1030 Sandusky: The Entrance of the Gladiators and Mrs. McGinty’s Pot
(HAPPY VALLEY PA.) -- If you want to read or hear or see about the trial of Jerry Sandusky, accused serial little-boy sexual abuser, you have a wide variety of choices. In fact, you have many more than you need, so this space won’t be one of them.
But if you want to read about a bunch of whistlers and jugglers running around the case like a bunch of roaches after Mrs. McGinty drops a pot of boiling water on them, stick around.
Sandusky’s trial is underway under the glare of enough television lights using enough electricity to cause a region-wide brownout. Except those lights can’t focus inside the courtroom, so they’re focusing on the talking hairdos with every television network from ABC to the Zoo Channel.
To its credit, most of the media are not running the names of the alleged victims (or accusers if you’re one of the three people left pretending that this guy doesn’t deserve a trip through the wood chipper.) But someone with a notebook and a twitter account will identify them before this is all over.
The judge has barred cameras in the courtroom -- again to his credit. This is one of the few places on earth where you can read that kind of praise from a reporter.
Mrs. McGinty didn’t just drop the boiling water on the courthouse. She dropped it on the lofty Pennsylvania State University which seems not to know what hit it. The fired ex-President is suing the school so he can get e-mails which it turns out may implicate him in a coverup. Two lesser officials are facing perjury charges. A former FBI director hired by the school to investigate is investigating. A bruising and meaningless election of alumni to the hapless board of trustees will have zero effect on anything.
And all of a sudden, despite the unanimous decision to fire legendary head football coach Joe Paterno, no trustee fails to let you know that he was the lone voice of dissent.
So has the circus come to town. Or is it that the circus IS the town and the people watch to see which acrobat falls off the trapeze or the high wire first. Or which clown gets crushed by the previously tame elephant that has had his fill of being taunted by a guy in a polka dot jumpsuit and with a red pingpong ball for a nose.
Sandusky himself comes off like a typical knuckle dragging football type who just learned to walk on his hind legs. That doesn’t mean he’s guilty. It just means that he leaves a bad taste in many mouths. Maybe more so among the ten boys he’s accused of molesting.
Witness after witness will come forth to describe a relationship that starts paternally and ends in a communal shower. And each time the chief defense counsel will try to pick apart the stories by discrediting the boys, now mostly grown young men.
He’ll try to tar them with “they’re just after money” or “they were too young to clearly understand that my client only wanted the best for them,” and on and on like that.
And since every circus needs a sideshow -- or a freak show -- that’s what we have for you folks. Step right up and hear commentators who know nothing of the law and nothing of the history but have great makeup and good suits and who fret and strut and get all emotional or all grim as they juggle heart-tugging shards of data masquerading as information in front of you.
Step right up and watch a huge, storied, fractionally better than average college try to outrun Mrs. McGinty’s pot of boiling water and in so-doing scatter what’s left of its reputation into the surrounding cow pastures.
The circus is in town. This way to the egress.
Entrance of the Gladiators
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012