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November 10, 2011

The Definitive Blog Post On The Penn State Child Rape Scandal

Is not by me, or even by any conservative blogger. It is instead by one of my favorite science fiction authors, John Scalzi, who has the post Omelas State University up on his website.

The beginning of the piece is powerful and angry, and sums up my view quite nicely. But he becomes much more reflective towards the end, concluding with the perfect literary reference.

Here’s what I think about that, right now. I’m a science fiction writer, and one of the great stories of science fiction is “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” which was written by Ursula K. LeGuin. The story posits a fantastic utopian city, where everything is beautiful, with one catch: In order for all this comfort and beauty to exist, one child must be kept in filth and misery. Every citizen of Omelas, when they come of age, is told about that one blameless child being put through hell. And they have a choice: Accept that is the price for their perfect lives in Omelas, or walk away from that paradise, into uncertainty and possibly chaos.

At Pennsylvania State University, a grown man found a blameless child being put through hell. Other grown men learned of it. Each of them had to make their choice, and decide, fundamentally, whether the continuation of their utopia — or at very least the illusion of their utopia — was worth the pain and suffering of that one child. Through their actions, and their inactions, we know the choice they made.

I’ve made no bones about my contempt for child abusers. I’ve even condemned a former seminary classmate in the harshest of terms upon his conviction of abusing boys in his parish. I’ve expressed contempt for fellow educators who prey on their students. And over the last couple of days I’ve been trying to figure out how to address this one – and therefore thank John for saying what I feel better than I could have (which probably explains why he's the successful author and I'm the Geography teacher).





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NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
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