Human beings are the only living beings that feel the need to seek revenge. More often than not, that quest for vengeance clouds our collective judgement and prevents us from objectively observing. The twelve jurors who decided this case were sequestered and heard none of what the punditry had to say about the case and were instructed to not take into account emotion when ingesting the evidence; they simply heard the facts as they were presented in court, saw the pieces of evidence as they were presented in court, and were left to make their assessment of the case the way that we all should—devoid of pontification and subjective, sensationalist narratives. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a story here. There’s money to be made on TV ratings and advertising. Nancy Grace can bask in her self-righteousness while speaking. very. slowly. and. softly. to. emphasize. the. gravity. of. the. situation. Preying on the emotions of consumers is a tactic as old as time and no one has mastered it quite the way Nancy Grace and the sensationalist machine at HLN have.
Observing this case devoid of emotion, I cannot connect the dots to link Casey Anthony or any negligent behavior on her behalf to be the direct cause of Caylee Anthony’s death. Sure, she’s a liar, a “slut”, and a party girl. Being a liar, a slut, and a party girl does not prove someone a murderer. The common theme I’ve heard while taking in the non-stop coverage with respect to the verdict is, “Then who killed Caylee?” Unfortunately, for the purposes of the trial at hand, that question is irrelevant. The only question this jury was charged with answering was, “Does the evidence as presented to you prove beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt that Casey Anthony murdered or was responsible for the death of Caylee Anthony?”
To be sure, this is not as clear cut of a case as Nancy Grace, Vinny Politan, or Mike Brooks would have you believe. We are not talking about the Cleavers here; we are talking about a tragically dysfunctional family that is cloaked in lies and deception. It’s unfortunate that Caylee Anthony was used as a vehicle to feed the ego and wallet of those at HLN. The irony of all of this is that Nancy Grace authored a book titled Objection!: How High-Priced Defense Attorneys, Celebrity Defendants, and a 24/7 Media Have Hijacked Our Criminal Justice System. Somehow, though, what she does nightly on HLN is not a hijacking of the criminal justice system? HLN and the constant media coverage of this case spoiled an entire county’s jury pool forcing jurors to be carted in from nearby Pinella’s County.
A two-year-old girl died senselessly and was carelessly disposed of, there is no doubting that. It is very painful and heart-wrenching. A life was lost far too early under circumstances that no one deserves, certainly not someone as innocent as Caylee Anthony.
Through all of this, I learned a lot more about those covering this trial and the general public than I did about Casey Anthony or the Anthony family. The thirst for vengeance can not be quenched by constitutional justice. If someone doesn’t die for what we think is right then we can’t perceive justice served. Maybe it’s time we rethink our conception of justice.
Image Credit: Mike Essl