MSNBC: “Where’s justice for Caylee?” Gonzalez told the Sentinel. Gonzalez said she lives a few miles from the Anthony home in east Orange County. “Do you mean to tell me that in Florida you can kill your child, toss her on the side of the road and go free?”
I said on Facebook – once the news broke about the acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges – that I was going to take a little vacation from the intertubes because I, for one, cannot stomach misplaced public outrage anymore. Guess I broke that silence right quick. And did I say misplaced outrage? Bet your ass I did. More on that in a minute. But first a plea for help:
For the love of all that’s good and holy, can Florida secede from the Union? Get out. Leave. Go back to Spain or forge an alliance with Quebec or something. Leave Walt Disney World as a safe zone if you have to, take the rest of the peninsula, and go. You don’t even properly buffer hurricanes anymore. You have out lived your usefulness and you grab far too many headlines between botched election counting – 1, 2, 3 anyone? – and botched legal trials. I figure you’ll somehow play into the Amanda Knox trial too, given enough time…
I swear, even the Fountain of Youth wouldn’t make the state worth keeping at this point.
Anyway, onto the misplaced outrage…
America is hard. It expects its citizens to be proactive and aware of things that go on within the nation. During its formative years, it expected people to take responsibility for their own actions and to act accordingly. True we’ve lost some of that recently – very few people take responsibility for their own actions these days – but even so, the ideal has set the framework for other principles that we haven’t walked away from. It sets up the notion that the worst thing an American citizen can suffer through is unlawful imprisonment. It was one of the cornerstones of our revolution in the first place: innocent colonists being persecuted for “no good reason.” The American legal system is defined in such a way that you are innocent until proven guilty. Because of the paranoia and fear of sending an innocent person to jail, we will often let a lot of guilty criminals go free, to protect the random innocent person. We have a tri-level appeals process for people that are convicted. We have to prove criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. If there’s reasonable doubt, you are not guilty by definition. We sometimes protect the guilty to guarantee the protection of the innocent.
Jury duty is hard, too. You are locked away for days and days and days and you get to listen to lawyers for hours and hours and hours. I’ve sat on a jury before. Was a civil case. You could have reasonable doubt in a civil case. It only takes 8 of 12 [in Connecticut] to pass a verdict. I was involved in the case for over two weeks. We had tons of evidence. We listens to lawyers for hours. We listened to the complaints of the plaintiff. We heard the “we didn’t do anything wrong” from the defendants. We heard from experts from both sides of aisle. We got copies and copies of structural laws from the city and state. We got tons of information available at our whims. We deliberated and looked through everything while in the jury room – what a painful process. I’d just assume pass a kidney stone instead. Hell, I’d assume that I could pass a lawyer, passing a kidney stone. If things went as fast as The People’s Court… ah well. If I’m ever selected for a jury again, I will go, but I will be prepared for the painful process that it’s proven to be in the past.
The media isn’t hard. The media just sucks bollocks. The media doesn’t care what happens in the news any more or if it’s the truth or if it’s something investigative – they just care about how well they can sell it. It’s been this way for a while, but it’s no clearer to me than how it was for this trial. The media has passed judgement on this woman from her first news story. Was too juicy not to. They sold the shit out of it, from day one, and never looked back. I don’t remember the last time I actually processed the “allegedly” when talking about someone on trial. This woman was guilty on the day that the story broke. Shame on the media for not being fair and balanced. Shame on us for enabling the media beast to do what it does. Sad that TMZ is the only unbiased news outlet: they treat everyone equally although they do have issues with “truth”…
The bottom line in all of this is a multi-part bottom line:
– Outraged? Don’t be. The jury made its decision in isolation from all of the slanted media coverage that we’ve endured – as it should be – and with tons more evidence than we have at our disposal. Long and short of it is that the public doesn’t have enough information to send this woman to death row. The jury had the most amount of information available to it than anyone on the planet and voted accordingly. That should be the end of this case.
– Pissed off? Blame the prosecution. In a trial like this, the defense doesn’t have to prove anything – it is all on the prosecution to prove everything in a blame case. Either they didn’t do their jobs right or the woman isn’t guilty. You can make up your own mind about that but it’s one or the other that caused a reasonable doubt to be in the heads of the jury.
– Still pissed off? That “she’s going to walk free”? She’s still been found guilty of lying to the court and could get up to four years. She’s not walking completely free from all of this… and I doubt any adoption services are going to think of her as a good candidate any time soon.
– Still pissed off? Oi, get the hell over it already. Spend time to fix the problem. And I don’t mean put on a Facebook status for Caylee or declare your political intensions on a bumper sticker or blog post about it…
work to get Florida expelled from the Union I mean, get involved in your communities and government.
Me? Me, I’m fairly convinced that if she did it and she’s getting away with it then someone in the system screwed up. I’d look at the prosecution and think “you guys dropped the ball” but I don’t think for a minute that I know more than the jurors did… they voted as best they could, this woman was tried by her peers, and that’s the system we have been running with since 1781 or so.
America: love it, work to change it, or get the hell out.