On Caylee Anthony and perspective

As I was getting all het up about the Casey Anthony verdict, Angad retweeted a statement which shamed me.

As I thought about it a little more, I tried to rationalize this outrage over a murdered little girl versus my relative torpor over thousands of victims of genocide, many who might have met their end just like poor Caylee Anthony but faceless and nameless. I felt guilty. On one hand was the memory of the unmourned dead and on the other the empathy I felt toward this innocent girl, her deplorable circumstances pushing through the mindless clutter of news because of sensationalism and morbid curiosity. Was my anger and disappointment disproportionate? Unfair?

Here’s what I think. If we were to throw ourselves into a raging blaze, almost immolate ourselves, but survive, what would we feel? I think we’d feel pain, but the shock of the experience would desensitize us. On the other hand, if we were to move our hands over the flame of a burning candle, the sensations would be similar to the immolation, but small and concentrated enough to comprehend, register and deal with. Perspective is easier when you have something to compare with. In this case, a painful hand versus an otherwise unharmed body.

Caylee’s murder is like that to me. It cannot be compared to the horrors of genocide, but it is an experience important for me to follow so I stay sensitized enough to develop or reinforce my perspective of right and wrong. I’m appalled by the decision of the jury but I applaud their objectivity in working through their biases and establishing the lack of a connection between the mother’s actions and the actual cause of Caylee’s death. I detest them for that objectivity because it doesn’t mirror my own feelings of righteous rage, but it teaches me that there is an inviolable framework of laws that is meant to mete out justice but also protect those who just may not have been responsible.

It comes down to faith. When a mass murderer, or the perpetrator of a genocide is tried and found guilty under the auspices of the same system that exonerates the alleged murderer of her own child, I won’t struggle to reconcile the two judgments because I have faith in that system’s ability to distinguish true wrong from right regardless of the scale of the crime.

And it’s this faith which keeps me sane. Angry at times, but sane.


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5 responses to “On Caylee Anthony and perspective”

  1. Hemant Puthli says :

    “When a mass murderer, or the perpetrator of a genocide is tried and found guilty under the auspices of the same system that exonerates the alleged murderer of her own child ..”

    Not exactly the same system, but I won’t quarrel about that.

    On a related note – wonder how the DSK case and, closer “home”, the Neeraj Grover murder case impinge on your said perspective.

  2. Dibyojyoti says :

    “Perspective is easier when you have something to compare with”. Dead true. And also why people mix-up emotions with a fair grasp of things.

    As for Caylee, I was not outraged by the verdict. If you review the facts of the case, 90% of it points to a guess rather than a conviction that Casey murdered the toddler. What outraged me instead, is how Nancy Grace seems to be ranting about it for the last 3 years and ramping up TRPs for herself. All of this in trying to point out that the ‘tot mom’ is all set to embrace publicity with book deals et al.

    Sad. And to think that Mrs. Brooks and Mr. Murdoch would have loved to hack into these phones too if they had the choice, ticks me off to no extent. :|

    • daddysan says :

      I understand your points Dibyojyoti. While I don’t condone Nancy Grace’s over-the-top posturing and judgmental refrains, I understand her outrage. You bring up a good point that she has a history of such outrage so maybe what I’m witnessing isn’t unique.

      Tot mom book deal? Do you think that isn’t a possibility? And if it happens do you think it’s correct?

      As far as the evidence in the case is concerned, one of the panelists on ABC news yesterday, a prosecutor in the OJ Simpson case, called it “strongly circumstantial”. I can live with that. The jury succumbed to its circumstantial nature and ruled against a murder sentence. Do read the thoughts of one of the jurors here


      Money quotes “Sick to our stomachs acquitting her” “I’m not saying she’s innocent. Just that we didn’t have enough evidence to link her to it.”

      Lest we forget, we still have a dead girl and an unsolved case.

      • Dibyojyoti says :

        The book deal is as wrong as RGV making a film on the Susairaj & Grover case. But as much as it does not sound moral or ethical on a parent’s part, it does not confirm her being guilty of murder either.

        All I am saying is, the jury could have taken a stand based on emotion and the constant barrage of media stereotyping the ‘killer mom’. But they did not. And I am happy that they did not. For if the evidence does not prove you are guilty, and you are still implicated, it becomes a scary proposition for a lot of innocent people still awaiting judgment. Does it not?

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