By now nearly everyone who hasn’t been living in the far-flung hills of Appalachia has heard of Casey Anthony and her deceased 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Just in case you’re one of those hill-folk here’s a rundown: In 2007 the girl turned up missing. Casey didn’t report the child as missing for a month. Caylee’s remains were found a while later after intensive searches by volunteers. Lots of forensic evidence was examined, including ‘material’ from her daughter and a horrible smell in the trunk of Casey’s car. Casey spent several years in jail awaiting trial, and when she finally went to trial a media circus formed. The trial was hyped to high heaven. CNN’s “bitchin’ babes” Nancy Grace and Jane Velez Mitchell yammered constantly about the case for several years. When the trial began they went into a rabid-dog frenzy over every detail. You couldn’t turn to the network without seeing some Casey/Caylee bulletin or announcement of ‘new information.’ CNN truly earned the nickname ‘Chicken Noodle News.’ You know–all nutrition-less filler and little real meat, just like the product of a certain well-known old-line American soup maker whose name begins with a “C.”
The trial finally concluded with verdicts of “not guilty” for each of the three counts; the only things that could be pinned to Casey were four counts of lying to the police. She was sentenced to four years, one year on each count, from which her time served was subtracted as well as the traditional “time off for good behavior.” The net result was that Casey was released a little over a week later.
Two weekends ago she was released. The press camped out at the jail to cover every exciting detail of her ex-perp walk. The end result was a quick trip by Casey from the jail to a waiting SUV, wearing a serious face until she got into the vehicle. A reporter got a picture of her as she entered wearing a smile of relief; afterward she was driven off. A news chopper tried unsuccessfully to follow her but was given the slip in the darkness. The release of her smiling image set the dogs off again, with all manner of regular folk and the media commenting nastily on why she was smiling and how sick they all felt at her seeming happiness.
You’d think it was all over, and could be forgiven for thinking so if you were a rational person. The news channels kept replaying the same thirty-seconds of Casey leaving the jail ad nauseaum the following day, with CNN’s reporters staying on-scene for hours after the non-event all the while discussing…what? The same few facts, conjecture, et cetera. As of today literally EVERYBODY is playing Where’s Waldo? and trying to find out where Casey went to.
My message to all the news outlets: STFU and move on!
Having said that, let me state the obvious: I think Caylee’s story was a tragedy. However, the public was not made privy to the details of the case; twelve jurors were. It was their job to decide whether or not the woman was guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt. Heard that before? It’s one of the basic tenets of our judicial system in this country. Given the evidence that was presented to them, they concluded that there wasn’t enough tangible evidence to lock her away or take her life. Despite her trial by media in which the woman was summarily condemned, the courts found her not guilty of the charges.
It’s all over now. Justice may not have been served by the legal system (at least according to all the armchair lawyers) but that’s how it goes in this country. Her life from this point forward, if you could call it that, will not be easy. She’ll be constantly recognized wherever she goes, and will not live a peaceful existence as if nothing ever happened. She’ll probably be spit upon, personally attacked, harassed and worse. She’ll be lucky if some nutjob with a retribution complex doesn’t kill her in the first year of her freedom. She’ll be practically unemployable, at least in any capacity where she deals with the public. She alienated her family (and probably most of her friends) so she’ll lead an isolated existence. Most, if not all, of these points could still be applied to her if she’d been given life in prison; the future she now faces in many ways is more unbearable than prison.
Let’s let this woman and the particulars of her case fade into the past and move on, shall we? The best we can hope for, if she was truly guilty, is a fate similar to OJ Simpson’s. Karma’s a bitch, and maybe she’ll end up in prison for something completely unrelated. Like it or not that may be the best that society’s collective rage can hope for.