How do you frenzy a crowd to the point of violence? Ask the Penn State board of trustees. Penn state is one of the most tight knit universities in the country, if anyone has actually been to State College it becomes obvious that there isn’t anything in that town besides the university. So, it kind of makes sense that when the unofficial sage of collegiate sports, probably the only “celebrity” within 100 miles of Penn State, is so unceremoniously fired people are going to be a little pissed off. The groan during the press conference was palpable, and that was just from the typically unemotional press corp.
Outside, however, things got real. Students literally ran to the “protest” and things quickly escalated. Then they took it downtown. Cars were dented, bottles and rocks were thrown, and for the finale a news van was toppled over. A news van…why? If anything this whole episode shows how important sports still are in American life, more important than say, I don’t know…politics. People can barely get off their asses to vote, let alone protest. But fire my coach? Hell no!
Spontaneous violence is deeply emotional, and it’s obvious that these kids respected Joe Paterno like no one else at the university. Sure, he had the most wins in college football history, but it baffles me that no one stopped for a second and said to themselves “wait, it’s only football”, I’m going to just go start (or keep) drinking.
The board of trustees made a terrible decision by holding a press conference at 10 PM on a Wednesday, at a university. That’s four hours of solid drinking time for a determined 19 year old. Alcohol escalates emotion, emotion creates tension, tension leads to violence, and then the newsman better watch the hell out, cause his van is gonna get it.
Maybe anarchy can take a page from the Penn State book. I just have to wonder if it would be helpful for the anarchists uniform to change. I say do away with the black bandanna, scummy black jeans with do-it-yourself patches and fingerless gloves. Instead put on a pair of grey sweatpants, light running shoes, and put a t-shirt on your head. I have a feeling one of those string backpacks can fit more than a few Molotov cocktails. And you can easily dodge pepper spray bombs with those nimble shoes. Just throwing it out there.