My letter to Danny Porter
First of all, Danny Porter sounds like a serial killer's name. That's most likely because I'm thinking of Danny Rolling, the Gainesville Ripper. But alas, the Danny Porter I wrote to today is not a serial killer. Not that I know of, at least. He's the district attorney of Gwinnett County, Georgia, where the infamous Runaway Bride case is unfolding. He's in charge of deciding whether or not to charge Jennifer Wilbanks with a crime, and I thought I would let my opinion be known, since he said on the news the other day that he's received quite a bit of emails and that most are in the "Put her head on a bloody stake" camp. Anyway, in lieu of posting about the gender and legal implications of the case, I'm simply posting my letter to Porter, since it touches on those issues, though it of course does not go into great academic detail. Oh well. If you are so inclined to write Porter yourself, his email is: Danny.Porter@gwinnettcounty.com
Dear District Attorney Porter:
I am aware that you are receiving a lot of email regarding the Jennifer Wilbanks case, most of it demanding that you prosecute her to the fullest. However, I am writing the exact opposite. I believe this is a case that at worst belongs in the civil courts, and at best simply needs to be a private family matter solved without public intrusion.
Until she picked up the phone and claimed to be kidnapped, Wilbanks committed no crime. All adults have the constitutional right to disappear in this country, no matter how much money is spent searching for them or how many hearts are broken in the meantime. Therefore, your only opportunity to charge her with a crime is for the kidnap hoax. However, her kidnap hoax was dismantled within 2-3 hours-- it is extremely unlikely that much, if any, tax money or police man hours were spent on her ludicrous story.
I find it ironic that nearly every day, men walk out on their lives and their families on purpose to little or no fanfare and certainly to not even a fraction of the publicity and uproar that has come about as a result of the Jennifer Wilbanks case. We all know the story of "I'm going out for a pack of cigarettes", when the men in fact never return. None of these men are ever splashed across major news channels, and as a result, none of these men have thousands of police man hours spent on their safe return. And as a result, none of these men are vilified to remotely the amount that America, the press, and Georgia public officials have vilified Jennifer Wilbanks.
I also find it ironic that one major issue of contention is the amount of money spent on searching for Jennifer Wilbanks. This is an understandable conundrum, and one that could quite easily and reasonably be settled in a civil court. However, it is almost as if your office is trying to fight one wrong with another wrong. If the concern over money is so great, then how about the amount of tax dollars that would be spent on prosecuting Ms. Wilbanks? Prosecuting someone is never cheap, and a high profile case such as this would strain even the most robust budgets. And yet, putting someone like Jennifer Wilbanks in jail would do nothing for the initial concern of money; it would only serve as revenge and blood lust for the people who are angry at being tricked.
I implore you to use your limited resources on more important cases to lock up real criminals, and I ask that you leave Ms. Wilbanks and her family alone. They have suffered enough, and putting her in jail or charging her with a crime will not solve anything. I am sure you have much better things to do with your time, your job, and your office's resources than to prosecute this women for telling a lie that ultimately caused little damage.
Well, there you go.