Ob Populus

Happy Valley’s Problem

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm

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How could Jerry Sandusky get away with it for so long?

To understand how Jerry was able to hide his outrageous conduct, one has to understand the nature of Happy Valley.  Although this area offers many of the same amenities as a large city, at heart it is a small town. Every one knows everyone, which creates huge conflicts of interest. Everyone plays multiple roles and has multiple interest to look out for; and when you have more than one master to answer to, you cannot answer to any. 

So when people look at Penn State and wonder why it did not do more, those officials tasked with the duty also had an interest in “The Second Mile.” Penn State is Second Mile and Second Mile is Penn State. Any action that would benefit one, would hurt the other. So what do we get, half measures that purport to deal with the issue but in reality is just sweeping it under the rug. Ban Mr. Sandusky from bringing boys onto campus and hope it goes away because if this goes further, “The Second Mile” will get hurt, which in turn, will hurt Penn State. 

Standing alone this would not fully explain how Jerry remained at large for so long to prey on the innocent. One must also understand another aspect of Happy Valley culture, it is something I call “polite inbreeding.” Every one born and raised here, knows everybody else and being polite people, refuse to publicly speak ill of one another, no matter what the circumstance. It is just not done.

When a local business man gets himself appointed to the board of “The Second Mile” and then awards his own company contracts to do business with “The Second Mile.” What should be the appropriate reaction, one of disgust or approval? Most sensible people would see it for what it is, self dealing. A person using his influence and gaining a position of trust in order to line his own pockets. Here, we laud him as a philanthropist.       

When residents have doubts about Mr. Sandusky and his behavior. Do they say anything? No, because look at all the good he is doing, how could he have ulterior motives. He is one of us and we are good. Just look around. It is better off left unsaid. 

The lion remains free to hunt.  

The media frenzy on this scandal makes it appear that the whole mess begins and ends at Joe’s door.  It does not. It begins and ends at all of our doors. In the wake of 9/11, New York City began a campaign in regards to terrorism. If you see something, say something. It is a slogan we here in Happy Valley should take to heart.

A good piece on Sandusky and his life in State College:   http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20111120__2.html?cmpid=125219969

  1. I grew up in State College, parents have lived ther 40+ years.
    Have you ever spent a week in State College?
    To put it bluntly, you’re clueless.

    Everyone in town does not know everyone else.
    Everyone in town does not have only good things to say about others.
    Google State College school board elections. For the past 4 years.

    Here’s a novel suggestion. Do some first hand research before writing. Or does blogging mean never having to say you’re sorry?


    • Well, I live here.

      Usually, when someone reacts as strongly as you did, there is an element of truth to what you are protesting about. Scream and divert the attention away from the underlying issue. All I am looking for is some self-introspection. Are we as a community doing what is necessary to keep these things from happening or are we playing the three monkeys – here no evil, see no evil and speak no evil.


  2. Fred, I live in State College. The “powers that be” in this town certainly do all know each other. I don’t know if you still live here or if you have ever stepped outside of this bubble, but people brazenly engage in “self dealing” here and everyone else politely looks the other way. How else can you explain Bob Poole awarding himself a multi million dollar (funded by our tax dollars, BTW) contract from the Second Mile when he is the CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD?? Do you honestly think that there was a legitimate bidding process? But no one ever mentions it, especially not the CDT. Again, politely looking the other way. It goes on here all day long and if you were honest with yourself, you would realize that that is why you are so angered by this blog.

    Does corruption exist everywhere? Of course it does. But in larger cities, it’s usually not your own neighbors who are smiling in your face while robbing you blind.


  3. I am not from Happy Valley, been there only once, with the author of the article. If what he says is true it is a sad commentary on the entire community. Not gossiping about ones neighbor is an admirable quality. Not turning your neighbor in for stealing cable or working as a bartender while accepting unemployment benefits, is wrong but hey people don’t like to be “rats!” Allowing a pedophile to continue to harm children is despicable. If the author is correct Happy Valley is a warped community where pedophiles would thrive. I do hope that he is wrong, that somehow the Sandusky scandal is not as bad or widespread as some media outlets have reported. Only time will tell, but until them i agree with the author when he advises “if you see something say something” or better yet do something”


    • Part of what drives this narrative is the belief that this area is nirvana, nothing bad will happen because no bad people live here. Sort of a willful blindness. Homes need not be locked as no one will burglarize your house and then when it happens, it is shocked disbelief. Likewise, with Mr. Sandusky. Many turned a blind eye simply because it was not possible that a pedophile was in our midst. This is Happy Valley after all, it is not possible that a predator set up here to hunt. And then it happens………………


  4. Sadly, Gov. Tom Corbett, who was Pennsylvania’s Attorney General until last January failed to meet that higher moral obligation as well. For at least six of the 15 years Jerry Sandusky is alleged to have molested children, Corbett was the top law enforcer in his state. The case began, then stalled on his watch.


    • And when his campaign needed the backdrop of Beaver Stadium, he flew his “Elect Corbett” banner during PSU homecoming game last year, knowing full well what was unfolding at the University.


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