Wednesday, May 04, 2005

On Hoaxes

The 32-year old who faked a kidnapping will not face criminal charges--the thousands of hours, millions of dollars and, presumably, multiple gunpoint stops of people fitting the fabricated description of the suspects must be disregarded in light of the fact that the woman faced a stressful wedding--only a cad would insist on the
letter of the law. "She needed some time alone," empathized Albuquerque's Chief of Police.

The Albuquerque Tribune reports that "authorities from several law enforcement agencies went beyond the call of duty - giving her a teddy bear, an FBI cap and polo shirt, a tote bag, meals and even a shoulder to cry on - to make her daylong stay in the city comfortable." Last year, Minnesota college student Audrey Seiler faked her kidnapping and got misdemeanor probation. On the other hand, the
19-year old college student who faked a racial incident is facing the hammer--the highest degree of all possible charges. After all, she selfishly disrupted the campus for her own personal reasons. [Jack Chin]

UPDATE: Although apparently in the clear in New Mexico, where the false statements were made, the runaway bride may in fact face criminal charges in Georgia, according to prosecutors--even though Duluth, GA Police Chief Randy Belcher has been quoted as saying no charges would be filed. AND PS: I don't deal with the Wendy's hoaxer here because it is uncontroversial that scammers for profit are subject to prosecution. The more difficult problem is people who do this sort of thing for emotional reasons.

Aw... I sure am glad that criminal acts that cost millions of dollars and emotional stress to hundred of people are going to go unpunished. I mean, she just needed some time alone, right? Who among us hasn't claimed to be kidnapped by mexicans when we get really stressed?
This is the sort of thing I was talking about in my earlier post about judging INTENT versus MOTIVE. We should punish or not punish someone based on their intent. Their motive is only mildly interesting. She clearly intended to fake her kidnapping and file a false report. She was nervous about her wedding? So what?!?! EVERYONE IS NERVOUS BEFORE THEIR WEDDING, BUT NO ONE ELSE FAKES THEIR OWN ABDUCTION!
Of course, it looks like the police chief is going to coddle this 32-year old baby instead of discipline her. That's a shame because it just teaches everyone else that if you ever get sad or upset, do whatever you want because we care more about your feelings than about law and order.


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