Who can you trust? That’s what I took out of the conclusion of Jerry Sandusky’s trial last week. Who can you trust with that which is most valuable — your children?
Sandusky was found guilty last Friday on 45 of the 48 charges leveled against him. His crimes are the worst of the worst, and no punishment he receives could ever be harsh enough to right his wrongs. But perhaps Sandusky’s widely felt and unspoken crime is that of destroying the public trust.
When I was a young lad growing up on the mean streets of Prestonsburg, my parents taught me not to take candy from strangers. That was the fear. That some pedophile, wearing a beer stained t-shirt, driving a rusted out conversion van with blacked out windows, was going to snatch the children of the community off the streets with the lure of a Mallomar. The picture of this man created in the mind was of a shadowy stranger from another place. He reeked of evil and misdeeds. It wasn’t the football coach, your sixth-grade teacher, or civic leader.
Today, things are different.
That’s whats left for the parents of America in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky trial. We’re all now cursed with the knowledge that no one is above suspicion. It used to be that if a coach or teacher took a special interest in your child, that was joyous occasion to know that an upstanding citizen in the community had chosen to mentor your child. Now, mentoring is only allowable after the sort of vetting normally reserved for vice presidential candidates.
We parents must now be vigilint guarding our children against any perceived threat, both real and imagined.