Justice for All…?

No matter how hard I try not to admit it, after living in Pennsylvania for more than 18 years, a little bit of the blue state did rub off on me. Needless to say, during the past two weeks, it has been difficult thinking of the circumstances involving the infamous Pennsylvania State University. In fact, when living in PA, you quickly learn there really is no other college in the state of its caliber where its alumni rally behind, attend football games way into retirement, name as beneficiaries in estates and support every decision made by the college’s football coaching staff. For students who knew they wanted to attend Penn State while in high school but lived in another state, their parents relocated to Pennsylvania to increase the odds of acceptance. I know, I have one friend who did this for her son.

Then, scandal dealt its ugly blow. During one beautiful fall day, with just five football games left in the season, the coach took his own tackle, sack, or what have you, along with the college president and a multitude of assistant coaches and other supporting staff. And, what is left is a college that is still in a state of shock. Students are upset and angry, parents are feeling blindsided and a seamless reputation that can never be repaired no matter what high-price Public Relations firm is hired. The college’s image is slowly crumbling bit by bit. Children were abused and that is the lowest of lows. It makes me physically sick to think of what was occurring and why no one did anything about it.

Penn State is a unique college and until you know the students and have been on the campus you may have a difficult time understanding the love you feel for its history, the leadership and the once spotless reputation. However, what we now know is that we were misled. But, why? Was it for the good of the college or for the sake of its reputation? Were things brushed under the rug, not talked about, or lies told to save jobs, to save face, or to increase enrollment? Sadly, I am not sure any of us will ever know how far this scandal reaches. While I know there are two sides to every story and the college hasn’t revealed theirs, they are gearing up for a heavy battle — just two and a half hours away from where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought some 148 years ago.

Other colleges and institutions are now speaking out stating that they also have their own secrets and covered up similar abuse cases. I wonder how high that number will climb as the weeks pass. Colleges are supposed to be protecting students as they take an additional step into the real world…how can they cover up cases when these are the very students they are supposed to be protecting, teaching, and preparing?

I didn’t go to a college where football was a favorite pastime. In fact, there was no football team. I went to an all female college in a very red state where women were taught to be independent thinkers and to compete in a man’s world. Our mascot wasn’t a Nittany Lion – in fact it was a rodent. However, we were taught the value of teamwork, competition and sportsmanship in sports and in the classroom. Our coaches weren’t the best, but they respected the students and, as far as I know, never once did any student feel violated or ever put in an uncomfortable situation. The college lives by a strict honor code that is still in place today – for the students, professors, coaches, etc. While I can’t speak for Penn State’s honor code and whether there is one, I would think that might be a good place to start rebuilding trust and to help do damage control.

As I have been thinking more about this topic during this past week, I have concluded that maybe there is justice in this world for those who commit a wrong — even 40+ years later. While I am struggling with my forgiveness of Dr. Liar and the mistake he made during my surgery, I am definitely not the only one who has forgiving to do. I did some research on the real ‘Dr. Liar’ and it appears that there are other patients who also don’t see him as ‘favorable.’ He has multiple reviews about his bedside manner, his need for speed to operate and other various medical concerns. Like Penn State’s coaches, you may appear to be a superstar in the ‘court of people’s opinion’ one day, but once the dirty little secrets are out, that opinion can change in an instant.

While I was in PA, Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky walked on water. Today, they are living a very different life signing contracts with high-priced, high-powered attorneys in Washington, D.C. Oh, how the mighty can fall and how quickly it happens. While I don’t know the truth about Coaches Paterno and Sandusky, I do know the truth about Dr. Liar and hope that his justice will be uncovered before any additional damage is done. I also hope that those who were abused during these past years will not have this drag on for years or decades.

While in many ways I believe that I have been waiting for God to reveal to me whether Dr. Liar will be forgiven, I also know that it really isn’t any of my business. What I do know is that if Dr. Liar continues on his pathway to destruction (continuing his lies, operating aggressively, not reporting his mistakes to Risk Management, etc.) that it will catch up with him, like it did to those at Penn State. I guess the expression – ‘what goes around come around’ – means different things to people. The sad part of the situation is that people have to get hurt along the way. Those children and families who were abused or injured, etc. – it seems just owning up to your responsibility and to the right thing would have saved a lot of heartache on both parts (the victims and those who committed the crime). Just telling the truth is so much easier. I believe people are so much more forgiving when you just say you are sorry. It’s when you try to cover up the truth that shows that you are nothing more than a coward whether it’s running a college or university, a football team or performing an operation. We all need to live in the moment and be responsible for our actions. We need to be adults and treat others with respect.

