Once, at a family function, the young son of my cousin was going around asking people if he could hit them. Everyone said "no" until he got to my older brother. This brother looked him in the eyes and said, "You can do anything you want. But remember that actions have consequences, and it would be wise to consider the possible consequences of anything you do before you do it."
The wise young lad paused a moment and said, "you're mean," and wandered off to find someone else to punch.
Perhaps this young man did not have an older cousin who could explain that actions have consequences.
Justin Strine is a Penn State student. Until last year, he was in the ROTC and wanted to join the military. That all changed in November when Joe Paterno was fired. Young Mr. Strine joined in rioting, and was one of the students who attacked a news van during the riot.
Now, apparently, he is quite contrite. "I'm losing everything I worked my entire life for," he's quoted as saying. Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you joined in a riot, idiot. Somehow, I don't think the military wants someone who shows such lack of judgment anyway.
For his part, Mr. Strine the Elder is helping his son learn that actions have consequences. His quote? "I had to stand by and watch my son plead guilty to something he didn't do."
Wait. What? He was caught on camera participating in a riot. Worse, it was a riot that was supremely outrageous to anyone with an ounce of empathy and a shred of decensy. Not to mention the fact it was monumentally embarrassing to Penn State.
I'm sorry that this young man will have to find and pursue a new dream. Such things are hard. But maybe, just maybe, one day he can look his young cousin in the eye and say, "You can do anything you want to do. But remember that actions have consequences..."