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Is the MSU case relevant to JFK and the Unspeakable

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In a copy of the 1980 book  "Authority" by Richard Sennett,  I wrote "JFK" in the margin by the following sentences:


What people are willing to believe is not simply a matter of the credibility or legitimacy

 of the ideas, rules and persons offered them. What they want from an authority

 is as important as what the authority has to offer."


I retrieved this recently while reading about the NCAA gymnastics scandal and watching You-Tube coverage of the Nassar trial. 


Thomas Aquinas's favorite expression for a form was," that by which, or in virtue of which, a thing is what it is" ( id quo aliquid est). My first exposure to the gymnat case was when I watched Kyle Stephens at the start of the impact phase, and Judge Aquilina at the close of the plea stage. By the time I watched the statement of MSU graduate, former gymnast, lawyer and mother of 3, Ms. Denhollander speak at the close of the impact portion of the sentencing, I kept thinking of JFK and the concerns of this forum.

Throughout her statement, the idea, the "form" of the misuse of authority, and of the innocence torn away by such, started to merge in my memory.  At around the age of these young women and girls, I encountered the JFK murder and its explanation. Slowly, very slowly, over many years, a definition of abusive authority, and the devices used to maintain such over time developed in my mind.That by which a thing is what it is came into view. Something terrible happened in 1963. This murder  was abusive beyond the awfulness of the crime itself..  It was - and remains - painful to accept this.Maybe that's why I found myself literally drenched in tears after watching a week of the East Lansing trial.
 I secured a transcript of Ms. Denhollander's statement to the Court and I cut and pasted it - in the order she delivered it - and eliminated specific references. (I subtracted, I didn't add in other words).  I wrote notes to myself, in the order she delivered her statement. My marginalia, with grammar flow suggestive of Captain Fritz:
Warren Commission/ Operation Mockingbird;"loner" and "co-incidence";what happens to them? Mark Lane;all the unexplained suicides and deaths;lost Oswald note,  FBI fabricated evidence; MKULTRA; the books, the websites, Education Forum; substitute for  medical treatment "National.Security"; the Garrison Investigation; Weisberg, Meagher, Lane,Joesten, BuchananZapruder film held for 12 years; witnesses  Hoffman, Adams etc; again, Dulles, Hoover, the Warren Commission, Garrison; HSCA; Rose Cheramie ;Wilcott testimony, Peter Dale Scott, Armstrong, Newman, Baker, Talbot, Horne, Lipton, Hancock, McBride,  Mellon, DiEugenio etc etc etc;  like the South African Reconciliation panel;again, the past 54 years.
Aquinas asks us to define, "that by which...a thing is what it is." What do Forum members think?
 Are they both "unspeakable" in similar ways? Or am I stretching things? In a lifetime of attending trials, following televised trials, performing in re-enactments of trials, and reading thousands of transcripts and plays, I had never encountered an Avenging Angel like Ms. Denhollander. I am a longtime reader of this Forum; this is my first post; please be gentle.
This is what she spoke to the Court:
"There are two major purposes to our criminal justice system your Honor — the pursuit of justice, and the protection of the innocent. 
manipulating ... victims through coldly calculated grooming methodologies, presenting the most wholesome and caring external persona as a deliberate means to ensure a steady stream.."
"The second aim of this court and our criminal justice system is to pursue justice for the victims already harmed.
... I believe, sometimes, your honor, that when we are embroiled in a legal dispute, the words of our legal system, designed to classify and categorize and instruct, can inadvertently sterilize the harsh realities of what has taken place.Can serve as a shield against the horror of what is really being discussed...".
"... there were three things I was sure of 1. This was something ... regularly...2. Because this was something.. regularly, it was impossible that at least some people.. were unaware of this. Because people .. HAD to be aware.. of these... surely could be no question about ... legitimacy. This must. Be "..(air quotes/ medical.treatment).
 "...if someone was made aware of what ... was doing, they would report it, and ensure it was legitimate before ever letting ..."
 "...being told by ... that ... and told.. there would be consequences ... I did not know that... had reported the... and .. and other ... and supervisors, two years before., and had also been silenced.
I did not know that ... had reported to.. and been silenced, one year before.
I did not know that ... had also been silenced...." 
" I believed that the adults...would do the right thing..
I did not know that at the same time .... systematically burying reports ... instead of reporting them, creating a culture..... without fear of being caught ..."
"I did not know that, contrary to my belief, the elite ... were far from protected, and that..., rather than supervising ... was allowing ...to “treat”  in secret..".
"I did not know these things.
My misplaced trust..  and my misplaced trust in the adults around... followed me everywhere...".
