Three women in the news lately - "Leash Lady" Lynndie England, Martha Stewart, and "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks seem to me to have some things in common: a disconnect from normal standards of behavior and a failure of character by not assuming full, active, conscious responsibility for their own actions and the effects of those actions on other human beings. I follow their stories hoping to see some genuine acknowledgement by each of them of the damages each has created, but I have yet to see it.
This is certainly not unique to them - we all know people very well in our own lives with these same characteristics. It's an interesting morality play taking place on the media stage, however.
Martha, it seems, after completing her prison time and house arrest sentence, will only be parlaying her increased notoriety into more business deals, not living with the consequences of felony convictions that mere mortals must. Lynndie faces 11 years in prison, probably serving in part as a scapegoat for negligence of her higher-ups. Jennifer may receive a felony charge of false statements and may be required to deal with the $40,000 - $60,000 costs of the needless search for her.
We athletes like to think that our training and commitment carry with it some kind of moral discipline, but I don't think that there is a crossover effect. Workouts simply help make you more physically fit - they don' t make you a better person or more ethically or morally fit.
Case in point (from www.marathonguide.com):
|Chicago Marathon |
|Wilbanks, Jennifer (F29)||4:26:38||15616||4602 / 1124||F25-29||4:16:47||Gainesville, GA|
Jennifer must have carefully planned and prepared for her marathon in Chicago in 2002 just as carefully as she planned her bus trip to Albuquerque and her kidnapping hoax. Perhaps her particular skills and personality traits served both purposes.