This week has been an odd one for news junkies. I like staying up to date on politics and the world, but this week news outlets have been full of Casey Anthony updates – Breaking News Flashes and in-depth analysis. (Several talking-heads seemed about ready for their heads to explode the day the verdict came down. ) The news of her acquittal of murder and child abuse charges sent shock waves in many circles. Many were angry and outraged over the “miscarriage of justice.” They were incensed that Little Caylee did not get justice. A cry went out to light front porch lights in honor of her memory.
My Facebook and Twitter literally BLEW UP with comments condemning the jurors as idiots and morons, calling the justice system a mockery, and calling for Casey to burn in hell. There were entire comment streams debating whether or not it was “Christian” to call on her banishment to hell. Some posted warnings that Casey had better get out of town before someone took “justice out on her a$$.” The vitriolic language surprised me. There were calmer heads out there but they were quickly hushed by the negative comments.
I had not followed the case closely, but had heard enough to know that most experts thought she would be found guilty. I was not infested in it but know many who were. The truth is that our system of justice is sometimes – ok, maybe more than sometimes – flawed. But it is the best system we have. And honestly I would want 10 guilty people to go free with a valid process before one is unjustly convicted.
So my quandary is this – how do we “get justice for Caylee?” Do we convict a person without appropriate proof of the crime? Do we condemn Casey to hell? Is this an eye for an eye situation? How do we equate our Christian values of forgiveness and reconciliation with this? What does it mean to be a Christian and still be angry?
I wish I had easy answers, but there are not any. It is hard to live up to our call as persons of faith to be lovers and reconcilers. But that is what we are called to do and be. No matter how hard it is to believe, Casey Anthony is a child of God. She is a lost and flawed child of God, but all of us are as well. I do not wish to judge her but know she needs a lot of love and support. I deplore acts of violence – by anyone against any person, but especially against children. So I am saddened by the loss of Caylee.
But every day there are 22,000 Caylees who die around the world – of gun violence, abuse and neglect, hunger and often preventable disease, etc. That is one child every 4 seconds. That is 15 children every minute. An American child is reported abused every 10 seconds. 34 people die every day of gun violence. These facts anger me – my righteous indignation flares up about these things and I am working to make changes.
We can all help the unknown victims – by honoring all of them, by working for change, and by being present in the lives of all the kids around us. So tonight and every night – my porch light will be on because I want to be a light in the darkness for all of the children who die needlessly every day around the world.
But turning on the light is not all I am going to do. What about you?