Casey Anthony has become a household word in the past several weeks. When that name is spoken it is often in a vituperative manner; more often than is civil, accompanied by expletives. Unless you have been on another planet or have not bothered to watch your television; Casey has been on trial for the murder of her daughter Kaylee. She was acquitted of the horrific crime with which she has charged, and will be released in a very short time. Many persons are outraged by this outcome saying the justice system failed little Kaylee. To be honest, I do not whether she is guilty or not. Not having sat in that courtroom and heard all the evidenced, it would be presumptuous of me to render a judgement. At best, I can say she was an immature young woman who behaved irresponsibly and given her priorities, a self-centered one.
My real difficulty is with the judicial setting (better, circus) in which she was tried. Our judicial system is an adversarial one, where the two sides often engage in combat rather than the pursuit of the truth. Prosecutors and defense lawyers, posture and manipulate–selectively revealing the “facts” that score points against the other side, going after every bit of dirt that will emotionally impact very human jurors. I wonder if any one of us, if we were on trial for our lives, could withstand the chainsaw scrutiny without having someone think we are the spawns of Satan even if we are innocent of the crime. I am also deeply disturbed turning a courtroom into a set for reality TV. I find reality TV appeals to our worst instincts as human beings. The way our trials are presented remind me of Madame Lefarge knitting while heads rolled in A Tale of Two Cities. One of the fundamentals of a judicial system, an essential in a free society, is that we are innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Do you really want to substitute with trial by public opinion?
I am a huge fan of political cartoons and church signs … here are my favorites of the week: