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Strange days: Hot nukes and cold feet

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted May 9, 2005

Americans have every right to worry about the threats that are percolating in the international arena. In this post-September 11th world, it would be fair to say that the "war on terror" is never far from our minds, nor is the situation in Iraq. Guerrilla strikes in Iraq continue to be highlighted in the news, and Americans, of course, are deeply concerned regarding the ongoing violence. Moreover, we're witnessing rogue regimes -- declared enemies of America -- attaining capacity for nuclear weaponry and delivery systems. Negotiations with Iran led by the "EU Big Three" (Britain, France and Germany) are near collapse and Iran is now planning to resume uranium enrichment activity, which is a significant precursor to the development of nuclear bombs. Clearly, Iran will not be deterred from "going nuclear." As for North Korea, it already has nukes. The six-nation talks to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions have fallen by the wayside. It's estimated that North Korea might be able to construct as many as eight nuclear weapons, which is a sizable nuclear arsenal.

Given our national security interests, America must deal with unpredictable lunatics and tyrants such as Iran's Mad Mullahs and North Korea's Kim Jong-il (also known as Kim Jong Mentally-ill by his myriad detractors). Kim Jong-il, a ruthless dictator that systematically starves his people, is a rather bizarre-looking individual with a notable Napoleonic complex. Now, North Korea is apparently poised to conduct underground nuclear testing, pursuant to information gathered from US satellite imagery and other intelligence sources. According to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "Admiral Jacoby's assessment that North Korea has the ability to arm a missile with a nuclear device is, we believe, the first such public assessment by an Administration official." The Associated Press specifically notes: "U.S. intelligence believes a two-stage Taepo Dong 2 could hit Alaska, Hawaii and perhaps parts of the West Coast. North Korea also has shorter-range missiles which, some officials have said, may be able to carry a nuclear warhead as far as Japan."

None of the aforesaid is encouraging. Nor is the new Fox News report that nuclear theft is still an ongoing problem in Russia. Fox News analyst and intelligence expert John Loftus asserts that a "nuclear mafia is stealing" nuclear materials from inadequately guarded Russian nuclear sites. Loftus further claims that some of those materials are getting into the hands of Islamic terrorists, which is consistent with previous reports that have been circulating since the early 1990s. However, the Big Picture for all Americans to grasp is this: The potential for catastrophic attack upon our homeland is driven by a) ideological fervor manifest among radical Islamists, bent on destroying western civilization via terror strikes, and, b) nuclear proliferation among lawless nations -- particularly Iran and North Korea -- which would like nothing better than to inflict irreparable harm upon America, even if it entails funneling nuclear weaponry to surrogate terrorist groups to carry out the dirty work. Hence, we have this incredibly disturbing nexus that exists between rogue regimes and terror organizations that share the common goal of destroying America.

All that being said, why is it that the recent news story garnering a disproportionate amount of attention concerns the so-called Runaway Bride? The truth is that people cannot tolerate a non-stop diet of negative news. And news revolving around violence, terrorism, rogue states, nuclear proliferation and a possible apocalyptic outcome is about as serious as it gets. The long and short of it is that people need some diversion from the harsh realities of life, and a few laughs, to maintain sanity. Personally, I wasn't amused by the story, but I was really fascinated. On some level, we can all relate to this human drama playing out before our eyes in the realm of media. And we all have the opportunity to throw our two-cents in. Just mention this story to a friend, co-worker, hairdresser, etc., and he or she invariably offers an opinion predicated upon his or her own life experience. And indeed everyone is an expert when it concerns their own unique perspective.

Jennifer WilbanksOK, so I elicited a whole bunch of opinions about Jennifer Wilbanks, the Runaway Bride. The common thread among all the opinions proffered was this: Jennifer needs to be held accountable for her wrongdoing. Jennifer perpetrated an awful hoax, falsely advising police in both Albuquerque, New Mexico and Duluth, Georgia that she had been raped and abducted. It was a criminal act that cannot be swept aside. What's equally appalling to many is that she left her fiancé in Georgia to face the heat -- that clearly was not an act of love. Authorities seemed poised to arrest John Mason under circumstances that had to be downright nightmarish for him. Despite all the good will currently being extended to Jennifer by the Masons, it's doubtful that John or his family will ever be able to fully trust her again. And that's not a propitious start to a marriage. Why John Mason still wants to marry her is beyond me and most other people. And despite Jennifer's claim that her trek across the country wasn't about "cold feet", she's not believable. Well maybe her definition of "cold feet" is just decidedly different than that of the general population. Simply put, Jennifer presents as manipulative and disingenuous, and that bodes poorly unless she receives the appropriate intervention.

And here's my opinion for whatever it's worth: Jennifer Wilbanks should clearly be criminally charged pursuant to her false statements to authorities -- In all likelihood, the charge will probably get knocked down to a misdemeanor. Given the overall situation, the Court is not going to incarcerate Jennifer, but it will undoubtedly require her to submit to treatment and pay restitution to the City of Duluth, Georgia, for all the costs incurred by the municipality during its extensive search. According to a piece in the New York Post, "The prior jilting isn't the only trouble in Wilbanks' past -- she was arrested three times for shoplifting, including one bust for taking $1,700 in merchandise from a mall, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today." Well, I don't think that Jennifer's "prior jilting" is all that significant, but her criminal record is definitely salient.

And hasn't anyone ever noticed that Jennifer looks wild eyed frenetic, almost bug-eyed, in all of her photos? I'm sure many people have remarked on it. Clearly, Jennifer Wilbanks needs a thorough psychiatric evaluation. I'm not a psychiatrist, but she comes across as Bi-Polar, with terrible mood swings and attending irrationality. It seems to me that this woman loses touch with reality on occasion. Her father described her as "fun, fun, fun", but this current episode is also indicative of the fact that she can descend into deep depression as well. However, I could be totally off-base. Some are dubbing Jennifer a "sociopath." In other words, they are suggesting she has a "personality disorder" and acts without conscience. I would really hate to believe that was the case. In any event, Jennifer has severe mental health issues that still need to be diagnosed and properly addressed. But this notion being floated by talk show host Sean Hannity -- that Jennifer should not be subjected to arrest because of her problems or "issues" -- is ridiculous. In fact, most criminals have substance abuse and/or mental health issues, which are often taken into consideration at sentencing.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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