I live in Pennsylvania. This week the newspapers, Internet, television and radio have been discussing one topic. It is horrifying and it is embarrassing. It also offers us an opportunity, as human beings, to ask ourselves some hard questions.
When does image become secondary to real integrity?
If we see a child being harmed, do we step in or do we leave the scene and tell someone about it after the fact? If we don’t immediately intervene, does that make us an accomplice of sorts?
Is a hero someone who is talented in a sport; a gifted musician; a beautiful or handsome actor? Or is a hero someone who, in spite of the cost to his or her own well-being, does what is morally right?
I can never forget about those faceless, nameless young children who seem to be secondary to football in this whole sordid mess. For them, my heart breaks. I can’t waste a tear on the consequences that are now being faced by the adults who were supposed to protect them. My son is now grown, but my grandson is the same age as these lost boys. I look at him and see their little faces; I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that someone intentionally harmed them, while people knew of the monster but kept quiet and allowed it to continue.
In the words of Nelson Mandella, “Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”