FanPost

An Analogy for the PSU Administrators

I'm sorry to spam the front page. I considered posting this in the other fanpost I created, but I wanted to make this its own entity. I started this analogy over at OTE, but I wanted to give it some attention here. Consider these analogies.

Think of a family dog. Imagine you've had this dog for 10 years and he was always the greatest dog. The dog was really smart and learned a lot of tricks very quickly and was always great around the children in the family that grew up with him. Now imagine you have a little party and invite a bunch of friends over and they bring their kids. One of your guests comes up and says they thought they heard your dog bite one of the kids at the party. They didn't see him actually bite the kid, but they heard it growling at a kid in one of the bedrooms and it was acting aggressive. Unfortunately they don't know which kid it was. What are you going to do?

You want to find the kid, right? Maybe it was a guest's kid, but no kids claimed to have gotten bit by the dog and no parents complained to you about it. You checked on the dog right after the incident was reported to you and he seemed fine. He was his usual, happy self. And after all, you've had this dog for 10 years, you've had him around your kids, and you've never once seen anything bad happen. There was that one time your daughter was crying and said the dog growled at her, maybe even nipped at her, but you just wrote that off that the dog was playing and she misinterpreted the intent. And that was one time out of hundreds that your kids played with the dog and they had a blast.

Or let's take that same dog, in a completely separate incident. Nobody involved in this incident knows about the previous ones. One of your neighbor's kids comes up and says your dog bit them. That same dog has played with every kid in the neighborhood over the last 10 years and you've never had a problem. It's brought a lot of joy to a bunch of kids, some of which whose parents wouldn't let them have a dog. They don't have bite marks on them because the dog didn't really bite them, it just kind of nipped at them. You've seen your dog play with kids hundreds of times and sometimes he maws a little bit, but never with an intent to injure and always just in a playful manner. What are you going to think? Are you going to think the kid was accurate with his description of what happened or are you going to think maybe they misread the situation? And you have to be careful how you proceed, he's practically part of your family. If it gets out that he bit one of the kids, none of the kids will want to play with him, and you know he's just trying to be friendly. He couldn't really be mean, could he? He's played with kids hundreds and hundreds of times and you've never had a problem. Surely his true character would've come out by now? Wouldn't it? It's been 10 years.

What I don't get out of this whole thing is how no one is allowing room for common human error. Looking at child abuse cases, practically every one involves someone misreading the situation. Not out of ill-intent, but because the alleged claim contradicts all the past actions they know about the person involved, just like that dog.

So why is this situation not allowed to have any room for basic human error when we explain what happened? Why do we have to assume that people took negative actions intentionally? It just doesn't make sense. Did Schultz and Curley have to believe McQueary made the whole thing up to not believe Sandusky was molesting a kid in the shower? No. They could simply believe that he misunderstood what happened. Pretty much every cause for why Sandusky alluded being caught for so long can be attributed to simple misunderstandings, which is exactly what serial child abusers do. That's the whole purpose of grooming. Why didn't the guidance counselor or principal want the kid to report that he was molested by Sandusky? Because they didn't believe that actually happened. They probably believed that Sandusky might have touched the kid inappropriately but that the motive the kid attributed was likely wrong. Did he intentionally touch the kid inappropriately or was it just an accident? You've seen him engage in "horseplay" with hundreds of kids before, his hands landing in an inappropriate area are bound to happen sooner or later, right?

I guess I might just be an apologist, or a Zieglerite, or whatever else you want to call me. I just don't understand what was so obvious about the situation that the poor decisions made had to be attributed to malice. Or maybe I'm just willing to be honest because I have a dog who bit someone, and all these thoughts crossed my mind. I made excuses for why he bit someone, which in my mind isn't really a bite because he didn't close his mouth, he was just snarling because he was scared. And so, I'm taking him to behavior training starting Friday in hopes that this prevents any further issues from arising. Maybe I should put him down because he's a menace to society, even though he's always been a happy, social dog who has done nothing but love everyone he's met. Maybe in 2 years I'll discover he's actually bit many more people that I wasn't aware of and that I've been deceived all along. But right now I'd put those odds at 1 in a million, and I'm sure that in 2001 the PSU administrators might have considered the same odds that Sandusky was a pedophile. I'm not saying they did and I'm not saying they didn't intentionally cover it up. But I can understand how they could overlook the seriousness of the issue. I just hope I'm not doing the same.

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