American Situations

It may be in todays headlines, it may just be on my nerves today. But whatever it is, you'll get my perspective from reading American Situations. Caution: I play in societal muck and write in pretty blunt terms about it. If you are offended, good. I want spirited debate. Please leave comments on the pieces you love and hate. This blog was started in March of 2005... previous writings are also archived from the last Presidential Election cycle.

Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Boots

Some women you just need to take the boots to 'em once in a while. When I read about Jennifer Wilbanks of suburban Atlanta, I renewed the sentiments of my misogynistic humor. There is a place for unique justice and for making examples; this story certainly rates. Oops, I'm sorry, I forgot. We are supposed to understand her, and strive to console her in her time of need. Uh-huh.

Today, 400 guests and a bridal party of 28 were suppose to gather for the wedding of John Mason and Jennifer Wilbanks in Duluth, GA. That is, until apparent tragedy befell the families just three days before the nuptials. Jennifer left for her run and never returned. Both families were concerned but decided to wait a couple days to see if she turned up before engaging the media. In the meantime, some 400 volunteers and 100 police officers combed the town looking for the bride-to-be. Since she was white and female and somewhat attractive in a rich, horse-tooth kinda way, the national media got involved in the grand mystery. The most bizarre shot was the up-into-his-chin camera angle as Geraldo got the skinny from her dad who was apparently still driving around doing... something. I thought I heard him yell, "Marco" and listen intently, but I am not sure.

John had computers confiscated, took polygraph tests and was interrogated for hours, while paid and volunteer armies scoured the town for any trace of her. I guess since they were all in town and had taken time off for the wedding the least could do was, you know, play hide and seek with the bride. Ryan Kelly, owner of the Park cafe was even nice enough to pass out coffee and sandwiches to the volunteers.

In desperation, the family offered a $100,000 reward for information resulting in her safe return. And finally on Friday night, the call they had been dreading and hoping for finally came. She called her fiance to tell him that she had been abducted, but had gotten free and needed a way back home. OH MY GOD, what a happy ending to a tragedy!!!!!! Apparently the abductors had become scared by all the media attention and simply split. Wow, how cool and lucky is that??

They sent a plane immediately to get the tired, traumatized woman. According to the AP:

"Marshall Katz, the airport police chief who escorted Wilbanks to her plane, said she was met aboard the aircraft by her stepfather and an uncle.
'Arms out, big hugs, alligator tears,' he said, describing the reunion.
Katz said he gave her a foot-tall white teddy bear, which she clutched for support. She planned to name it, 'Al from Albuquerque,' she told him."

Al from Albuquerque, that is SO sweet I could just like totally cry. Oh wait. What? no.... you're kidding right? really? c'mon, don't play like that. Seriously? Oh. um. Well, um, it seems that the happy ending resulted not from her captures fleeing from all the media attention but because she, um, kinda made the whole thing up.

While on her run she decided that the wedding thing was maybe a little over-rated and got on a bus. To Vegas. Then another. To Albuquerque. And when she was out of money she decided to call home and say she was abducted. The family said she had "problems we didn't know about." Apparently that she was a goofy-ass psycho bitch was one of them.

This is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Again from the AP report:

"After police reported the hoax, the mood outside Wilbanks' home went from jubilant to somber. Family members ducked inside and the blinds were drawn."

No shit, so would I.

So what now? Her actions were not a simple case of cold feet. Just like the Wisconsin co-ed who faked her own abduction, she should be held criminally liable for the police time and expense involved in her search. She should have to make full restitution to her fiance for the wedding expenses, including the expenses incurred for every guest who took time off work or traveled or both. Ryan Kelly should get $5 a sandwich and $2 a coffee. And if not jail time, certainly a felony conviction on her record, probation, and community service.

Now maybe I am shouldn't be so heartless. Ok, I have a plea agreement I could live with; I call it "The Boots Agreement." In lieu of jail time, we will allow the cable networks access to the public bitch-slapping of Jennifer Wilbanks. In keeping with American jurisprudence, restitution could be partially funded by Jennifer wearing a spaghetti-T and John wearing cowboy boots.

Geraldo wouldn't approve, but you can be damn sure he'd be there to report it.


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