By Jason Menard
I only know one truth when it comes to the Casey Anthony case. And that truth is that I don’t know anything.
Sorry, I also know two more truths: it’s absolutely horrible that a little girl died; and I have no idea how Caylee died.
Apparently, however, I’m in the minority, given the passionate and vociferous explosion of anger on the social networks. And what’s even greater than the level of anger is the absolute certitude that people are condemning a woman whom the court of law has found not guilty.
Welcome to the worst part of our celebrity-obsessed society. We, as a culture, watch sound bites on CNN, get some quote-unquote inside scoop on a blog or two, and – of course – catch the highlights on Entertainment Tonight. If you’re lucky, there may be a Movie of the Week to glean even more knowledge.
And from there people make a decision. All I know is that if I was falsely accused of anything, there’s no way in Hell I’d want to leave my fate to the court of public opinion.
Again, I don’t want to defend Casey; nor do I want to condemn her. I’m really not informed enough about the case to form a good opinion – and, if most of these Tweeters and other talking heads (and fingers) were honest, they’d admit that they aren’t either.
Unfortunately, celebrity trials become like a video game in their interactivity. You can participate in instant on-line polls, you can watch the footage and feel like you’re part of the jury, and you can speculate and debate with others about the relative merits of the case.
But we’re not the judge; we’re not the jury. Unfortunately, as a society, we’re all to ready to become the executioner.
Questioning the system is fine, but this selective vigilante justice is unbecoming. There are thousands of cases that progress through the court system all the time, without the hint of the public outcry that’s accompanied the Anthony not-guilty verdict, the OJ “search for the real killers,” or any of the other alleged miscarriages of celebrity justice.
Yet there are probably hundreds of people currently behind bars who don’t deserve to be. In addition, there are thousands of others who have walked when they should be locked up.
Unfortunately, there are no cameras out there to let us in on the day-to-day foibles of the legal system. So those particular miscarriages of justice aren’t interesting to the mass public.
It’s too bad, though. Considering the fact that so many of us apparently have all the facts about Anthony’s case nailed down through osmosis, then we could fill that gap in our legal system.
Oh, wait. We used to do that – it was called a lynch mob. Yet while we discourage those in real life, we’re all-too comfortable forming one on-line.