Not that I am grateful that this situation occurred, but I have to admit that I am glad it finally surfaced and those who have carried this pain for so many years will be able to move on. It’s a tough road to live when someone has done you wrong. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been living with this secret. May this truth help begin your course of forgiveness. It’s a step in the right direction and while the steps are difficult, I have learned that without them you are simply walking in place and keeping your emotions inside. Let it out and let it go. It hurts, but so does healing, and it does take time. You will look back, you will blame others, you will ask why. But, in time, it will get a little easier and mixed in with those difficult days are a few where the sun shines a little brighter. It’s just time for that sun to shine on those who have been abused and not on the Penn State coaches, who believe it or not — never walked on water.


About mswd

I am an individual living with a spinal cord injury. How the injury occurred, how I found out how severe my injury was and how my planned life suddenly became 'unplanned' is included in this blog. Also included is how the injury has tested my family and me. I believe you will discover it has been both a mentally and physically challenging ordeal and I learned a few lessons along the way. While I am still defining my life’s purpose since the injury, I have uncovered those who are injured, live with pain or have other obstacles to navigate are never able to escape. However, come with me as I explore ways to improve my life, learn to live with multiple neurological conditions, educate others and look for the silver lining. I believe with a little willpower, my caring family and God's guidance I will learn to forgive, hopefully forget how I was treated and dismissed by a doctor and uncover life's new purpose. I pray for painfree days and answers to questions that keep swirling through my mind. I also pray for a cure for neurological conditions and for the doctors to treat their patients with respect. Welcome to my journey. I would love to hear about yours!
This entry was posted in Depression, Disappointment, Dr. Liar, Forgiveness, Self Discovery, Spinal Cord Injury and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Justice for All…?

  1. lola5775 says:

    Thank you, Marsha for once again providing your valuable insight and perspective. It is very helpful as we continue to stay hopeful and faithful moving forward through a very similar ordeal with Troy’s federal lawsuit and appeal against Sheriff Jones of Somerset County.
    Sheriff Jones is our, “Dr Liar” as he continues to cover-up, slander, lie and villify Troy — With nothing, absolutely NOTHING to base it on … only because his ‘position’ allows him to do so.
    It’s disturbing to me how many people choose to look the other way, become apathetic or become a part of the problem by not speaking up for what is right and true!
    Now, as Troy works the night shift as a janitor at the local high school where he, himself graduated twenty-five years ago, we both have faith that he will be soon be rewarded when the truth and justice finally come around! (the date for the Federal case has been set for May 14, 2012!) We say prayers of gratitude for God’s grace and favor every day because we have so much to be thankful for — our patience, wisdom, health, strength and a higher understanding that all will be made right by God in HIS own time.
    The Memorandum by Senior United States District Judge, William M. Nickerson is posted on a WordPress Blog: http://danpowellwatch.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/troy-durham-wins-another-round/
    I would love to hear what you think if you ever get a chance to read it.
    Take care,
    hugs, Lori

    • mswd says:

      Lori — thanks for sharing this with me. I have read it several times and am going to respond privately. The hateful comments make me very upset. Looking forward to a big win for Troy! XO

  2. mswd says:

    Reblogged this on My Unplanned Life… and commented:

    Following the conclusion of the Jerry Sandusky trial and the jury finding him guilty of 45 of the 48 counts against him, I am reposting Justice for All, written in November 14, 2011. A lot has occurred since that time, former Penn State coach Joe Paterno was fired following a 46 year career and later passed away from lung cancer, other Penn State employees were also terminated from their positions and are facing perjury charges as well as a host of other issues stemming from the scandal. However, my heart goes out to the many victims who were and will continue to be affected by this horrible situation. However, seeing justice served is a step in the right direction and I hope the open wounds will begin to heal.

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