This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

5 Awesomely Misguided Public Protests

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Unless you live under a rock -- or your name is Ashton -- you no doubt have an opinion about the firing of Joe Paterno.

Actually, if you possess a shred of humanity, your thoughts have probably been focused far more on the horrific sex abuse scandal unfolding in lurid detail at Penn State than the fate of a football coach who failed to be bothered by the prospect that a child rapist was being protected by his silence.

And yet, into the wee hours of the morning on Nov. 9, we watched as hundreds of Happy Valley students raged -- using the firing of Paterno as the catalyst for a protest that culminated in a near riot of broken glass and a toppled news van.

Here is what they might have been protesting: that Paterno has been a man of honor and principle throughout his decades-long association with the university and until there is a full investigation into his role, or lack thereof, in this tragedy he deserves a chance to defend himself and/or the opportunity to retire on his own terms.

The reality is that all the protests really consisted of were some marching, slurred chants of "We are Penn State" and "Joe Paw," tearing up of lampposts and so on. There seemed no greater relevance, no sophisticated thought process and nary a shred of concern for the victims and their families.

A smattering of students may have voiced their thoughts with eloquence, but the overwhelming majority of the crowd had no point, no heart and no brain.

It was only Tuesday -- nearly a week after the riots -- that the Collegian Online, the student news site, got around to saying in an editorial that "If you were one of the people who rioted last Wednesday and ripped lampposts out of the ground in downtown State College ... If you attended Friday night's somber vigil ... If you left flowers at Joe Paterno's house ... Or if you have made any comment about the scandal at Penn State ... You need to immediately read the 23-page grand jury presentment outlining the charges against former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, if you haven't already."

Good call. Odd that it took a week to tell students to educate themselves before rioting, but a good call nonetheless, since literally rioting about something you know nothing about -- especially when it involves charges of years-long sexual abuse of children -- seems, well, misguided.

The sorrowful display by Penn State students had us recalling some other infamous examples of misguided public passion over the years:

1 of 6

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,098.45 +18.88 0.11%
S&P 500 2,003.37 +6.63 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,580.2710 +22.5760 0.50%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs