I’m not God, so there’s no way I can sit here and unequivocally say that I know Casey Anthony murdered her 2-year-old daughter back in 2008. No one really knows that, aside from Casey Anthony, little Caylee Anthony and God.
But I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t shocked after the jury acquitted Anthony of murder charges on Tuesday afternoon.
In fact, earlier that morning I made a comment to my co-workers that this case couldn’t have been about whether or not Anthony was guilty. I really thought this was a case about whether or not she would get the death penalty.
In my eyes, being coerced into admitting to authorities that your toddler has been missing for 31 days -- while you’ve been out partying, no less -- makes you guilty of something, if not first-degree murder.
Apparently, everyone else on my Twitter feed shared my exact same sentiments.
“Not guilty” became a trending topic within seconds, and everyone from celebrity Kim Kardashian (whose father represented O.J. Simpson in the equally sensational 1995 trial) to pre-teens were taking to the popular social networking website to voice their outrage over the fact that Anthony will soon be free to go back to her hard-partying ways.
For weeks, I’ve wondered exactly what it is about this case that has captured the nation’s attention and why we’ve all taken it so personally.
But the truth is that not one but several aspects of this case -- negligent parents, dysfunctional families, bad grandparents -- strike a particularly resonant chord in many of our hearts.
For some of my friends who are mothers, they couldn’t comprehend the fact that a mother could party for nearly a month without reporting her 2-year-old daughter as missing. To them, this case was more than a murder; it was a case about how a good mother should act.
“What parent doesn’t long for their old life after having a baby? At some point, we all do. But I just want to know how could she let those feelings take over her judgment like that?” one of my friends tweeted, which prompted a whole separate discussion on post-partum depression.
“When you have a baby, you should always stay at home taking care of your child. No mother should ever be out partying after they have a child,” tweeted another friend, which prompted another separate discussion about whether it was appropriate for a mother to “have fun.”
And yet for others, this case was about how the actions of dysfunctional parents could have devastating and long-reaching effects on their children -- and, unfortunately, their grandchildren.
Several of my friends blamed Cindy and George Anthony, who they said should have known their daughter was capable such a heinous crime.
One friend tweeted that the parents should have seen this coming a mile away and offered to adopt Caylee, especially if they knew their daughter never wanted to have a baby in the first place.
But for many of us, this case will always be about Caylee, the adorable toddler whose unassuming and angelic face peeps out from below her long bangs on the cover of just about every newspaper, magazine, news website and television screen this week. For many of us, this case was about finding justice for just one more little child whose life was stolen away too early.
Since Tuesday, I’ve had to remind myself that a not guilty verdict does not mean that Anthony is in fact innocent. Nor could it be attributed to the defense attorney’s not-so-great lawyering.
Unfortunately for the prosecutors, there wasn’t enough hard evidence to prove without a doubt that she committed the murder. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase used in countless movies -- “It’s not what you know, but what you can prove.”
But if she is indeed innocent, my only hope is that Casey -- who I think we can all agree should have never been a mother in the first place -- will finally tell the truth and finally bring justice for her baby girl.