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The View From Where You Stand

When Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her daughter Caylee, my heart skipped a beat and I immediately felt angry.  When it was announced that she was found not guilty of even manslaughter and child neglect, I was enraged.  Casey did a great job of portraying herself as a selfish woman who was not prepared to raise a child and who was not quite ready to grow up and accept the responsibilities of adulthood.  The media overwhelmed the public with all the juicy details of Casey’s private life; incriminating photos, rumors from friends, facts from family members and employers.  Casey easily became one of the most hated women in this country.

After the verdict was handed down and Casey was to become a free woman, the collective rage of the public was palpable.  People needed someone to blame.  The court found Casey to be blameless in the eyes of the law, save for lying to law enforcement, and we had been blaming her all along anyway.  The natural scapegoats were the jurors assigned to this trial.  People were outraged that this group of 12 let a murderer walk away after killing a child.  How could they come to such a decision when it was obvious to US that she killed her baby?  These people truly were clueless, heartless bastards.

Jurors have been banned from restaurants, insulted and threatened online, and shunned by family members. One woman quit her job and moved out of Florida because she was afraid for her life.  Nearly every day I check the news websites, there is a story on a juror and the hardships they now face for being associated with this trial.  The hatred and anger that should be reserved for other parties has now landed solely on the shoulders of these jurors.

Personally, I was outraged at the verdict and initially couldn’t understand why she was acquitted of murder and not charged with manslaughter or neglect.  That being said, it’s understandable that Casey was allowed to walk free.  An anonymous juror told People Magazine that the vote to convict Casey of lying to the police was easily 12-0, while the vote to convict her of murder went from 10-2 to acquit to all voting for acquittal after 30 minutes.  The manslaughter charge went from a split decision, to 11-1 to acquit, and finally to 12-0 to acquit in what was called a very difficult decision.  Every single juror interview I have read or seen has included a variation of the statement “I wish we could have convicted her, but the evidence just wasn’t there.”  That may sound like a cop-out to many of us who have had full internet and TV access throughout the trial, but it makes perfect sense to the sequestered jury who had to go solely off of the evidence provided by the prosecution and the defense.  Every single one of those jurors could have thought Casey was a murdering cold-hearted sorry excuse for a parent, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing when it comes time to handing down a verdict.  The only thing that matters is what was presented to them in court, and what was presented was a very weak case by the prosecution.

If we are going to be angry, let’s get angry at the prosecution for not presenting a better case.  Even better, let’s be angry that a small child lost her life.  Let’s get mad over the fact that it took far too long for Caylee to be reported missing because no one seemed to care enough to speak up.  Let’s be angry that a murderer, whether it’s Casey or someone else, is walking free after committing such a vile act.  I truly hope that this case serves as a learning experience for the prosecuting team and that next time around, they are able to build a solid case that finds the guilty party guilty and provides proper punishment.  I also hope that people refocus a bit and stop blaming the jury for doing the only thing they could have done, handing down a not guilty verdict while knowing the public would hate them for it.  These people performed their civic duty to the best of their ability and don’t deserve this backlash of anger and hatred.  Let them move on.

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Disposable Children

For the past couple of months, I’ve found myself caught up with the Casey Anthony trial.  For those not paying attention or who don’t care, she’s accused of killing her almost 3 year old daughter, Caylee.  She’s maintaining her innocence and tried to blame her daughter’s death on a fictional nanny and an accidental drowning in her parent’s swimming pool.  The trial has been going on for a while now and every day I’m at work I can’t help read nearly every news story I see about it.

From what I’ve read, I’m certain that she did kill her daughter and carelessly disposed of her body.  I believe the accusations that she did so because she felt her daughter was holding her back from leading a “normal” life, which is one thing the prosecution is trying to prove by showing her participation in hot body contests immediately after her daughter’s disappearance.  I believe it 100% because in a small way, I understand what Casey felt.

Obviously you don’t harm or kill your kid, or anyone for that matter, regardless of how bad you think your situation is.  That being said, if Casey felt trapped, I get it.  I was a single mom too and I remember feeling stressed out due to my parents and their judgmental attitude towards me and the things I wanted to do.  I get how she was frustrated by not being able to go out and party as she used to because she has a responsibility at home.  I get the depression a new mom feels, even to the point where some mothers want to throw their kid out a window to make it stop crying or to get some sleep.  It’s a bitch when you have a kid at a point in your life when you’re not yet ready to fully grow up.

Most people in that kind of situation, including myself, find ways to deal with it.  I sacrificed most of my nights out and instead invited people over so I could have time cutting up with friends while my son slept.  I had to quit going to 2 concerts a month and be very picky about which ones I wanted to attend.  Even if you have the greatest baby sitter in the world, you just can’t live like you used to once there’s a baby in the house.  It changes everything.

In Casey’s case, I think she felt overwhelmed and desperately wanted a way out.  Being one of the many who think she’s guilty, I have to wonder why in the hell she didn’t just have an abortion.  Even if you’re totally against abortion, you can’t tell me it would have been a worse option than killing a toddler by suffocating her and then dumping her in the woods.

I understand a lot of what Casey must have felt.  I sympathize with her.  I also hope that jury finds her guilty of first degree murder and whatever else they can tack on and I hope she received the maximum allowed sentence.  As a mom, you’re allowed to get pissed off and frustrated at your kids, you’re even allowed to imagine how great life would be without them.  But there’s a line, and it’s not even a thin line, more like a brick wall that you have to climb in order to get to the extremes of Casey and other parents who do this kind of thing.  There are plenty of opportunities to quit climbing and jump back down to sanity.  Once you’re over that wall, you’re lost to this world.

I wish I could end this with a brilliant solution, but I’m fully lost on this one.  My son has kept me up at night for weeks on end, stressed me out with bad behavior, frightened me with hospital visits, murdered my social life in a lot of ways, contributed to past weight gain, taken away a “normal” beginning to marriage, and has got me saying “potty” to adults.  He has pooped in the bathtub.  And peed on me.  He has the worse selective hearing in the world.  He uses up a huge chunk of my paycheck.  He spilled water on the bathroom floor one day and tried to clean it with a tablet you put in the toilet tank, which dyed the floor blue and took me an hour to clean up.  Honestly, he can be a pain in the ass.

Still, a hug from him speaks volumes, as does hearing his little voice tell me he loves me.  I look in his eyes and see a world of opportunity ahead of him.  Seeing him grow and develop new talents and quirks is amazing, I love the kid more than I can say.  Not even with a gun to my head could I ever harm that little boy.  Someone please explain to me why the fuck this world is so filled with people who can, because I just don’t get it.

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