We just celebrated Independence Day, a time to be thankful for the land we live in, where freedom and justice define us. A land of opportunity, a land of bounty.
While celebrating, the country shifted it’s attention to the biggest new story in months, the trial of Casey Anthony. As anyone with TV or internet knows, she was found not guilty and it seemed as though the thread of who we are as a country unraveled in some people’s minds. Justice hadn’t prevailed. Freedom wasn’t deserved.
I first heard about the verdict from someone in my office, who walked in and said “a travesty has occurred in Orlando” and I read reaction from many people on Facebook later. All were outraged. Some at the jury, some at the prosecution, some at our system. Within a short time, groups and pages had formed, with invitations to ‘sign the Caylee petition’ and ‘leave your porch lights on for Caylee’ among others. Now I became outraged.
I have to say it. I’m outraged by the numbers of people doing meaningless things in the name of Caylee, even though I know the intentions are good. But I don’t believe that leaving a porch light on will help anyone, but will allow people to feel good for a few minutes that they’ve done something in a situation they feel powerless in. I’m outraged by the media coverage of every minute of this trial, when there are parents of missing children who beg for help and can’t get their faces shown. I’m outraged not that someone didn’t report their child missing, but that thousands do and nothing is done.
On the other hand, I’m not encouraged by millions of people turning on a porch light, but am by the hundreds who will be out volunteering on a search for someone’s missing loved one tomorrow. I’m not encouraged by the person who started a petition to make not reporting a missing child a felony, but by the parents who have lobbied congress for years to pass bills that change how a missing persons case is handled once reported.
Don’t get me wrong, Caylee’s death was a tragedy and so very sad. But if each person who was so impacted by this case spent just as much time looking at the faces of the missing, we might have a surge of children found. A million porch lights on is nice. One missing child brought home because of the caring hearts of those moved by this case? Now that would be a way to honor Caylee.