Casey Anthony and Our Broken Society
Some things become immediately clear when big news occurs.
When Osama Bin Laden was killed, people celebrated in the streets. When Michael was acquitted, people burned his albums. When OJ was acquitted, well, I don’t remember what happened…I was in second grade.
But when the verdict was read that Casey Anthony was not guilty of anything more than lying, Facebook and Twitter took to doing what they do best: providing user-biased-commentary on events that the writer generally knows very little about.
Society, as a matter of history, generally disregards systems. They riot, they fight, they write music, and some societies even go on suicide missions. They do what they, as one person or one small group, can to make a change in society. At that point, society may or may not change (“progress” is really a relative term) how it functions. Moreso, it may or may not make a change to the system.
I’ll probably take flack for this, but as I made clear when I wrote about Rev. DeLong, I am a fan of the system (whatever the current form of it looks like). Why? Because we, as a society, have to trust the system to decide things for us. We have to trust something in order to keep from killing each other left and right. Ask any leader who has ever decided something that wasn’t popular. Now, I also have a conflict of interest, because I am also a fan of progress. But I think that progress comes through actions (with any luck, non-violent) of those within the system. They make arguments about why something should or shouldn’t be the way it is, and then votes are taken so that a democracy can do its best job to decide the best and move on.
More or less, I say follow the rules. If you want to make a change because you think something is unjust or wrong, do so, but do it in the way that is set up. It’s the societies that do not allow citizens to voice opinions that I would rather rail against. They oppress people, and that is wrong.
But America, for the most part, does not oppress its people. It has systems set up to decide things. We must follow those systems (and that still stands for someone who wants to change the system).
Here’s how our legal system works: One person is on trial for doing something that breaks the law. They have the right to have a lawyer. Then, the state has a “prosecutor” who tries to prove their guilt. Then the person on trial’s lawyer defends against the guilt. 12 people listen to all the evidence, think about it, listen to all the arguments, and then go back into a room and talk about it until they come up with a verdict. More or less, the lawyer with a better show wins. We all would hope that that winner would be the person is “right.” But, what we forget is that “right” is often a matter of bias, is often vague, and is rarely agreed on by multiple people.
That’s the system. If you don’t like it, I heard North Korea is nice and welcoming.
So, we could say that the justice system is broken. And it is.
But, it’s only broken because our society is broken. We build our lives on lying to each other. We get ahead by stabbing friends in the back. I’m not saying that it is good(obviously I think quite the opposite), but it is reality. So my question is: why should we expect our legal system to be any different?
One of the things that the Bible makes pretty clear (I think) is that justice belongs to God. Jesus calls on us to not judge others. But see, the Bible isn’t a prerequisite to being an American. So we have to judge others. Because if someone takes someone else’s life, do they deserve to keep theirs?
And we do that in the best way possible. If you look at our American legal system over others, we’re doing ok.
And we have one more kink in the cable in America. Not only is our society built on lies, cheating, and general deceit, but we have the media to spin everything for us. And it’s convenient, because we find out about mothers who are accused of killing their 2-year-old daughters, stuffing them in a trunk, dumping their bodies, and then not telling anyone for 31 days.
And everything has a cost, including convenience. The cost is that we hear “facts” third or fourth-hand. We hear them in a way that excites page views and more channel subscribers. We hear them in a way that catches your attention. There is no doubt that Nancy Grace has used this story to increase her ratings. I appreciate that she is so disgusted about this death and has made it her goal to spread love and accountability. But know this: she makes money from what she does. And she makes more money if her shows gets high ratings. So what she’s doing isn’t bad (in fact, spreading awareness about the death of children is great) but her view and premise is biased.
Which is why I get upset when I look at the tweeting world and see so many people drawing judgment on Casey. Because no one I personally know spent every day in that court room. And those who watched online or watched via news programs did not get a clean view of what was going on. And even if you had sat in that courtroom every day, you wouldn’t know exactly what happened because you’re getting the information from people who get paid to show their information in a way that makes them “win.”
So, as long as rhetoric draws people to vote for you, we will be a broken society. As long as people murder and lie, they will be able to get away with it. As long as lawyers paychecks are on based on their performance, we will never truly understand justice.
I kind of have a feeling that Casey did it. But what do I know? I only ever watched the news.
We just do the best we can and respect our system so that we can, as a society, maintain some semblance of fairness and justice.
We have nothing more than that.
Like in the Rev. DeLong case, I am convinced that no one wins. Caylee is dead. Casey will never be able to go in public again. The entire Anthony family has been accused of horrible things. No one, including our society, wins.
Well, maybe Baez wins.