The Anthony Case...My Thoughts (well, mostly mine...)

First, let me say that I have not followed this case...at all.  There are a variety of reasons for that...not the least of which is that I simply don't keep up with the news as well as I used to.  So...I have no strong feelings one way or another regarding the mom's guilt or the outcome of the trial.  I ache for what happened to this little girl, and there is a part of me that desires justice for her, whatever justice is in this case.  But...I just don't know enough to form any sort of educated opinion about the case itself.

However, I've noticed a lot about people's reactions to this case and its verdict earlier this week.  Comments started hitting my Facebook newsfeed not even minutes after the verdict was announced.  I was somewhat surprised by my own reaction to some of those comments.  I literally began to get sick at my stomach over them.  

Now, I'm sure my reaction might have been very different had I been following this case and formed a strong opinion about it.  However, there were two things that stuck out to me about my early response to the public reaction I was seeing:  (1) That no matter what the actual verdict, Casey Anthony had been convicted in the court of public opinion and the general reaction to her, and to the verdict, was quite venomous.  And (2) that the plight of little Caylee, and the lack of a murder conviction in this case, brought about a strong public desire to "raise awareness" and "find justice".  

Those who read this post got a taste of my feelings about "raising awareness".  I had some similar thoughts on Tuesday when I began seeing the "Porch Light On" posts in my newsfeed.  Now...before I go any further...I don't see anything wrong with posting that or leaving porch lights on  (or planning to do so on July 10, the official "porch lights on" night).  I realize that most who are doing so do so out of a heart of compassion for this little girl and all she suffered, and out of frustration at not being able to "do anything" or see justice for her.  

But my thought, again, was "What does this really accomplish?"  How does this help Caylee?  How does this help other victimized children?   It may make us feel better, and feel like we are "doing something", but it isn't going to bring Caylee back.  It isn't going to erase whatever trauma she went through.  It isn't going to bring her killer to justice.  

Again, there is nothing wrong with "turning on a porch light for Caylee".  And yes, my heart aches for this little girl.  And yes, I "want justice".   I know firsthand the deep ache for justice.  I have children who have been deeply traumatized by violent crime.  And despite the fact that charges have been filed and we have been told to expect a trial in a couple of years...with each passing day I am less and less sure that the promised trial, much less the promised conviction, will happen.  We have already begun to prepare ourselves that we very well may never "see justice" through the courts.  It brings a huge lump to my throat just to type that.  And yet, the reality is there.  

Chris Brauns, author of Unpacking Forgiveness, has written an excellent post this week in response to the Casey Anthony case.  It is good not only for those struggling with the verdict in that case, but for anyone facing "situations when the wounds are deep and justice seems far away".   In fact, I need to print this out and read it about once a week!  Most of it involves lessons God has already been teaching me, but the reminders are excellent and there are new thoughts as well.  I definitely need to read this book!  (Which I actually own but haven't read yet...I need to move it way up on my list!)  

I know that often the temptation is to skip right over links like this one...but I urge you to click through to this article and read it today.  It isn't long, and it really is worth the effort.  I would love to post the article in its entirety right here, but I'm not sure what the copyright implications of that would be.  

Scotty Smith's post this morning was also excellent...another one definitely worth a click-through...

Feel a need to do more?  No matter how much our hearts ache for her, there isn't anything we can do for Caylee Anthony now.  But there are ways that we can get involved to help other children in traumatic situations.  Sponsor a child through Compassion International or World Vision.  Join the fight against child trafficking through She is Priceless/Children's HopeChest ministries.  Learn about local child trafficking (no, it isn't just overseas) and research ways to get involved.  Reach out to the kids across the street, or at the local children's shelter.  Reach out to support a struggling parent...a single mom, a jobless dad, or parents of a child with special needs, whether those needs are physical, mental, or emotional.   Most importantly...share Jesus.  Children are traumatized because of sin in the world.  The best thing we can do to help traumatized children is to share Jesus, to pray, and to watch Him change lives.  Leaving a light on is fine...but being a light (Matt. 5:14-16)  can truly make a difference.  (And pray for me as I seek to do that as well...it's easy to type those things sometimes, and harder to actually get up and do them...)


t marie said...

You have communicated my feelings (and more) so beautifully. Thank you for always being a light.

Jennifer said...

And thank you for always encouraging me...