistake me for being that guy. I'm just saying I think we should all relax, and look at this objectively.