Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Casey Anthony, the media, American culture

I just watched a half-hour of televised coverage of the Casey Anthony verdict (for those of you who have been vacationing on Saturn, she's the young mother who was accused of murdering her 3 year old daughter in Florida.) Oh my, where do I begin?

The verdict was Not Guilty of murder/Homicide/Manslaughter, but Guilty of giving false info to a police officer, 3 counts. It seems the immediate response to that on social media & television is that this is a miscarriage of justice, and Casey Anthony should have been convicted.

I can't know what was in the jury's minds, but I can tell you I have had doubts about Casey's guilt all along. I feel she had guilty knowledge, I feel she knows who the murderer is, but honestly with the cast of family characters and the accusations of abuse in that family, it's hard to come to any conclusion about Casey except that she's complicit in the coverup, clearly screwed up and a horrible mother. And those flaws do not a murder conviction make. But for argument's sake, let's assume she is guilty.

What is most troubling to me is, if we believe the popular theory that Casey killed that toddler because being a mother was cramping her style, how did she get to be so bereft of even the most basic morals? In my mind there are only two possibilities: she was born a psychopath, or she was raised one. In either case - where were her parents, how much have they hidden or lied for her in the past, do they know the truth and are protecting their daughter even after she commited a heinous murder? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I have questions of my own...

If you knew that your child had commited a murder let alone that of your only grandchild, would you help her cover it up? Would you remain silent and let her be found Not Guilty? Would you (presumably) support her, pay legal bills, come to court to show support? Or would you go to the police, tell them everything you know, let the legal chips fall where they may, and seek forgiveness and the compassion to try to help her rehabilitate herself (and her soul)?

In our current culture, each new generation of American parents has become more focused on self-esteem, competitiveness, permissiveness, material things, and situational morality (the concept that rules are good for everyone else, but when it's our problem, we have a good reason).

Is Casey Anthony just an extreme example of the self-involvement we are teaching our kids?

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