Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Verdict

Yesterday afternoon is seemed that every person between the ages of 18 and 75 and stay-at-home mom's everywhere were glued to their television sets. Emotions ran high, female television hosts were crying live on the air, and everyone had an opinion. If one didn't know better this could have been a landmark civil or human rights act. One might have thought we had found the definitive cure for cancer. Maybe OJ had gotten re-aquainted with his old white Bronco. It all turned out to be none of the above actually. Instead of worrying about our children's education in such a manner, real and meaningful employment, the national debt or other real issue we bind ourselves together in a court case involving people no one had ever heard of even a month ago. Some young mother had been accused of killing her small child and covering it up. Despite what mass public opinion was the jury found this young lady, Casey Anthony, not-guilty of murder in a Florida courtroom. In that same amount of time more than 1,000 children in Africa died due to hunger and disease caused by war and poverty.

If you can't tell from my opening statement, I hadn't followed more than 5 seconds of this trial until the moment yesterday afternoon (apparently when the verdict was read) that my Facebook news-feed absolutely exploded with hatred, outrage and disgust. "What the hell just happened?" Happened to be my immediate response. The only way I realized what on earth anyone was going on about was by going to my local TV news homepage and recognizing a picture of the acquitted.

"Have you been living under a rock?!?" One may very well ask me. That all depends on your perspective. I don't like drama, daytime TV nor courtroom television. I don't like watching JerseyShore/Kardashian-style "reality" TV. I'm more of an ESPN/Travel Channel/History Channel/Discovery Channel kind of guy. If it's what you like, it's what you like. Not that only people who love JerseyShore like watching stuff like that trial.

So with all that said, I will give you my one take on the topic. Was justice served? Maybe and maybe not. As you know by now I didn't watch a moment of the coverage nor read more than a single sentence about it, before or after the verdict. The best explanation I can give for why she was acquitted was, of all things, geographical. Follow me on this. Florida is a death-penalty state, and they certainly take pride in executing (ahem -pun- ahem) their policies. As we know, innocent people have been sentenced to death and their execution carried out. In a case such as this that jury likely had that in mind. A Florida jury will be much more methodical and apprehensive to convict someone of first degree murder than would a Michigan jury, based solely on the weight of the implications of their verdict. In Michigan, I am confident she would have been found guilty because we are not a capital punishment state. If that jury had even an ounce of doubt, or if something in the prosecution's case wasn't 110% air-tight, that jury will hesitate and double-clutch the "death" decision (if they are being responsible with the power vested in them by the court-system). A little girl is dead, whether by cold-blooded murder or neglegance you and I will probably never know. If Casey Anthony is indeed guilty she will be judged in the end by her creator, that we can be sure of. That is my only explanation for why the verdict was decided in such a way.

Many folks are sickened by the outcome yesterday and emotions obviously were high, even on the internet. Like much of our attention to this instance, this case will soon fade into the annals of the history of our popular culture. We so smother and exhaust ourselves with these real-life soap-operas that we blind ourselves to the greater issues in our world which sadly have always been and continue to exist. If we however took the same emotion and outrage made visible for something like this and transferred it to say, global human rights, energy and efficiency, truth in government and economical security we could really accomplish some things beyond the water-cooler.

Good luck.

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