Monday, May 02, 2005

In defense of the runaway bride

Most of us have read about the Georgia woman who ran away prior to her wedding and remained incognito as hundreds of volunteers and police mounted a nationwide search for her. To copy a modern phrase, this woman "has issues." Her "issues" are now multiplied by having to deal with the friends and relatives back home who spent an anguished week wondering what happened to her. I am not using her name (even though it is readily available elsewhere on the web) so as to avoid causing further embarrassment for her. But I am not above using her picture in order to make my blog more attractive:

Has issues.

The discussion now focuses on whether she should be charged criminally as a result of her "adventure". Many people, including conservatives, have voiced the opinion that the enormity of the headaches that she caused merits criminal charges. A great many people are angry and outraged over what happened.

I suggest that we step back a moment and think about this. What crime did the "issues woman" actually commit? The only actual crime that I am aware of is her false report to police upon calling 911. In pretending that she had been kidnapped, she committed a crime related to false reports to authorities, unsworn falsification, etc. But remember, by the time she made this false report, the damage had already been done. Most of us are disturbed not by the false report, but by the silence over several days that resulted in so much grief and expense to her relatives and law enforcement personnel. She provided (and quickly recanted) the false report only after the manhunt and related anguish had occured. The entire time she was missing, she committed no crime.

Most of us really want to punish her for the expense she caused and the grief she wrought. But I get concerned when it is suggested that an adult cannot run away and hide. Are you really comfortable suggesting that an adult, who has committed no other crime, cannot peacefully hide from her friends, family and even police? Where would such a doctrine leave John Galt and the rest of his cohort? - or Logan?

There is a difference between "wrong" and "criminal." Not everything that is wrong is or should be a crime. [We have been trying to convince leftists of that concept with regard to economics for 70 years.] I believe that if a person chooses not to be found, they should have the right so to choose, especially if they have committed no other crime.

It may be possible to recover the expenses through civil proceedings against the young lady. Such proceedings would not carry criminal penalties and might involve lesser concepts such as negligence. While I would not have a problem with that idea, criminal charges seem entirely innappropriate.

Her stunt may make it more difficult to rally volunteers in the future when persons go missing. But I think it would be wrong to criminalize an innocent person's "escape" solely for the sake of unrelated future cases. The right to disappear (while not really the motivating factor for the Georgia woman) may well be equivalent to our second amendment rights when it comes to resisting government tyranny. It is said that we have the second amendment in case the government forgets the other amendments. Maybe we need the right to hide in case the leftists abolish or continue to ignore the second amendment.

Directive 10-289 is not yet the law, and until it is, hands off the "issues woman"!

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