By Colleen Ladd, University of Central Florida
While yesterday’s verdict in the Casey Anthony trial proved to be the most socially popular event, including piles upon piles of #hashtags for Twitter and a million statuses for Facebook, I found myself attempting to cross a river of closure on the case– while maintaining my balance to avoid hitting the waters. From emotion stone to emotion stone, I found myself at the end of the river with the most rational, unbiased conclusion I’ve ever found myself at in my young adult life.
Amidst the statuses of “Burn in hell”, “I didn’t know murder was legal in the state of Florida”, and “Society will get her since the justice system failed to do so”, I, myself, updated my status that fueled from the heartache and infuriation of my own feelings to:
“They must have chosen 12 idiots. I don’t have enough fingers and toes and can’t count high enough of how many people would convict her pathetic, guilty self.”
Naturally, it received comforting 10 likes in 5 minutes, considering everyone was looking for something and someone to support, I also read the hundreds upon hundreds of other statuses in which I actually found ones that gave me peace.
As I sat and witnessed the nation come together, just to tear apart a justice system we have made as fair as our nation of freedom can, my blood began to boil. How could this pathological liar find a loop hole in between the letters of justice? Will this little girl ever find peace among the hundreds of thousands of doleful souls that sat in a waiting room of hope for 3 years? Throughout all this hatred that seemed to pass and linger over the social media networks like a category 5 hurricane, I read statuses that stood up for the jury. The jury, unlike the audience of the nation, cannot base their decision on their emotions or their thoughts upon opinions. It’s not about the truth, it’s about what you can prove in court. And as unfortunate as that is, it is just as fortunate for the innocent. The team of state prosecutors, Jeff Ashton, Linda-Drane Burdick, and Frank George, beautifully presented all the evidence that was apparent in the case but sadly, it wasn’t enough. A lack of evidence does not make these attorneys at fault, just compliments the justice system in the righteousness of the term “to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
So, I found myself at the edge of this river, choosing between two stones. One that seemed to prove reassuring, and one that was solid and compelling. As my foot hit the stone of solidity, my mind came to peace with the results of this strenuous, lamentable case, I found my fingers typing out a cathartic status that naturally flowed out like so:
“It’s easy to jump conclusions based on our emotions. And it seems to be even easier by tweeting them or making them a Facebook status. We may never know what happened but we do know nothing was proven beyond a reasonable doubt and if those jurors convicted her anyway WITH reasonable doubt, then I might go as far as to say the justice system IS corrupted.”
Being surprised by my ability to type something that was difficult to share with the community of acrimonious users on Facebook, I sat in silence as it sunk in deeper and deeper into my youthful thoughts and landed among a new maturity I thought I already installed years before.
Claiming “society will get her” and making promises to yourself and the people that if you were to see Casey on the streets, you will kill her makes you the monster Casey may or may not be. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions based on their emotions, but the jury is not. The real victim was a little girl named Caylee Anthony. Fueling a fire among hostility flames steals peace from a little girl who only knew a world of innocence and purity before her short life ended. Be at peace with what is set in stone. If we grasp animosity for too long, no one rests.