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Sports commentary: Our own Penn State

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We don't have to go far to find ickiness

By Mike Forster

  I'm loathe to pile on.

There has been plenty written and spoken about the mess at Penn State.  There is only one thing I can add to that particular discussion.  That is, as a guy who grew up a fan of Penn State football and who had never seen a Nittany Lion team that wasn't coached by Joe Paterno, I have a queasy feeling that just won't go away.

The fact that my nephew just graduated from Penn State two years ago, and is a nut for their football program, makes it that much worse.

Since this thing has been picked apart from seemingly every angle, I'll opt to discuss it in more general terms.

First, I have heard commentators say things about how disheartening it is to have our football legends let us down, especially after our politicians have also disappointed us.

To that, I say:  Hogwash!  I can understand such sentiments coming from a youth who has found out that his favorite player is a jerk.  But, if you are an adult and you base your belief system on athletics, you have a lot of growing up to do.  

Second, can we all just agree that there are evil people out there?  That there are foul creatures who deserve to be so labeled?  Can we please stop with the "bad decisions" and "poor choices" babble?

How about, instead of saying, "He's a good person who made a bad choice," we say, "He's a bad person."  Period.

Third, and I can't believe this has to be stated, there is nothing worse than taking advantage of the defenseless among us.

Those in positions of authority have a special mandate from society to take care of its children.

Those that exploit that mandate, using their positions to perpetrate their vileness, are the worst.  They deserve whatever punishment they get.

Those who turn a blind eye or do not advocate in defense of the weak are also to blame.  That is what has gotten Paterno into hot water, in spite of his status as football icon.

We've had our own difficulties here in Bedford County.  This very newspaper's front page has been splattered with the scandal of a man who allegedly used his position (sheriff's deputy) and location (Liberty High School) in pursuit of his own immoral and unlawful desires.

He's not the first, either.

Hopefully, he'll be the last.  I don't, however, believe that this will be the case, unless there are some adjustments in the way we look at things.

I find it difficult to believe that no one was aware of the former deputy's possible subterfuge.

Look, this guy couldn't even figure out that he needed to use cash while on the lam.  Instead, he opted to use a debit card to purchase gas, which set off the chain of events that led to his ultimate capture.

And we're supposed to believe that such an individual was carefully concealing his illicit activities?

Well, I might have been born at night, but I wasn't born last night.  And neither were you.

My gut tells me that somebody knew what was going on.  I'm astounded that things got to the point they did without anything being reported.  Shame on anyone who had an inkling of this and didn't raise a flag.

If someone did raise a flag and nothing was done, of course, we move beyond wagging a finger and start looking at exactly what the heck we're doing when it comes to keeping the kids out of harm's way.

High school days are supposed to be filled with learning and fun, excitement and adventure.  They're not to be besmirched by the inappropriate desires of adults, particularly those charged with protecting them.

We owe it to the helpless and the hapless to better watch over them.  Looks as though we also need to keep an eye on those who are supposed to be in the lead when it comes to the safety and security of our youth.