It has been just two weeks and the Penn State story has faded from the headlines. News cycles are about the moment. They survive on sensationalism. The allure of intrigue requires an endless stream of titillating 24 to48 hour stories. Then as quickly as they come, they disappear. There is little regard for the damage, little recognition of consequences, and little compassion for the endless number of souls impacted by the coverage. Only the moment matters to the media and consequently the culture.
Observe any major disaster and the similar patterns prevail. Immediate shock, sensational attention, finger pointing, blame shifting, questions of doubt…9-11…Columbine…Gabriel Giffords…Penn State…here for a moment, gone tomorrow. But the wake…the wake that is left behind.
Will the incredible prevalence and horror of sexual abuse just fade back into the landscape? Will there be a concerted effort by anyone to keep the dialogue current? Is there any hope that community leaders, churches, counselors will rise up in a collaborated effort to do rescue and healing? Or, will once again the public breathe a sigh of relief that this time the light didn’t shine on its community? Sadly, the uncomfortable, awkward feelings will be tucked back away behind the masks and life will go on as usual, in a clouded state of illusion.
For just a brief moment, the survivors of Penn State and the millions of others in this country could speak out safely. It was a narrow window of opportunity for protectors to step up and battle for the wounded. There was outrage, calls for accountability and justice. What about tomorrow…and next week…and the years ahead filled with pain for all the survivors. Penn State is once again a chance for a beginning. A golden opportunity to address the magnitude of this evil and fight. I pray a few more will hear the voice of truth and the promise of hope. I fear deaf ears, fearful hearts, and shame will shuffle it all back to the shadows. Help keep the fight out in the open…