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a call to sanity…(an unpopular opinion)

July 5, 2011

I am more than likely in a very small minority here, and I’m okay with that.  I may piss a few people off with what I am about to say, and I’m okay with that too.

I won’t tell anyone what to believe or how they should react to something, but as I sit and watch the world react to the Casey Anthony verdict I am struck by the level and quantity of hatred pouring out of otherwise rational human beings for a woman they have never met.

To be clear and plain, anyone who harms a child deserves punishment.  I support the death penalty in cases where a child has been killed with malevolent forethought and planning.

That said, we must remember that the law requires that a jury find the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and while it may appear to us that Casey Anthony was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, we, Joe Schmo public have not been privy to all of the evidence and testimony.

In fact, what we know of the case and all of the evidence and testimony is only that which is filtered to us via the media.  We may think that the media’s job is to inform us, but that is a fallacy.   The job of the media is to sell a story, and any story they sell is spun and biased and manipulated, even when the facts are simple.  How much more is something complicated manipulated before it is fed to us in sound bites and sensational headlines.

A jury in a case like this has an incredibly difficult job.  They have to tune out that media that is feeding us regurgitated information and half truths, ignore what friends and families and online orators prattle on about with only the media’s “facts” to guide their opinion making process, and focus on the facts and evidence as they are presented in the courtroom.

It is an unenviable position to be in.

With a case like this, involving the death of a small child, a mother, who to all public appearances seems guilty, family drama that would have daytime shock talk shows salivating and all of the hoopla that elevated this case to a national obsession, that job has to be all the more difficult.

None of us who did not sit in that courtroom for the whole trial will know every word spoken, nor can we examine the evidence.  We can not see the body language or follow the looks and reactions of those involved.

It doesn’t take much doubt.  Only a shadow of one.  Just the slightest hint that maybe…just maybe, this mother did not kill her child.  Obviously, that existed in the minds of these jurors.

So the jury decided that she was not guilty, but for the lesser charges of lying to investigators, and we, the average Joe Schmo public will have to live with that decision.  We can not change it.  We can not charge her and try her again.

But make no mistake thinking that Casey Anthony walks away from this an innocent person.  Regardless of this verdict, she is stained.  She will always be Casey Anthony. Her name and face has become synonymous with child murder in our country, probably the world.  She doesn’t waltz away from this and go back to whatever life she had.

In fact, her life from here is probably going to be very difficult.  Her neighbors will despise her.  Her own family will despise her.  Friends will be hard to come by. Likewise, I’m betting she’ll have trouble getting and keeping a job or a place to live.

For a while, the media will watch her like a hawk, waiting for her next screw up, waiting for her to do something to prove this jury was wrong to let her walk away.

I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry for her.  In all honesty, judging purely on the evidence provided to me by the biased and self-serving media, I think she probably did kill that child.

What I am thinking about though is the number of people in my life who allow their hearts to fill with hatred for another human being, even one such as Casey Anthony, and by extension, express disgust and hatred at the people tasked with determining her fate.

Hate offers us nothing.  It poisons us.  It leaches into our souls and taints us.  I see so much of it pouring out of my friends and others on twitter and facebook that I find myself wanting to step away.

I understand how so many have come to be invested in this one child and her mother, and why we as a society want to rage at what we see as a miscarriage of justice…but the vehement hatred for Casey Anthony I see makes no sense to me.  It serves no purpose but to bring us more pain.

Yes, our justice system is clunky and slow, it is skewed and in some ways flat out broken.  Yes, I think that Casey Anthony likely killed her daughter.  But I do not believe she “got away with it” because that would imply that there will be no ramifications.

Yes, it’s a tragedy.  But we won’t fix it by screaming “fry the bitch”.  We won’t fix it.  We can only hope that we can prevent the next one.  And the only way we do that is by paying attention and stepping in and getting involved…not sitting in our computer chairs raging at the screen, spewing hatred at a woman we will never meet.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2011 8:16 pm

    Thank you for voicing your unpopular opinion. I’ve been thinking similar thoughts, and it’s a relief to see something about this case today other than endless, hateful invective.

  2. Sam permalink
    July 5, 2011 8:37 pm

    ((((hugs you)))) I agree with you on a lot of points, but I watched the entire trial (sad statement on the state of my life to be true) – I watched her behavior and her lawyers and was struck with how evil? sly? no, *sneaky* they both were. Let’s blame anyone and everyone else of anything we can think of and damn the consequences. That (and the 31 day behavior, the lies, and the fact that Cindy let the cat out of the bag with the 911 phonecall, not Casey, among many other things) and I have absolutely not doubt in my mind that she killed Caylee.

    No, I don’t think it was intentional. I don’t think she set out in her mind to kill her child. But yes I believe Casey killed her daughter. Do I think she should have been found guilty of murder, no – but definitely the lesser charges to be sure.

    ::shrug:: I watched the trial, I listened to the witnesses, the stories, the changes in direction by the Defense while the Prosecution told you their theory and stuck to it. I think she’s guilty of manslaughter, not murder, but definitely of the lesser aggrivated child abuse because I do think she was drugging Caylee with Chloroform to keep her sleeping while she went out to party.

    I think she is a spoiled, selfish, sociopathic personality who is only intrested in what she can get or get away with. I think the moment the nurse brought baby Caylee into that hospital room and gave her to Cindy it was all over for Casey. From that moment any motherly sentiment that may have overcome Casey’s previous carefree lifestyle was crushed by the simple fact that her mother was the first to hold, bond, and care for Caylee.

    I don’t hate her. I do think her life for the next few years at least is going to be a living hell – if she lives that long, because, like you said, a lot of people DO hate her. That said, I think the mass public hatred for her is the result of her own lies and sneaky character – because if it *had* been an accident, or even if she had just come forward from the beginning, her lies wouldn’t be coming back to bite her in the court of public opinion. If she had only lived those 31 days above board and honestly instead of sneaking around, lying to everyone, etc, she wouldn’t be facing such a fury of public opinion now.

    She may be innocent. I personally don’t think she is, but now we’ll never know. And Casey herself will now have to deal with the hurt her lies have cause her mother and father on top of the death of her child. She will have to deal with those neighbors, those prospective employers, nad her own family with everyone knowing – or thinking they know – who she is and what she has done.

    (((hugs you))) Just my two cents, for whatever it might be worth.

  3. July 11, 2011 2:17 pm

    I have a simple rule, if Nancy Grace covers the topic, I refuse to pay attention. As I see it with the constant news stream of sensationalized media events we have started to view these stories like sporting events, while playing armchair quarterback while having the advantage of hindsight. There are ten people who I can only hope paid the utmost attention to the trial and made a decision based on the evidence presented. Though it may be flawed, it is the best system of justice we have. My opinion of her guilt or her innocence (or anyone but those ten jurors) is pointless to the facts, and the fact is the jury found her not guilty.

    Without a confession we rarely ever “know” the “truth” and we have to rely on our system of deciding what the “truth” is. What scares me are the people who think they “know” the truth from watching TV. Point in case, she could be a confirmed liar, deceitful mother, horrible parent with lawyers who were sneaky, shifty bottom feeders that blame anyone else but her and that still wouldn’t prove her guilt. That takes actual evidence, and a jury of ten peers who agree.

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