About the Paterno Statue
Just when we thought this whole sad mess couldn’t get any more bizarre, today an airplane flew repeatedly over campus and town, trailing a banner saying: TAKE THE STATUE DOWN OR WE WILL.
The Centre Daily Times reported that the plane is registered to an Ohio company, whose owner declined to say who hired him to trail the banner. He did, however, say, “I believe in freedom of speech.”
Is it free speech if you’re threatening criminal acts? I don’t have the legal chops to say. But I have a feeling that today’s incident doesn’t bode well for the statue.
There’s been a steady police presence at the statue ever since former FBI director Louis Freeh, hired by the Penn State Board of Trustees to investigate the Sandusky scandal, issued his report last Thursday. And today’s incident with the plane surely has Penn State police and others thinking about all of the possible things that could go wrong at that statue.
Picture the university having to have security at the statue 24/7 indefinitely. Picture the fights that could break out at the statue during home games. Worse yet, picture a bunch of fans posing at the statue before a game and some angry jerk deciding to drive a truck into the crowd. From a safety perspective, sadly, the statue is an incident—if not a tragedy—waiting to happen.
President Erickson told the Centre Daily Times today that a decision about the statue will be made in seven to 10 days. Here’s hoping someone comes up with a creative solution that, somehow, brings healing.
Tina Hay, editor