"...organizations whose gross failures .... Every time I repeat these facts about the number...  were silenced...You say that there was no cover-up because no one who heard the reports..You play word games, saying you did not “know” because no one “believed”.. because they DID. NOT. LISTEN...No one “knew” according to your definition of “know” because no one handled the reports.. properly...Victims were silenced, intimidated...."
"It's been.... and I am still asking the same questions, and receiving the same straw-man, word-game answers you have been giving..." 
"...was that the right way, or the wrong way, to handle a  ..disclosure?... used the emotional pain .. was in after ... death, to convince ..it would be too exhausting and painful to bother filing an official report.. was that the right way, or the wrong way,to handle reports?...When..was also silenced, was that the right way, or the wrong way, to handle disclosures?...instead of reporting as.. was mandated by law to do, was that the right way, or the wrong way, to handle disclosures?...When...was allowed to handpick the four colleagues to be interviewed to determine whether...was legitimate, was that the right way, or the wrong way?..
"And what was the response of officials...the head of the.. wrote  immediately and told him “Good luck, I’m on your side.” President...is that the right way to handle a report ?..when.. video testimony came out ... graphically describing... disclosing horrific details to the world that no one was ever supposed to know... forwarded that video.... and he mocked me...."
"When ... one ... was allowed to handpick to clear his name... .” I only thought...  I was just “confused.” Sounds eerily familiar to what... was told ... that she “didn’t understand the nuanced differences between.... Sounds eerily familiar to what .... was told all the way back to... — there were wrong, they were just confused....President.... is this the right way to handle disclosures? ..everyone...has doubled down on the claim that they did nothing wrong. The only conclusion that can be reached then, is that you truly see nothing wrong with any of this, and that is terrifying...that is why so many of us have called for a complete change in leadership...."
"Because of the willful ignorance, victim-silencing, and mishandling of ... reports ... in... and in ...., I ... have never been the same., I took a chance and spoke up, and was cautioned for my own sake to remain silent...before I even knew a decision had been made to not hear ... warnings, and I wept...And I wept and wanted to throw up.. I wondered almost daily if there was any chance my voice would be heard....whenever I had to study crimes or torts ...and tried to find out what had happened...and I watched for any sign that I would be believed...Trust wasn’t safe....And I watched for a chance to be believed, and I waited...."
...excuse to brush off my concerns when I advocated for others... that I was imposing my own experience on other institutions who had massive failures...I was left completely alone and isolated because I chose not to be silent...when it became known ..I was a victim myself.., often by those who should have been the first to support and help..... I was subjected to lies and attacks on my character, including very publicly by Attorney... when I testified under oath, being attacked for wanting fame and attention, for making a story up to try to get money. ...
"I did it because it. Was. Right. No matter the cost, it was right. And the farthest I can run... is to daily choose what is RIGHT instead of what I WANT.... chose to pursue your wicked desires, no matter what it cost others...if you have read the Bible you carry, then you know that forgiveness does not come by doing good things, as if good deeds can wipe out the incredible evil you have committed. It comes from repentance, which requires facing and acknowledging the truth..
"...Throughout this process I have clung to a quote by CS Lewis, where he says “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?"
....I can call what you did evil and wicked — the crooked line — because it was. But I can KNOW that it was evil and wicked, because there is true goodness — the straight line against which all is measured.
 This straight line is not measured based on your perception of good, or mine, or any other person’s... that I can speak the truth about ... and call it what it was, in all its evil, without minimizing or mitigating, because the straight line of truth exists. And where there is true goodness, there is hope..
....Because when a person loses the ability to define evil, they lose the ability to truly define good..In losing the ability to call evil what it is, without mitigation or minimization, you have also lost the ability to define and enjoy love and goodness. ..Who will tell them that what was done to them matters? ...
... Worth the greatest protection the law could offer. Worth the greatest measure of justice available. That you would send a message .. to everyone who is watching, that our country and all the ideals we espouse, surrounds and protects the victims...".
"This is what it looks like when the adults in authority do not respond properly to disclosures ...This is what it looks like when institutions create a culture...This is what it looks like when people in authority refuse to listen, put friendships in front of the truth, ignore red flags..., and fail to hold enablers accountable.."


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