Monday, May 02, 2005

Jennifer Wilbanks.....If you can take anymore!

Okay. I've been listening to people discussing Jennifer Wilbanks all day now, and I cannot understand where all this misguided sympathy is coming from. Let me be honest. I'm really quite irked about it. Even people with whom I'm usually in agreement seem to have come down on the side of the issue that is opposite mine, and I'm rather confused. I thought that Rush and Sean went way too easy on her, especially Sean. I was quite surprised. Even her fiance, on "Hannity and Colmes" tonight, referred to her as a "victim". Sorry, but I just do not see it that way.

Let's look at this person a little more closely. She's a thirty-two year old woman. Not a kid, which is what I originally had thought. So to hear so many people calling for compassion, forgiveness and leniency in her case, truly puzzles me. How can people defend what she's done and make all kinds of excuses for her? Bad enough that she was inconsiderate and callous enough to make her fiance, family and friends all worry sick about her while preparing themselves for the very worst of news, but look at all of the resources that she wasted while police and others in the community were out searching for her and investigating the case! Someone even said that this was her parents' fault, not hers, because they were the ones who reported her missing! Her parents' fault??? As though they were wrong to be concerned about their daughter's sudden disappearance? Please. What parent would not have reported her as missing, given the circumstances?

An even better question? What has happened to the notion of individuals being responsible for their own actions? Whatever the reason for Ms. Wilbanks running away before her wedding, whether it was stress, poor judgement, feeling overwhelmed, "cold feet" or temporary insanity, it really doesn't matter. She perpetrated a fraud, and then lied about it to authorities, not once, but twice. Wasn't that exactly what got Martha Stewart her prison term? She was never charged with insider trading. She lied. Just as Jennifer Wilbanks did.

And has anyone heard the audio of her dramatic performance on the 911 tape? If not, trust me. It's a lulu! Then there's the premeditation factor. Didn't she buy her bus ticket days in advance? This was not a spontaneous act on her part. Why couldn't she simply have confided in someone close to her that she was stressing and panicking over her upcoming wedding, if that was indeed the problem? Why go to such extremes as running away and then falsely reporting that you'd been kidnapped? And another thing that bothers me from her 911 call, is the way she gratuitously felt the need to insert race into the whole imbroglio by telling the police that she was abducted by a hispanic man and a caucasion woman. Was that really necessary? It was reminiscent of Susan Smith, when she lied and said that a black man kidnapped her two small children. Is this sort of thing really helpful?

So, what to do with her? Legally speaking, if what she did was against the law, and I think it's safe to say that it was, I believe that she should be charged with whatever the crime was that she committed. If this does not happen, I think it sets a very poor precedent in that others will think they can lie to authorities with impunity. What she did was a serious matter, and there needs to be consequences. Sean feels (yes, I said "feels", because he certainly can't be using his brain to think) that everyone should go easy on her, and forgive her. Give her another chance. Fine! Let her fiance, family and friends forgive her. They are the ones who probably love her unconditionally, so let them forgive her unconditionally if they want. They're the ones she hurt the most, so that is entirely up to them. If her fiance can forgive her after she put him in the terrible position of becoming the prime suspect in her kidnapping, or even her possible death, for all anyone knew, more power to him. I doubt being subjected to lie detector tests is all that pleasant an experience, but hey! It was his ordeal! He's the one who can forgive her for causing it.

The law is another story, however. The law doesn't "love" anyone, and the law should not pick and choose who amongst us should be charged with a crime. The law should be applied equally, if it is to be just. I say let Jennifer Wilbanks be charged with lying to authorities, and at that time she can say whatever she wants to in her own defense. When the case is adjudicated, that would be the time to show leniency if it is warranted and deemed appropriate by the judge.

I don't think I'd like to see her punishment be financial in nature, because that would undoubtedly be paid by her parents, and wouldn't really teach Jennifer much of a lesson. I would also hope that Jennifer is aware of how lucky she is that there were no accidents or casualties that resulted from this whole debacle, because something like that could easily have occurred at some point. Thankfully, however, it didn't. No one got hurt, and she is back home, safe and sound. Perhaps in addition to a sincere public apology, one which acknowledges how irresponsible and thoughtless she has been, she could do some sort of community service, perhaps in a hospital or senior citizen center. As long as she doesn't get away scott-free, because that will only irk me even further.