Content Submitted by Steven Lin
Victim #4 had reservations about the decisions for sanction Penn State and to take down Joe Paterno's statue. He remained a fan of Penn State and expressed anger that he and his fellow survivors were not consulted by Penn State and the NCAA, which meted out measures on their behalf. This raises a great question about whether our assumptions of survivors' desires and sense-making from the tragedy should supplant what the survivors actually feel and how they truly made sense of their trauma. This is neither a fight for or against sanctions at Penn State. It is an argument to preserve the authentic voices of the survivors without imposing our thoughts over them and without using them in a hollow game of "who hates child sex more." We all hate it with equal passion. Let's move on and allow the survivors' own stories bear witness to a world that is willing to listen.
What does Penn State have in common with Wall Street, the United States Navy, the Boston Red Sox, Baylor University, the Citadel, the University of Michigan, and the University of Montana? These are institutions that have relied on sociology to build collective pride among its members. These are also institutions that have used its culture to suppress and coverup crimes. Sociology informs us about why this happens, and it helps us understand why a scorch-Earth punishment on Penn State will serve less good than a virtual-Marshall Plan for reconstruction.
The outrage is justified, make no mistake about it. But it has reached such a magnified state of frenzy that a mob with pitchforks and torches are descending upon Happy Valley. The "guilty by association" argument is too simplistic.