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My take on the Paterno Report

With the release of the "Paterno Report", many of those that formed the negative opinions of Joe Paterno and the Penn State community are claiming:

1. The report is simply self-serving and does nothing but re-open wounds of the Sandusky's victims.

2. Do nothing to negate the feelings that Joe Paterno failed to do everything possible to prevent further attacks.

3. Is missing the "smoking gun" of who was really at fault.

In the amazing, sensationalist filled rush to judgment, the public in general wanted as many heads-on-stakes as possible and to put the heads of Penn State's most prominent leaders seemed to cure the public's disdain for events and actions of one very despicable man.

Ironically, we already have the smoking gun. In a very public trial (one that truly followed due process), the predator was sent to prison for the rest of his life. Granted, the trials of Curley and Schultz may provide further details and more smoking guns, but with the information I have read from various sources who are close to the situation, I doubt they will be ruled guilty as charged.

While the Paterno Report does serve the name and legacy of a man of tremendous lifelong character, it also serves as a much needed response for those who have been negatively impacted, who have no ability to respond, by the general rush-to-judgment (and the need to incriminate as many as possible).

Even more, the Paterno Report does "re-open the wounds" and rightfully so. To satisfy the public's general guilt for allowing predators like Sandusky to operate, the simple vilifying of key prominent people serves to heal THAT wound. As the report identifies, by accepting Freeh's accusations (and allowing the report to miss on very important predatory behaviors), we really do a disservice to not only Sandusky's victims, but all past, current and future victims of this heinous crime.

Until the general public understands how these predators groom victims, communities, and everyone else around them, we will never truly help heal these wounds.

The fact is that public executions of innocent people only exacerbate the problem. Why is it so hard for people to understand that the innocent want their good names cleared. It is not an attack on a group of victims if the innocent want justice for themselves as well. The Paterno family and Penn State community want justice for the victims, but also want justice for those that represent their good name.

There have been several who have claimed (including many on Penn State's Board of Trustees and its President, unfortunately), that simply "moving on" will allow all those involved to heal. Throwing innocent people under-the-bus is an irresponsible way to heal.

Wouldn't it be better to come together as a unified community to become better educated and more aware of these predatory actions? Rather that look for scapegoats (especially innocent ones, wouldn't it be better to work together and honestly try and prevent (as much as can be prevented) this sort of action from happening in the future.

This is what I believe Joe Paterno meant when he said "(in hindsight) I'd wish I had done more" and his hope that something good could come of this tragic series of events.

Unfortunately, I fear that too many have either 1. already moved on to the next sensationalized story, 2. have made up their minds and will never budge from this despite facts that show otherwise or 3. don't care to even know the truth (they've had their public execution and feel good about themselves).

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