The demonstrators congregated outside Penn State’s administration building before stampeding into the tight grid of downtown streets. They turned their ire on a news van, a symbolic gesture that expressed a view held by many that the media exaggerated Mr. Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal.
“I think the point people are trying to make is the media is responsible for Joe Pa going down,” said freshman Mike Clark, 18, adding that he believed Mr. Paterno met both his legal and moral responsibility by telling university authorities about Mr. Sandusky’s alleged 2002 assault on a boy in a school shower.
Demonstrators tore down two lampposts, one falling into a crowd of students. They also threw rocks and fireworks at police, who responded with pepper spray. The crowd undulated like an accordion, with the students crowding the police and the officers pushing them back.
“We got rowdy and we got maced,” Jeff Heim, 19, said rubbing his red, teary eyes. “But make no mistake, the board started this riot by firing our coach. They tarnished a legend.”
And now we start to see the fanatical mindset that allowed this Sandusky horror to happen. The worst of that rioting lot should be expelled.
UPDATE: More from the Philadelphia Daily News:
Happy Valley was in bedlam early today as angry, chanting students ran amok in a bizarre climax to an unforgettable day that ended with the unthinkable: the firing of football legend Joe Paterno.
Chanting “Joe Pa-ter-no!” and “One More Game!” students raced to the stately Old Main administration building to express their anger that the winningest coach in major-college football history was out – fallout from the child-sex scandal involving his former top assistant, Jerry Sandusky.
More than 1,000 students rioted and rallied at Old Main and on frat-house-lined Beaver Avenue. Riot cops, fire trucks and ambulances were on hand after midnight, amid reports that tear gas was being used to disperse the crowd.
Demonstrators overturned a TV news van, toppled street lights, shook stop signs and threw toilet paper. From rooftops and in the streets, they yelled “F— Sandusky!” and “We Want JoePa!”
But not all the students were this way:
Michelle Knots, 42, a grad student who received her undergraduate degree here in 1991, wept as she tried to explain why she’d come down to Old Main with a sign bearing the aphorism: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
“I’m shocked that in the name of saving the prestige of a football program, young children were raped and it was covered up,” she said. “I got teary-eyed just saying that.”
UPDATE.2: Look at this photo, via Jaybird, of a student protester last night, holding up a hand-lettered sign saying, “Two of my favorite Js in life: Jesus and JoePa.” What is wrong with these people? He’s a football coach, not the Messiah! I see now what Sam M meant when he said this thing is going to be huge in PA.
UPDATE.3: This headline from the tabloidy Gawker gets right at the heart of the moral corruption of these JoePa cultists:
Thousands of Students Riot Over Firing of Child Rapist’s Protector