I had not planned on writing about Casey Anthony, I really hadn't. I remember the hearing about this horrific crime and horrible tragedy of Caylee's death a few years ago; back then, I still had network and cable TV. A pretty young (and white) mom and her adorable toddler, their faces splashed all over the news. It was a disturbing story.
I hadn't really given it any thought since then until I started noticing it trending in on my Twitter home feed, among many of you, in the last few weeks. Since we only have internet TV at home, I didn't have a steady stream of news coverage waiting for me. Since I get most of my news on my commute to and from work, I didn't really get much more as NPR didn't have much to say about the trial. So I gleaned little bits and pieces from Twitter. I didn't even bother to read about it further online.
After the verdict was read on Tuesday, Twitter basically exploded. And even with my very limited knowledge of the case and trial proceedings, I was saddened and disturbed.
And that's where my commentary on the whole mess ends. It's a sad and disturbing story - that's it. I don't fault the jurors - they were fulfilling their civic duty. If anything, the fault lies with the prosecution; they failed to meet the burden of proof. It mirrors in many ways the very disturbing "Rape Cops" court case that wrapped up last month in New York.
Was justice served in either case? Perhaps not. But the judicial process was honored. (Danielle at Kitten a Go-Go has some rather excellent commentary on this thought, in her post The Casey Anthony Verdict: One Lawyer's Perspective.)
And... that's it. End of story.
Or is it?
Jjiraffe at Too Many Fish to Fry has an excellent post on her thoughts about the Casey Anthony trial. I particularly appreciated her viewpoint as she, like me, hadn't really followed the trial at all. On the other hand, Katie of from IF to when was my complete opposite. She was obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial, she admits. When the verdict was read, she was stunned.
Both are ALI community bloggers and we all shared the same thought, no matter how much or how little we were invested in this case:
It's not fair. It's just not fucking fair. She (said with judgment, disdain, and disgust) got to have a child but we don't??
For me, as I noted in my comment on Jjiraffe's post, it's not so much the unfairness as it is trying to process a very disturbing truth: how can a mother kill her own child?
This is not an isolated narrative, either. In fact, it just played out here in the New England region just two months ago. A mother from Texas drove to Maine and killed her 6-year-old son. Six. Years. Old. I just can't wrap my brain around it. But there have been many Casey Anthonys. We just used to call them Susan Smiths before this latest trial.
Or La Llorona.
It's unnatural - a literal crime against nature. It's sick. It's an archetypal narrative that rocks us to the core that makes for salacious storytelling when it's in fictional form and horrifies us when we see it actually play out in real life.
That's why the Casey Anthony trial has sparked the outrage that it has: because this unnatural crime deserves justice - this forsaken mother must pay for her crimes.
Except this time, the American judicial system got in the way.
I thought my commentary was over, but it's not. I have one more thing to add. As Twitter blew up, so did my Facebook feed. I need to give my friend Jessa some recognition too, because her Facebook status was one of the most well-said:
While I'm thankful the onus of official judgment didn't rest on my shoulders, I have to say I'm disappointed by the verdict. Any mother who doesn't report her child missing for 31 days and the child is subsequently found dead should at the very least be found guilty of manslaughter.
No matter how the evidence was shown at this trial, this is the one fact about the whole Casey Anthony case that disturbs me as equally as the idea of a mother killing her own child. It's the one fact that's been nagging at me.
Verdict aside, not reporting your two year-old child missing for a month is tantamount to child abuse.
I think what many of us have forgotten in our outrage over Casey Anthony's trial is the fact that a child is dead.
Nearly five children die every day in America from abuse and neglect. In 2009, an estimated 1,770 children died from abuse in the United States (source). We can let Caylee become another statistic or we can educate ourselves and channel our outrage into advocacy.
Take a minute to check out Childhelp, a national non-profit focused on providing support and resources for victims of child abuse and neglect. Find out what you can do to help.
How are you processing all of this after the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial?