Skip to comments.Penn St. riot ends aspiring Army officer's dream
Posted on 08/27/2012 8:47:27 AM PDT by HonkyTonkMan
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.
Strine's father, a career soldier, questions whether that's a just result.
"I had to stand by and watch my son plead guilty to something he didn't do," said Jim Strine.
Penn State sanctioned 32 students for their involvement in the riot, suspending 10 of them from one to three semesters and giving probation to the rest, university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said. Dozens of students were criminally charged, as well, and the guilty pleas have piled up over the last several months.
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Good “Justin” I HATE YOU GUTS! I am DAMN Glad YOU will never be an Officer in MY MILITARY!
We are known by the company we keep. Why was he out there that night in the middle of a riot?
Can he make the right decision in a split second?
No. He cannot.
Actions have consequences.
Justin is an adult who helped destroy property in the middle of a riot...for Joe Paterno, of all things.
He has no business receiving a commission.
“He spent part of his summer in jail.”
C’mon, who hasn’t?
So the Penn St. riots killed this punk's dream -- and NOT his own destructive acts of vandalism?
What a load...
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sorry. no sympathy here. nobody forced him to do what he did, it was his own free will. actions have consequences, especially if you’re supposed to be seeking a career where you go about carrying weapons.
this is a weeding out process.
Well, Dad, then your son should not have pled guilty and fought the charges. In fact, as a future officer in training, he should have had the brain power not to be there at all.
He also has to enforce discipline in his unit and be viewed by his men and superiors as a role model. Not gonna happen. He has forfeited any moral authority.
Hopefully he and his dad will stay on this and press for the prosecution of Spanier. He and his gay agenda for PSU should not get a pass. He was part of the cover-up and needs to do some time, along with the other accomplices.
#4 great post!
...we need to entrust our loved ones in uniform,
to leaders who will make the right decision,
in that split second.
i’m glad his lapse happened now, instead of the future,
when someone’s life was on the line.
ROTC was correct to boot him. He showed lousy judgement and would have made a poor officer.
He’s a whiner to boot.
Someone pass along, “toughsh**” And the dad should have known better than to blame the court for the son he raised.
He still got a raw deal. He might make a better officer for knowing now that even a single bad judgment can
have horrific unintended consequences.
(My principal focus is on the DA, who apparently chose
to make examples instead of doing “justice”. A $34,000 “fine” —repayment of scholarships—plus $8000 in court costs, plus 30 days in jail, plus probation until 2015, is IMHO a bit much...)
At one point Strine and his friend, Christina Assainte, found themselves in a large crowd moving toward a WTAJ-TV news van
With the vehicle already on two wheels and going over, Strine placed his palms on the hood. Four seconds later, the van was on its side. But that's all it took for police and prosecutors to charge him with felony counts of riot and criminal mischief
Yep, it's that simple kids - overturning vehicles as part of a mob is just the excuse the authorities need to lable you as a rioter. Better watch out.
In any case he is 21 yrs old and in my opinion stupid as a box of hammers for even THINKING about getting involved in ANY public demonstration in his particular circumstance.
He gets no sympathy from me.
Don’t go to stupid places at stupid times and do stupid things with stupid people.
On the other hand: “He didn’t challenge the sanctions because Penn State warned him that if he did, he could wind up being penalized more severely.”
I really don’t like that crap where one is threatened for attempting to defend oneself.
No snowflake ever felt responsible for an avalanche.
"Being made"? Like you were just standing there and the Riot Fairy came down and touched you with her magic Conduct Unbecoming wand?
All I wanted to do was serve my country, and now I can't because of one little mistake that was caught on tape.
Time for a little talk with the recruiter, son, if you want it badly enough.
There are plenty of officers and enlisted men in the military who have done far worse. People just get off on expressing their moral outrage over anything related to the Penn State situation. It doesn’t sound like anything unfair has happened to the kid. He was involved and he pled down to avoid felony charges. He can’t apply to join the military while he’s on probation and he can’t join at all without a waiver and an interview process, so booting him out of ROTC only makes sense. If you can’t complete the ROTC program and you can’t enlist in the military as required, then you have to pay back the scholarship money just like everyone else who leaves ROTC. If he didn’t want any of that to happen to him, then he shouldn’t have plead.
That being said, when he probation is up, he can apply for a waiver and go from there. He won’t graduate until at least 2013. If the military is truly his dream, he can wait until 2 years after graduation to give it another shot.
Closing line: “I just think what happened was really, really unfair.”
Sometimes, titty be tough.
Looks to me that the Army managed to ‘weed ot’ another Manning before he could do some real damage.
Sounds like father, mother and son are lamenting getting caught more than they are willing to acknowledge what junior did that night.
If a sense of right and wrong were not instilled in the young man by his parents certainly after two years in ROTC he should have known that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong “friends” engaged in an illegal and destructive activity.
Whether he knew this and persisted or was ignorant of the expectations of a future officer makes no difference. He does not deserve either the ROTC scholarship or the honor of a commission.
Because what his son "didn't do" was caught on videotape.
The kid was not treated harshly by the justice system. They let him plead a felony down to a misdemeanor.
His real beef is with Penn State, which suspended him and led to his being kicked out of ROTC.
This wasn't some split second mistake. This guy left his apartment, drove downtown and purposefully joined a riot in progress. That is not the kind of judgment I want in an Army officer.
There is no excuse for his actions; and, I hope he and the others have to pay for the damage.
But....I would like to interject some things about the mob mentality.
I was a plebe at West Point in 1988, and the week before the Navy game was pretty crazy. Some wings of the mess hall would erupt into enormous food fights (looked like a locust storm). My company was known for initiating a ‘Jock Strap Rally’, which consisted of running around at night in nothing but tennis shoes and the supporter (yes, I participated).
And one night, a mob formed outside (after we were supposed to be in our rooms), and flipped over a car. This was a junk car, which had been placed in the area, to show us what a DUI accident looked like...but it was still a car. I was outside that night, and I could feel the ‘mob mentality’ in the air....and I saw first hand how very normal people (most of whom went on to become officers) can do stupid things in a mob. I saw lesser versions of this for my remaining 3 years there.
So, this guy did act criminaly...and this riot was a little more ‘dangerous’ (I saw rocks and bottles being thrown)...and there is no excuse. But what would I do with him as far as ROTC is concerned? Maybe make him repeat a year of the program, and perhaps make him give instruction to others on the subject.
We had people get DUI’s at West Point, and some were allowed to repeat a year, and still get a commission...because nobody can be perfect all of the time.
Army Officers get paid to make THE RIGHT split-second decision.
On the bright side, the guy can look back upon his life, knowing he destroyed it while rioting for a guy that protected a pedophile, for his own personal gain.
Karma can be a real b**ch
Why do I get the impression that he’s more disappointed that he lost his free academic ride than losing a chance to go to Afghanistan and be in a real riot where the cops don’t break it up and prevent him from actually getting hurt, house him in a warm safe jail and treat him with overwhelming respect in court?
You're 21, son. Act like you've got a pair.
Akin. This guy is just a younger Akin.
Unless you leading the mob, participating in a riot is an indicator that you aren't leadership material.
You need to lower your aspirations when you're working on Plan B.
That’s my thought as well. The guy’s father Issa CWO (helo pilot) and his sister a Senior Airman. He seems to be upset that he doesn’t get to be an occifer. Tough. He will be able to enlist and over several years prove that he’s grown up and earned a shot at a commission.
Will it matter if (when) it is found that Joe Paterno didn’t know there was a monster in his midst; that he was fired without cause, and that the students had a right to be angry? When the Freeh report is exposed for its unsubstantiated conclusions? When McQueary admits that he didn’t tell Joe exactly what he said he did?
Will it matter to the dead coach whose legacy is in shambles?
Will it matter to this kid?
Agreed. If he wants redemption, let him enlist, work his way up through the ranks and through outstanding performance, earn the right to reapply for officer training.
That is completely different from rioting in a town, tipping cars that beling to private parties, and defying police. And what makes this even more difficult from the Army's perspective was the context. The fact is that the national perception is that, at a minimum, JoePa did not take proper action when informed of child molestation. So it appears that the students were rioting in support of a guy who did something wrong, and failed in a duty.
He put the Army in a pretty tough position -- cadet arrested for rioting in support of JoePa. Ouch.
I agree that this cadet’s actions were criminal, and more serious than Army/Navy week rallies.
But, you didn’t address the last part of my post - West Point would give people arrested for DUI a second chance. And, DUI is clearly criminal, and deadly dangerous.
I suspect he was kicked out of ROTC, because his being in jail made it impossible for him to participate...and, some convictions may automatically call for dismissal.
However, the ex-Cadet has options to get back in. As somebody else mentioned, he could enlist, excel, and apply for OCS. Or, I suspect he could sit out a year, and re-apply to ROTC.
Unlike many on this thread, I am ‘ok’ with that. He was preparing to be an officer...but he isn’t one yet. I don’t know about ROTC; but, West Point has a whole system set up for discipline - area tours and demerits. The system is in place, because you people will eventually screw up.
If he gets another shot at it, he will be at least a year older, and hopefully more mature. Some of my old classmates are now Majors and LTC....but when they were young and dumb, they did some outrageously stupid things. They turned out alright, though. This guy could as well.
Will it matter if (when) it is found that Joe Paterno didnt know there was a monster in his midst...
...come now...Joe chose not to know...
that he was fired without cause, and that the students had a right to be angry?
...perhaps he shouldn’t have been fired...room for a lot of opinions...but student’s having a right to be angry? They’re on campus to get an education, not get angry and act like idiots...
When the Freeh report is exposed for its unsubstantiated conclusions?
...you were an author of the report? You know that the conclusions are unsubstantiated? Or do you just want them to be?
When McQueary admits that he didnt tell Joe exactly what he said he did?
...Joe acknowledged that what Mike told him was a man that Joe himself was responsible for being on campus in the first place, was with a boy in a shower, doing something of a sexual nature...you think Joe needed a videotape or something to show the slightest bit of interest in something that sinister?