Thus ends this trial within a tempest of past injuries demanding redress, unspeakable betrayals seeking explanation. And now begins the cascade of consequences that will long flow from today's verdicts. Those who many months ago were caught nearby the beachhead where this whirlwind crashed ashore were drawn far to sea by its undertow: Papa Joe Paterno, Penn State officials of all ranks, law enforcement agencies, and Sandusky's "Second Mile." One never returned to shore, the rest founder still in deep water.
Likewise, much as a similar tempest still roils the Roman Catholic church, Sandusky's wake, too, has immersed another abiding institution. Penn State University, certainly, but more importantly, so too has the deep-rooted relationship between men and the children they mentor been unfairly tossed about in the backwash. Whether in sailing or swimming, football or chess, arithmetic or debate, strumming or scouting, well-meaning and blameless mentors have watched as their motives were unduly speculated upon. As well, and deservedly, true and alarming failures among others charged with protecting the young and with reporting suspicions of adult wrongdoing will be more closely examined.
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All these - victims, innocent bystanders, guilty back turners, chastened enablers - all of them, lay scattered like discarded whatnot and waterlogged detritus along the shore. Exhausted. No rainbow in sight.
So very many of these floundering souls - above all, Sandusky's victims - must deep within their bones feel sodden with differing measures of regret and pain and betrayal. Perhaps they would say of this long tempestuous experience,
Wm. Shakespeare's The Tempest, Gonzalo, Act 1, scene 1.
Yet, we hope these victims, now grown, will soon feel the sun upon their backs, then turn to gaze at gentle seas all the way to the horizon.