Dear Penn State Students

-photo from NYT

The police have been all about depleting their mace and tear gas reserves lately so I was not surprised to read that people were crying tears of state-issued fire but I was surprised that Penn State students comprised the rowdy mob that the police were trying to tame. 

I had been following the case of the Penn State abuse scandal with equal amounts of interest and avoidance.  It's like a remix of the old catholic church abuse scandal; assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky abused a bunch of kids, was even caught in the act, it was reported to university big wigs, and they did not report it to the police which in essence covered up the abuse and enabled the dude to abuse more kids.   Now heads are rolling at Penn State, and everyone that knew about the criminal activity but could not be bothered to share this information with the police is getting axed. 

The whole situation makes me wince in pain for the kids but apparently my sympathies are misplaced.  The Penn State students know who the real victim here is - Joe Paterno, Penn State's legendary football coach.  Students took to the streets to protest the injustice that he was fired. Things got heated, a van was overturned, people got maced.  Here is my unsolicited advice to Penn State students:

1. Non-violence gets you points
With the exception of a few die-hard Black Bloc, ne'er-do-wellers and a few folks that lost control of their anger after being shot in the head with rubber bullets, the Occupy Wall Street protest has been a nonviolent one.  That has inspired people to stop laughing at the drum circle long enough to contemplate the validity of the Occupiers complaints. When your protest starts with ruckus, it makes you look like a crazy football mob which you are I'm sure is not what you were going for.

2. Pick a cause worth fighting for 
Joe Paterno is like 100 yrs old and has been the coach for maybe 50 seasons so is it really so sad if his career comes to an end?  But where was your outrage when you learned that kids had been sexually abused on campus?  My goodness y'all I hope you lose every future football game on principal.

3. Be on the right side of history
Crack open those books that your parents paid so much for and tell me if people that fought for the rights of rich, old dudes that enabled abusers are celebrated . Many of you went on the record with the NYT saying what amounts to "My coach was really cool so I have no regrets about destroying property".

4. Save your energy
Guys like Joe don't need you - trust me.  The board had to fire all those guys to send a strong message and try to manage the liability inaction would have exposed the university to.  There will be other great football coaches.  The bubble-world of Penn State will soon release you and all of your delusions.  You will leave that school saddled with debt and a degree in uselessness. Then your real struggle will begin.

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