Despite the tight-knit sense of family in Duluth, Georgia, many people in the community say they feel betrayed by the Jennifer Wilbanks story, in which a bride-to-be bolted just days after the wedding, concocting an elaborate kidnapping story and sparking a nationwide search. The full story as reported by the Associated Press is here.
Quite right. So they should.
It was volunteers…regular people like you and me…who joined police to search for her, through woods, dark alleys, even in sewage drains. They gave up sleep worried about a loved one — and in some cases, a complete stranger — who they believed was in serious danger.
Some have speculated that while she was on the run from her home to Albuquerque, she may have not been aware of the intense media coverage her case would been receiving. But I call that a bogus excuse.
You will recall, I’m sure, the case of the Wisconsin college student that had the blogosphere raging for weeks. She faked her own abduction last year because of pressure she felt, and ended up being ordered to repay police for their time and effort in searching for her. There is no word on whether Wilbanks will face charges, yet, but I think she should. There’s no way, given the Wisconsin case, and given any amount of common sense, that her “abduction” story wouldn’t have caused a media frenzy.
We all face pressure. Anxiety, more and more these days, is a big part of our lives. But we are part of a bigger society than just ourselves. There are ways to deal with pressure. Faking a kidnapping days before a wedding — when 600 guests were making arrangements to attend, when money had been spent for an elaborate ceremony she wasn’t ready for, and when friends and family had shelled out money for outfits and other necessities — isn’t one of them.