Last weekend, The Associated Press moved a story of nearly 80 inches and cleverly titled "The Crime that Binds."
The AP gave the tale of epic length this headline: "A modern-day 'Bonnie and Clyde' tale of loot and love."
As a wire service, The Associated Press delivers some wonderful reports from around the world, ranging from the biggest international stories to the biggest domestic stories, as well as great stories about business, sports, lifestyle issues and human interest features.
"The Crime that Binds" ostensibly fits into that last category mentioned, human interest stories.
It's unfortunate, however, that The AP picked this subject for such a lengthy report.
It isn't that the story is boring; rather, it's eloquently crafted by an AP national writer. It's the premise of the story that's all wrong, and sends a lousy message.
The main characters, Craig Pritchert and Nova Guthrie, have (if we're to believe them) a magical love. It sounds too good (or, as all tragedies, too good/bad) to be true. In fact, it might even make star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet forget about their own troubles for a few minutes.
But even if this story of Pritchert and Guthrie is true, there are a lot of wonderful love stories out there that don't carry the excess baggage. A couple times a year, you'll see in our small, hometown newspaper anniversaries for couples married 50 years, 60 years, or even beyond. Those love stories, though, aren't steeped in the romance of Bonnie and Clyde -- or Craig and Nova. Rather, the local folks usually are solid husband-and-wife teams who have and hold, love and cherish, take care of each other in sickness and in health and do it all within the boundaries of the law.
As a society, we glorify those who are way outside the lines. And that's what The AP story on these two does.
But if Pritchert and Guthrie are guilty of the serious crimes charged against them, that's nothing that deserves praise. There were a lot of innocent people victimized by Bonnie and Clyde who probably spent at least part of the rest of their lives in fear, wondering when or where the next machine-gun toting bandit would wander along. Likewise, Pritchert and Guthrie -- if they're guilty -- undoubtedly terrorized people. What about the stories of victims? The AP report doesn't touch on that.
Meantime, if Pritchert and Guthrie are innocent, it's a nice story, no more, no less -- not the love of the century, as it's made out to be.
After all, Pritchert is only 42, while Guthrie is only 30. Many area residents who are still happily wed were married long before Guthrie even was born.
"Love Story" this ain't. And never forget: Bonnie and Clyde used real bullets, and were torn to shreds by the same.
Stick to the facts and skip the sap.