Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

The Murder of Caylee Anthony

The human conscience invariably shudders at the slaughter of innocents. And the death and abandonment of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony in Florida outraged people all across the U.S. The child went missing in the middle of July 2008 and, by the time the Orange-Osceoloa police department found her in December, plants had begun to grow through the skeletal remains of the toddler. Outrage approached hysteria with the arrest and trial of Caylee's mother Casey. Mothers who kill their children are as hoary as Medea — and women accused of such crimes have always been the target of archetypal bile and vitriol. Yet, like no other legal case before it, the proceedings became the talk and scandal of the moment, not only broadcast on television but on the Internet and on social media, everyone tweeting their horror at every tic of the defendant, every lie uncovered, every counternarrative offered by the defense lawyers. In the end, the prosecution's case against Anthony had too many discontinuities to lead to conviction. Her acquittal, nevertheless, did not end her existence as a pariah. It marked only the beginning of her life as a moral outcast — a different kind of prison.