For the past three years I have not followed the happenings of the Casey Anthony case. For the past 30 days I used selective ignorance to avoid the trial.
However as the month of June closed, I could hardly avoid hearing about it from people around me, so I was made aware that we were obviously in the middle of a HUGE media circus.
I still successfully avoided the details until the verdict was released yesterday. Wednesday’s Associated Press article, Casey Anthony could go free after murder acquittal, brought me up to date in about five minutes.
Many people have invested huge sums of time and money into something they, or rather we, had no control over.
Among the trial spectators was 51-year-old Robin Wilkie, who said she has spent $3,000 on hotels and food since arriving June 10 from Lake Minnetonka, Minn. She tallied more than 100 hours standing in line to wait for tickets and got into the courtroom 15 times to see Anthony.
“True crime has become a unique genre of entertainment,” Wilkie said. ” Her stories are so extreme and fantastic, it’s hard to believe they’re true, but that’s what engrosses people. This case has sex, lies and videotapes – just like on reality TV.”
I do not know if Anthony is guilty and will not pass judgment, it is not my place. I trust that the jurors who sacrificed over a month of their personal lives, worked together to make a difficult decision that they each can and will have to live with.
I can and will support that.
What upsets me most is the thousands of American’s that have invested so much energy and passion into something that is so important…. but have done so in a way that is absolutely ineffective.
How many outraged people attended, promoted or otherwise supported a Take Back the Night or similar event in Tampa or their own community? How many will seek one out in the future?
How many outraged people are giving the same energy and time to any cause that might help prevent domestic violence or help unprepared parents to improve themselves and become the parents they should be?
Yes this case was outrageous… but it was too late for anyone to have a positive effect.
While the media spent countless hours feeding America’s appetite for “entertainment” as Wilkie stated, they could have been interviewing the countless charitable groups around the country to help educate viewers on how they could help to prevent violence.
Here are some statistics from The Spring of Tampa Bay for Florida in 2008:
- 113,123 total domestic violence cases reported
- 26,027 caused by spouse
- 34,051 caused by co-habitant
- 180 domestic homicide cases reported
While I feel strongly that too many people in our country do not take community and civic responsibilties seriously, I typically do not debate how you spend your free time because that is your own choice and that choice is what makes this country great.
However, after having to personally witness people invest so much energy in something they are too late to have an effect on I felt the need to share my thoughts.
I am sharing in the hopes that others will take their newfound energy and invest it in something that will help prevent violence in the future and not just return to inactivity until the next media circus.
If you want to know more about becoming involved, please seek out organizations in your community to learn more and support a cause that can make a difference. For more information you can start with the CDC website on Violence Prevention.
Unlike with entertainment television such as crime dramas, reality shows and 24 hour news networks where you are only a spectator, in your community you can actually make a difference!