Where is the outcry on behalf of the victims?
Newsday's Paul Vitello heads to the pizza shop on the corner near Mepham High School, which is home to the sodomizing football players.
He first encounters the pizza man himself, who waxes nostaligically about his football playing past:
"You only get one shot," said Louis Merando, the owner of Luigi's, who calls himself pizza man, "and I'm thinking how I would have felt if they had taken that one shot away from me."
Why is it that when interviewed about a current news event, most people - instead of talking about the event, per se - will respond with only how they would feel if they were in that situation. Pizza Man makes no reference to the fact that no one on his football team had a pine cone stuffed where it doesn't belong. No one on his football team, 45 years ago, was raped.
You only get one shot is a fallacy. All three kids who participated in the rape of their teammates, and all the players and students who knew of the incident, knew who the perpertrators were and didn't report any of it, they will, sadly, get another shot.
They'll still play football and probably succeed at it. There is no shortage of colleges and universities around the country who wouldn't hesitate to recruit a kid who has been tainted by the accusation of having raped his teammate with a golf ball, provided that kid looks like The Next Big Thing.
The other kids involved will go on with their lives and eventually the hazing incident will become just a footnote to their high school years; they will probably scribble cryptic notes about it in each other's yearbooks come graduation time. They will graduate, go to college, get jobs and, with any luck, come to that point in their adult lives when they look back upon what they were part of and begin to live with the guilt and shame that should be theirs right now.
Like this young man, for instance, who hopefully will have these words come back to haunt him some day:
"It's atrocious what happened in camp. I'm not saying it wasn't," said the former captain of wrestling. "But you can't take football away from the entire team. The football captain, the kid on the front page of Newsday [Friday] with his hands up in the air - the nicest kid you ever want to meet - he's beside himself. I mean, my God. He's captain of the football team! Do you know what that means? It's like being class president!"
Such a nice kid. So nice, in fact, that he refuses to tell the truth about his team mates, the ones who are the real victims in this horrid scenario. How the above quoted student gushes over the football captain is, quite frankly, sickening. I would like to take that boy by the collar, shake him around a bit and say "My god. Rape. Sodomy. Do you know what that means? It's like being scarred for life!"
And lest anyone think I am putting too much emphasis on the victims of what was, according to some, just a school hazing, let me say that the victims are being raped again and again, metaphorically speaking, every time one of these idiots opens their mouths to protest the treatment the football team is getting. How must these young boys feel, knowing that, instead of students marching out of school to demand the criminals face charges, to demand accountability from their class mates, the students instead are marching in support of those responsible for their rape? They are bemoaning the loss of their football season, the loss of possible scholarships, and no one is even talking about the victims. No one.
Pizza Man says: "If they'd done that to me, I'd never have my memories." He's talking about cancelling the football season. And what if they raped you, Pizza Man? What if they sodomized you in front of the whole team and no one reported it and you had to get surgery to repair the damage and not one person in the school, not any of the parents even, stood up for you but instead supported the team? What kind of memories would you have then? Would you even want them?
Here's a charming quote from a player: "Some people are just gay!" said one boy who claimed to be a member of the football team, but who wouldn't give his name when approached outside the school Friday. "They got caught doing [things], and now we all have to pay for it!"
Vitello then tried to interview two girls coming out of a 7-11 by the school:
We're not allowed to talk," said one.
Who won't allow you to talk? she was asked.
"The ..." she started to say.
"Shut up!" said a friend, pulling her away.
The teachers? The football team? The parents? Either way, the silence is damning.
And still, no one talks about the victims.
[I am having half a mind to pose as a reporter and cover this story myself, if just to put myself at ease a bit by finding students and/or parents who actually feel sorry for the victims, not the criminals. I just may....]