Throughout this entire trial I’ve been asking myself, “Why this one? Why are we so invested in this one story?” There are kids that go missing all over the country, all the time. None of them garner this kind of attention.
Is it because the mother and child are white and attractive? Is it because the case details are so sordid? Is it because it started as a big missing person mystery that was all over the news from Day One?
I think it’s a combination of those things in addition to the biggest factor; that being that the trial was on TV, due to Florida state law permitting cameras in the courtroom. The whole thing has played out in the food courts, company cafeterias and living rooms across the nation. Cable news is having a veritable Trial Orgy over this tragedy, further fueling our addiction.
This is the ultimate in ‘reality TV.’ Unfortunately, we’re used to reality TV that is practically as scripted as any other TV drama. (I consider researching various “contestants” and putting those with specific characteristics together in pressure situations in order to gain the desired result, an indirect form of scripting. It’s the same, really, only this way TV writers aren’t getting paid, probably as payback for going on strike a couple years ago.) But the trick here is that sometimes, despite what all the telltale signs and “expert” analysis say, we get an unexpected result.
As I’m sure you know, Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year old daughter Caylee this week and was found guilty only on 4 misdemeanor counts of lying to the police. Today she was given the maximum sentence of one year for each count, which basically amounts to ‘time served.’ She gets out next Wednesday.
Americans are losing their fucking minds over this acquittal. In the last 2 days, I’ve read about jurors are getting threatened, people asking if the judge can set aside the verdict, people creating hate-filled Casey Anthony Facebook sites with thousands of people “liking” them, and untold ugly interviews with random people on the street.
It’s funny how everyone is an expert now. Doesn’t matter what the issue is… During the BP oil spill, everyone was chiming in on who was at fault. Lately, everyone is an expert on the economy, from how to lower the debt, to the effectiveness of the stimulus package. And this week, everyone is a legal expert. I mean, we hear the talking heads on TV telling us their expert opinions and lacking much in the way of critical thinking skills, we lap it right up and spit it out at our friends and neighbors.
I want to blame TV for this, but the people on TV are doing what they’re paid to do. If you think they’re being paid to entertain, educate and enlighten us, you’re wrong. The only thing they’re paid to do is to keep you watching. That’s it. And that goes double for cable because unlike over-the-air networks, neither the FCC nor the government regulates content. (Hence all the boob action on HBO and Showtime.) The only regulation on cable content is the free market and fear of public reprisals. They don’t care how what they say affects you; they just want you to stay tuned after the break. That’s what’s important: eyeballs on the ads. If thoughtful, reasonable, educated programming got big ratings, that’s what we’d see. Sadly, it doesn’t. Sensationalism and cheap thrills keep us glued to the tube so we remain up to our armpits in sex, blood and trash-TV.
What happened here is that people were robbed of the chance to see the Bad Mother get punished, so naturally they’re pissed. This country loves punishment, especially when it’s handed out to uppity young women. (See Lohan, Lindsey, Spears, Brittany and Hilton, Paris.) People want “justice for Caylee,” but I’m sure that whatever dimension Caylee is in, she is not obsessing about “justice.” But the ugliness here in this dimension is off the scale.
It was probably a good idea to keep Ms. Anthony in jail another week, if only so they can choreograph a safe exit. If they were to have turned her loose right after the hearing, the mob outside, whipped up to a feeding frenzy by vultures like Nancy Grace and her kind, would have torn her apart.
That’s American as apple pie, isn’t it? A lynch mob. People love to proclaim how this is the greatest country on earth because of our freedom and justice and moral values. But as soon as they get a court decision they don’t like, it goes directly to mob rule. Trial by pitchfork. What Constitution? Reasonable doubt? Not when it gets in the way of our bloodlust…
Now, I didn’t follow this trial at all, save for the headlines that appeared on my homepage or stuff I overheard on TV when I was doing something else. But the essentials of the case have been all over the news this week and I’ll tell you something. I will not fault that jury; they did their job. They ruled on the facts that were presented, just like they were supposed to. They didn’t succumb to casting a guilty vote just so that someone could pay and the rest of us could get our pound of flesh.
When you’re considering a possible death sentence, “she probably did it” is just not good enough. There wasn’t a single shred of evidence that tied Casey Anthony to the killing.
The cover-up? Oh hell yeah, but she wasn’t being tried on cover-up charges; she was tried for murder.
I don’t think the principals involved had enough collective brainpower to pull off what could have been “the perfect crime.” And assuming the girl was murdered, it would have been the perfect crime, if only Mommy Dearest had enough sense to not be seen in bars looking like she’s celebrating. Or come up with some kind of marginally plausible story to explain her daughter’s disappearance…
I agree that the “swimming accident” story is bogus and completely unbelievable. But perhaps it was some other accident, like one where the mother wasn’t so uninvolved? Perhaps she was hung over one morning and Caylee wouldn’t stop squawking, so she put some tape over her mouth. And maybe the kid had a stuffy nose and suffocated when Mommy fell back to sleep. It’s feasible that the mother might panic and in a fit of self-preservation, attempt to make it all go away. To me, I think something like that is more likely than either the prosecution or defense’s stories, but I’ll be the first to admit… I don’t know. And neither does anyone else unless they were there.
Perhaps she could have been charged with child abuse, or negligent homicide, or what have you, but I don’t see where you convict and sentence someone to death for an accident born out of stupidity.
Like I said, I don’t have the answers. This story is a tragedy all the way around. Maybe the American Greek Chorus will get their closure when karma comes around and bites Ms. Anthony in the near future.
I don’t see her living another 5 years. Face it; her life is over. She’s a high school dropout with no particularly marketable skills, so with this kind of rep, she’s practically unemployable. Even Vivid Video pulled their offer to put her in a porno.
Maybe she’ll take up with some fame-hungry dude that thinks he can “straighten her out” with the back of his hand and before long, she’ll be the one in the trunk of a car.
Personally, I think one of those nuts that thinks killing abortion doctors is a good idea will take a shot at her. If neither of those happens, I think she’ll be dead from drugs, alcohol or her own hand.
Either way, Casey Anthony received a life sentence and a death sentence at the same time…
It seems to be the same sentence that little Caylee got as well. May she rest in peace.