Having written about uprisings on my alma mater's campus before, I don't have much tolerance for the "disturbance" which took place on the Pennsylvania State University campus this past week.
As large as the congregation which took place after the firing of football coach Joe Paterno appeared (I don't think it had much to do with the dismissal of the university president), I don't believe it represents the entire student body.
But why this was more serious than other demonstrations (even the "occupy" gatherings) was one incident which has been shown all over the media, and, of course, the internet.
At one point, a group of demonstrators surrounded a television news gathering van, and enough of them surrounded it to overturn it. The problem was that this was a "live truck", as we in the business refer to it, capable of sending video back to the TV station to show on the air.
The station had reportedly completed its live broadcast to the station, so it had lowered its "mast"...in "every person" terms, the oversized antenna on the top of the truck which allows technicians to transmit the video to the station.
But the people who did this (who, I am sure, were not in the right frame of mind when they decided to do it) should be forced to watch a video all of us at WTAP are required to watch.
Had the mast been fully raised, and had the truck come in contact with any power lines or other sources of electricity when it was toppled...again, in simple terms...there would have been the potential for serious injuries or deaths due to electrocution. As our engineer, Kevin Buskirk, pointed out, there would have been a bigger...and sadder...news story as a result.
What has happened this week at Penn State has been disgusting and sad enough. But the departure of a legendary, and now tarnished, football coach, would have been a small tragedy compared to what could have happened thanks to the actions of a few.