At least a few people have pointed me in the direction of this SFGate column by Michelle Richmond, which uses “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” as a metaphor for what happened at Penn State. Ms. Richmond’s article was posted after mine and thus folks are wondering if that constitutes her taking my idea and if they should be outraged on my behalf.
Folks, thanks, but no. When asked about it in her comment thread she says she didn’t see my piece before she wrote hers, and there’s no reason I can think of to doubt her; you know, not everyone in the world reads me. Also, “Omelas” is a classic science fiction story, and it would be genuinely surprising if I was the only one to have thought of that particular story in connection to the Penn State events. It’s entirely reasonable to think two separate writers would write two separate, unconnected articles with it as a theme.
In other words: it’s a coincidence. These things do happen sometimes.