Calling Kentucky Teens "Bonnie & Clyde" Shows That Maybe It's Time To Stop Romanticizing Crime Sprees
Two Kentucky teenagers who are accused of stealing cars and writing bad checks in several states were found Sunday in Florida and arrested without incident, according to CNN. Dalton Hayes and Cheyenne Phillips were reported missing on Jan. 3 and were believed to be responsible for stealing three cars. Hayes is also wanted on charges of custodial interference, since Phillips is only 13. Norman Chaffins, the sheriff of the county where they teens are from in Kentucky, told the AP:
It's still not clear why the pair decided to run away or what their plan was.
What's also not clear is why media outlets started referring to the pair as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. That is, of course, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, two notorious Depression-era gangsters who were believed to be involved in multiple murders and other crimes. In case you haven't seen the movie, the real Bonnie and Clyde died in a hail of bullets when they were ambushed by law enforcement officers in 1932.
In a statement from the Grayson County Sheriff's office, there seems to be little that would suggest Hayes and Phillips were considered dangerous.
So, it's troubling to link the two couples, because it suggested both committed similar crimes and would suffer the same fate. While that might make for a more sensational headline, it's irresponsible journalism. It's not even really romanticizing the situation, it's just painfully lazy: Couldn't anyone come up with another comparison? But once one media outlet picks up and runs with it, others soon follow, and when the phrase starts turning up in Google search results, well, you know the rest.
Phillips and Hayes have enough problems in their immediate future. The Grayson County Sheriff is debating what charges the two should face. Hayes is being held in the Bay County jail, while Phillips was placed in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families, police told ABC News. Although they might not be home with their families right away, at least they're not on the run anymore.
Whatever the outcome of their bad choices, it would be nice to think that the two might be able to shed the Bonnie and Clyde comparisons eventually, and get back to the business of being teenagers.
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