Thursday, November 10, 2011

heartsick

While waiting in a bicycle shop yesterday, I watched as a mother try to push off her son (who looked to be about 9 years old). He was clinging to her, and she was explaining to him that he needed to wait there for his father, and no he couldn't go with her. The mom looked embarrassed at the spectacle, weakly joking with the bike shop mechanics if they had a spare bike lock that she could put on her kid. She then got of her phone and hissed at the person on the other end to GET HERE NOW. After completing my purchase, I headed out of the back door of the shop. There, I saw the kid kicking around sullenly behind the packing boxes with reddened eyes while his mom quickly backed out of the parking lot in her cream Mini Cooper. I wondered why the local bike shop was chosen as the location to change the divorced parents guard. And I also wondered why the mother couldn't wait with her son who clearly didn't want her to leave him there. What was so important that her child, who tried his hardest to wrap himself around his mother's thighs, had to be left alone among the cardboard trash?

I've been thinking about the child abuse scandal going down over at Penn State (not SEX scandal; as my friend Kahlil wrote, "sex occurs between consenting adults"). For the first time ever, I have devouring Deadspin, which is doing a fantastic job covering this story. I am watching people trying to reconcile their current way of life with this absolutely monstrous reveal. But was has resonated with me most is Matt Millen's interview on SportsCenter on Monday (starting around 04:20). You basically witness a man, attempting to keep his professional composure during the analysis, and getting crushed under the weight of the situation:


This segment of the interview almost broke my heart:
It makes you sick to see that this could happen to this level, if in fact it has happened...But this is more than just a program. This is more than a football legacy. This is about people. And if we can't protect our kids, we as a society are pathetic.
Going back to the top of this post, it's not like I thought that the kid behind the bike shop was going to be kidnapped by a sexual predator. However, this whole week makes me think of the slow decline of our society into thinking about people as disposable, and something to be left behind.

If you want to read the grand jury report that details all the incidents involving Jerry Sandusky (23 pages), it's both illuminating and horrifying.

2 comments:

Molly said...

This breaks my heart, too. Such a scary thing. Makes me want to keep my boys close to me all the time. But it also makes me sad for the people who have these kinds of addictions and are so far gone that they don't seek the right kind of help. Sad and angry about it.

madichan said...

[This is going to sound more nostalgic than I intended]

The reason I mourn a little for the "good old days" is not because I think there was this mythical time when you could let your kids run around unsupervised is not because I think there are MORE child predators now. It's because I think people were expected to and did intervene when things didn't look right. And now, people are so afraid of "getting it wrong" or "it's none of my business" (I am guilty of this as well) that people can conduct questionable acts knowing that very few will do anything to stop it.