Runaway Teens Turn Up Safe But Need Punishment

Janelle Harris

Missing teenWelp it’s a wrap, media hounds. Pack up the video cameras and tuck the conspiracy theories away for the time being. The modern Romeo and Juliet mystery has been solved.

Turns out the teenage twosome that went missing from their Miami-area homes last week weren’t at all star-crossed lovers like that Montague and Capulet couple. In fact, theirs was a very un-romantic instance of two kids rebelling against their parents’ interference in their, like, totally kismet relationship. Yawn.

After setting law enforcement on high alert, keeping their poor moms and dads paralyzed with worry, and robbing the public of even more time we could’ve spent obsessing over the royal wedding, what will become of young Jackson Wayne Powell and Nicole Dones? Will authorities, irked from days of wasted manpower, slap them with a Jennifer Wilbanks-type punishment?

If they don’t, the kids’ parents sure should.

I mean, strike up the band because they’re home safe and sound. Lord knows we don’t need yet another dismal headline-making story about kids being brutally assaulted because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or making some sort of devastating suicide pact or otherwise getting caught up in an odd, never-thought-that-would happen kind of situation.

But this is definitely one of those predicaments that calls for a parent to smother their child with a blanket of grateful hugs and kisses, then turn around and drop-kick them in the nape of their neck for being so dangblasted inconsiderate, reckless, and out-and-out foolish.

I understand that boyfriend there may have been cutting up because he lost his older brother in a car accident last year. He’s had some legal woes — petty ones, but still — and this latest shenanigan is just another step down a slippery slope of rebellion. As a former acter outer and seasoned runner away from home myself, I know the drill all too well.

But at the base of it all, them there children just wanted to be together. Their parents had been giving them grief for grades that were slipping as an expense of spending so much time together, so there’s no doubt in my mind that both he and the doting Bonnie to his Clyde were caught up in that clingy neediness that seems to go along with teenage love.

Think back (strain if you have to, now): remember having to talk to your boo almost as often as you blinked, like hearing his voice was somehow connected to your vital stats and being without him any longer than it took to get through biology and English or — oh dear God no! a whole lunch period — might kill you?

I was all late and wrong because I didn’t fall in love until college, but I remember seeing people being plastered all over each other by my locker in high school, so I’m pretty sure somebody out there knows what I’m talking about.

Still, needy love doesn’t negate the responsibility they should shoulder for willfully failing to make any kind of contact with their parents, especially since his had just lost a child just one short year ago, which in turn led to a panicked manhunt for them. And it sure as heck doesn’t excuse them for taking his mother’s car to execute their stunt. If you’re going to pull a boy/girl Thelma and Louise routine, you can at least have the decency to hitch your star to a Greyhound bus? Especially with gas at $4 a gallon.

There’s nothing new under the sun, but you can’t convince teenagers of that. Under different circumstances, this might’ve made for a funny story to remind them of when they got older and had their own kids — maybe. But now, those two camps need to craft the biggest, baddest set of consequences to light upon these two lovebirds for being a big ol’ waste of everybody’s time.

So moms and company: how would you react in this situation? Should they be off the hook for running away or should they be punished?

Image via rinkjustice/Flickr

Read More