Stints in jail. Hefty fines and restitution. Clouded futures. The consequences of their bad behavior have been steep for the Penn State students who took to the streets and rioted in the chaotic aftermath of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno’s firing last November.
Perhaps none have learned a harder lesson than Justin Strine, a young man from central Pennsylvania whose planned career as an Army officer is over before it began — the casualty of his own split-second decision to put his hands on a news van, and a judicial system that considered him as guilty as classmates who did far worse that dark night in State College.
As the fall semester gets under way Monday, Strine has returned to campus, along with 15 other students found to have taken part in a nationally televised riot that caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage and embarrassed Penn State.
As he resumes his studies, nothing’s the same for the 21-year-old from Hummelstown. He spent part of his summer in jail. Far worse: He’s been kicked out of ROTC, his dream of carrying on his family’s proud military tradition now out of reach.
“I’m losing everything I worked my entire life for,” Strine said.
Actions have consequences. Poor moral aptitude. Poor decision making skills. There’s an excellent comment at Stripes that discusses why Strine should not be permitted to continue in ROTC:
The dream of military training from the Marine Corps at Parris Island to the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs is to come up with a test that will evaluate how an individual responds when it is necessary to make a moral choice under stress. This incident provided that scenario, and the outcome was clear.
The military is about the controlled application of violence to achieve national goals.
Oh, and before anyone suggests Mr. Strine can serve his country by enlisting… he can’t. Persons under civil restriction such as parole or probation are not eligible for enlistment.