The last few days the local news has been dominated by an Amber Alert for a seventeen year old girl who was supposedly abducted by a twenty one year old man. The man had recently made the news for entering into a few high schools, asking about wrestling programs. Of course, any stranger entering schools should be checked out. Though he did have a record of some wrongdoing in Texas, his inquiries in the local high schools were found to be harmless.
This week, news broke that he had taken a seventeen year old girl against her will, and both had disappeared. The FBI was called and the Amber Alert issued. From the moment I heard this, I knew the girl was not in danger and that she had gone willingly with this young man. A sense of sadness came over me each time I heard the Amber Alert reported or saw the headlines.
The two were found yesterday. It made the top news this morning. Along with the news, a video recorded yesterday in a Topeka liquor store was aired. It showed two young people calmly walk into the store and speak with the clerk. The girl did not seem to be afraid, or under duress, or attempting to alert the clerk that she was being kidnapped. Their body language, as I saw it on the tape, did not even indicate that they were anything other than friends.
The kidnapping came to an end when a bank teller recognized the pair as they attempted to cash a check. He stalled them at the bank while law enforcement was called. The girl was in the bank when the man was arrested in his car. The arresting police officer emphasized that the young man cooperated fully with them. He reported the girl was scared and relieved.
If in reality the girl was taken against her will, then my concern is entirely misplaced. But if she went willingly, then it is a bad situation. A young man, who may have some mental deficiencies, is facing major federal crimes, serious enough that he could spend most of his life in prison if convicted. Our federal laws have become an enormous burden upon us. We are the least free people of the Western world, imprisoning more of our citizens than any other country, including Russia and China. Our justice system is such an array of twists and turns that no innocent human being can hope to navigate them successfully.
There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. The letter of the law decrees the young man kidnapped a minor and took her over several county lines. If she engaged in any sexual conduct whatsoever with this young man, the letter of the law will effectively pronounce a life sentence on him. In reality, it may have been two young people together on nothing more than an adventure.
The spirit of the law is to enact justice on behalf of innocent victims of kidnapping and rape. In this case, I think the young man will be the ultimate victim.