It’s pretty much over for Jerry Sandusky, the man.
With little surprise to anyone, the former Penn State linebacker coach and charity head was sentenced today to at least 30 years in a Pennsylvania state prison. And for the 68-year old man convicted of a slew of child abuse charges, that means he will almost certainly die behind bars.
But for the rest of us, especially for the victims of his horrific crimes, Jerry Sandusky, the name, will continue to live on and on as the poster boy for the despicable and the figurehead for broken trust.
Sending a very dirty old man directly into the bowels of a penitentiary for the rest of his days certainly doesn’t really phase most of us at all; Sandusky’s punishment fits the crime through and through, we mostly agree. But sadly, as with all crimes, big and small, we are once again faced with the harsh reality that no jail sentence can ever bring back the broken past.
There is simply nothing we can do to right the multitude of wrongs spray-painted all over a community by someone who spent such a huge part of his life being the worst kind of outlaw there is.
Yet, maybe, just maybe, there is some sort silver lining to be found somewhere beneath all of that thick and filthy grime that represent the hardships that Jerry Sandusky’s young victims have suffered through.
Perhaps, we might have all learned a lesson here. And if we’re lucky, if we can even be lucky in the wake of this case, perhaps it will come in the form of people looking out for one another just a little bit more in the days and weeks and years to come.
Who could have stopped Sandusky, who could have intervened and helped to fall the beast is a question that will always remain unsolved, really. And at this point, I don’t even see the use in pursuing it. Any further convictions of the people laterally involved in the tragedy at hand won’t ever serve us much purpose beyond slightly soothing the still prevalent sting from one man’s actions.
Yes, maybe more could have been done.
Yes, maybe more should have been done.
But, in my mind, most of the tracking down and punishing the guilty has been done now. The perpetrator is gone for good. And sadly, no matter who else we might bring down, that will probably be as good as it gets.
As human beings here on Earth, we are constantly spinning through a wild daze of change and motion, even though we tend to not recognize it in the present moment. Our lives are driven by our very own perpetual baby stepping toward a distant horizon. We dream of a better life, but so often we are confused as to how exactly to get there.
And rarely, do we all agree on something; on anything.
Yet, when it comes to children, most of us see the worth in protecting them for as long as we possibly can.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, as the future unfolds itself beneath us, and as we think of the name Sandusky from time to time, less and less as the years roll by, maybe we will remember that here was a guy whose deceit ran deep, yet he kind of plied it right out in the open.
Here was a man whose crimes were way way worse than so many of the crimes we spend our collective money and time and energy pursuing and convicting, yet no one seemed to be able to muster up much interest in bringing them to a halt.
Here was a middle-aged white man, a respected football coach, a family guy with an altruistic slant, a self-proclaimed Christian church-goer, and a big university celebrity, throwing down some of the most heinous crimes right under our noses.
But we missed him somehow.
He didn’t fit the bill at all. He was everything we think we’re supposed to be. And yet, he wasn’t at all.
In the end , what, if anything, does that say about us then, as Americans in the 21st century, as citizens of the world?
I’m not exactly sure of the answer this morning, as Jerry Sandusky is carted away to prison just a few miles from where I live with my two beautiful little kids.
Yet, I know it says something.
And in time, I hope we all pick up on what it is, you know, because it just might teach us a lot about ourselves.
And it just might help us squash the next real monster in his upstart tracks.
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