Red Faced and Angry: 7 Things the Casey Anthony Trial and Verdict Should Tell You
By Wanda Fleming on July 12, 2011
1. Evil Exists. It always has; it still does. What actually happened to Caylee Anthony is a mystery, but this is not. A child barely out of infancy lost her life at negligent or murderous hands. Another human being packaged her up and left her body in woods to decompose, and it did. Ravaged by maggots, flies and woodland animals, Caylee was ultimately treated like garbage. Welcome to evil.
2. We Watch too Much Junk Television, and it dangerously makes us believe we are experts. But there is a difference between expertise and opinion. Having an opinion does not make you an expert. Having an opinion merely makes you opinionated.
3. Mob Justice is More about Mob and Less about Justice. It's about going emotionally beserk crazy because you're in a crowd and suddenly you feel justified and powerful. The sight of angry red-faced citizens screaming over this case has given me pause. Indeed, it evokes images of villagers coming down the road to tar and feather, to hang up by a noose, to beat the life out of the "witch", the black man, the assumed child predator.
Right or wrong, guilty or not, we are a land of laws. No umbrage at, nor perceived insult from a verdict makes that any less so. In the case of Miss Anthony, here's a tip Floridians, contact your legislators about laws on reporting missing children so a parent is not allowed to wait 31 entire days to report a missing two year old.
4. It's Easy to Care about a Stranger. We care so much about strangers and so little about our own neighbors and relatives. Each year in our society, children are bullied, abused, mistreated, and used for adult sexual gratification. One of them is someone that you may know. The visceral responses to the Anthony case belies the fact that most people are not engaged as volunteers, mentors or anything but onlookers in assisting children in their own communities. Caring about what happened to Caylee is noble enough, but Caylee is dead. If we cry for her, can we cry for a child who can still be saved? Can we do more than cry; can we actively assist one who is still here?
5. We are Lurid, and our Thirst for the Sensational is Damning. There was something eerie about the Anthony case, and it had nothing to do with the crime being tried. It had to do with the spectators fighting for places in the ticket lines, like showing up at the Colosseum to watch lions devouring slaves. It had to do with the sense that for some people, watching the gory, the misfortune and damaged unraveling lives of others is popcorn bucket worthy and worth trampeling another to get a front row seat.
6. We are the Jurors. I have sat on juries. But this trial is a poignant and vital reminder. Juries do not base their decisions on the pontificating of Nancy Grace, Geraldo and Dr. Phil. My experience from being called to service every two years and speaking with potential and chosen jurors, is that they take the job very seriously..yes..often in a dour, foreboding "Oh Dear God, Please Don't Pick Me"sort of way.
This Spring, I went downtown for jury duty and was struck by one thing--reverent silence. In a world run over by cell phones, Ipods, and laptops, where some humans seem now incapable of giving you their fullest attention for more than one second, 98 adults sat in a court room as the judge instructed us to the voire dire proceedings. Not a single person texted, chit chatted, dozed or looked around aimlessly. We all sat like tin soldiers. I believe that jurors take their jobs seriously. They are not imbeciles, druggies and losers as one TV person was purported to have said of the Anthony jurors. What's more they are privy to intimate details that you are not.
7. Babies are not for the Hedonistic. Finally, we need to stop glorifying babies, baby making and toting and dragging them about as though they are luggage, show dogs, or dolls to be dressed up. Childbearing is a great responsibility, child rearing even greater. In a society as medically and educationally advanced as ours, women have no business bearing children which they do not wish to honestly and assiduously care for. If you want to party, party on. If you want to slut around, slut around. But let us impart to children early and strenuously that a hedonistic life, and infants do not mix. Having children if you have no true interest in-- or desire to care for another life often leads to grave irrevocable tragedy.
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