Wednesday, May 04, 2005

If I were that guy, I would be running the other way

By now, the account of Ms. Wilbanks's escapade are more than well known. Anyone can open any newspaper, look through the internet, or turn on the TV, and someone somewhere is speaking about it. So, I see no point in adding to it much, but two things did irk me about the whole thing. One was that the way she left put her fiance on the spot. It has to be noted how quickly the police and the community moved to suspect him as they conducted the search. He even had to go take a lie detector test as some began to have visions of another Scott Peterson. And this is the woman that loved him who did this to him without thinking. The second thing that irks me, and this one is deep, is that she created a Hispanic male to be her kidnapper. I definitely agree with the civil rights groups that she should apologize. Her irresponsible lie perpetuated stereotypes about an ethnic group and likely incensed negative racist feelings in some quarters ready to think the worst of Hispanics just as it would have had the same effect had she claimed it was an African American male. I am sure African American groups would be fuming had that been the case, and therein lies the point. By making such a remark to hide the fact she made a mistake, she compounded the problem and appealed to ignorance and stereotyping to mask her duplicity. She definitely should apologize, and she should do so in a timely fashion.

Now, I am not totally without compassion. I know she is not the first bride to get cold feet and leave a groom at the altar or call a wedding off at the last moment. Those things happen, and they will likely continue to happen. That is not the issue. She was a nervous bride, and like any other bride, she had a right to be nervous and anxious. But to pull the stunt she did without regard for others is simply thoughtless and irresponsible. Had she simply asked to take time off, decided to postpone the wedding, or stated, "I am taking a few days off," no one would have faulted her. Instead she simply chose to vanish, and not just vanish, but create a scenario that would harm others or cause them to lose time and effort for naught. That the girl needs some kind of help, psychological or spiritual, is evident, and I hope she gets it. But she also lied and caused grief and pain to a lot of people who did not deserve such, and there should be consequences for that. As for the groom, maybe he is more compassionate than I would be. If it were me, I would be moving out of state by now.

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