Life was hard enough when we were told that, even though there were those among us who wished to harm us in some way, there were certain people — teachers, coaches, pastors, doctors and police officers — we should always respect, and we should never question anything they told us. It was an article of faith.
It must be even more difficult when people are also instructed — as another article of faith — that there are places where one is always safe and that, even in those places that are not generally safe, there will be designated safe zones.
The more innocent we are, the more inclined we are to believe such things — and, consequently, the more vulnerable we are because there are always those who are eager to violate that trust.
Larry Nassar is such a person. The now–infamous gymnastics doctor violated more than the trust of more than 100 girls and young women.
But it is important to remember that this is not done. It is not finished. It is not over. There is more that must be done.
For someone like Nassar to get away with so much over such a long period requires the cooperation of others. To be sure, there were enablers — at Michigan State, in USA Gymnastics, in the Olympics — who knew what was happening and looked the other way.
Their inaction, when the list of victims was still comparatively short, permitted countless others to be victimized by a pedophile who grew brazen enough to carry out his assaults in the presence of some of his victims' parents.
The judge was correct when she said she had signed Nassar's "death warrant" with her 40– to 175–year prison term.
He will never see the outside of a prison again, but this chapter won't be closed until everyone who allowed this to continue — like the folks who permitted the atrocities at Penn State to continue — are brought to justice.
I got my bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas, and I got my master's degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. Most of my adult life has been dedicated to writing and editing in one form or another. Most recently I have taught writing (news and developmental) as an adjunct journalism professor at Richland College, where I advise the student newspaper staff. Go, Thunderducks!