Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Casey Anthony, etc...

Rather ticked at the Anthony not-guilty verdict.  Ticked at the prosecutor because it looks like he shot too high.  Involuntary manslaughter seems a whole lot more likely to me than first degree murder.  A selfish, narcissistic, ignorant young girl, sick of being stuck with a child, gets sick and tired of crying, yappity-yap-yap, etc.  So she duck tapes her daughter and accidentally suffocates her--oops.

Ticked at the jury for not going with a lesser verdict.  Good grief.  Let's say she drowned.  Where did the duct tape come from, DNA or no DNA?  Some passer by?  Down grade your verdict for God's sake people.

Then I have this typical cycle of stream of consciousness frustration.  My first thought: man, you should have to graduate from high school or college to be able to be on a jury or vote.  But then again, the educated are no more virtuous than the uneducated--they would inevitably oppress those who couldn't vote.  And who would educate them?  Those with college degrees already have diametrically opposed views on many crucial things.

Nope, it's best that every adult get to vote to make sure that their interests are protected.  And we'll never be able to change the jury system--too hard and there's not enough will.  The only solution is to work to make the individuals of our country more virtuous.  A democracy degenerates into mob rule if those voting are not virtuous.  This is where I believe we are headed--an increasingly narcissistic, self-absorbed populace who only looks out for #1 and calls it justice.


Rick said...

I didn't follow it that much, but did the jury really do something wrong? Were they, perhaps, showing some virtue by not going with their emotions, but instead going by the instructions they were given- no matter where that led?

From what I can see, this is almost all on the shoulders of the prosecution. But again, I did not really study the details.

Bob MacDonald said...

Virtue like Quality in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, is an undefinable item. The psalms teach mercy - that equally mysterious chesed that we are called into. Your post reminded me of the Coronation Anthem based on Psalm 89 - let thy hand be strengthened. The second movement - let justice and judgement etc

Righteousness and judgment
are the foundation of your throne
Loving kindness and truth
precede your face

loosely phrased into a prayer for the king. How can we learn such things!

I added a u-tube selection to my translation here

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I didnt quite connect with how you relate mercy to this situation. I could if you had said something about it being an accident....

I also did't follow the trial closely, but, like Rick, think that our justice system does prevent from abuses of power...that could convict on "mob emotion", or "political correctness"...

I agree that there were many questions regarding what I was aware of; the duct tape, partying, while her child was missing; not calling police at the beginning; lying to the police...etc.! Again, I do agree that a smaller charge would have at least had a better chance at getting some type of conviction.

As to virtue, the mother must be mentally ill! What mother could go without calling police or have their child missing for any length of time and not seem concerned, distraught, etc...Narcissitic personality disorder is a diagnosis....that is a reality, not sure any manner or "habit formation" or "spiritual direction" would bring about any fact, I believe that such "religious" dependence might only exasperate the narcissism....

All humans are self-interested, and I don't find that fact disturbing. It only becomes disturbing when one doesn't acknowledge that what they do, even for alturistic reasons, is really for themselves (to be approved by "God" or their peers, or to get a reward in heaven, etc.)...their chosen values (or cultural internatlization)...this is the natural state of affairs...are you seeking something extraordinary, such as one's love of "God", so that one can die to everything that defines that individual for the sake of "the Kingdom"? That becomes self-annihlation....Is virtue defined by ceasing to "exist", either metaphorically, or literally? Then, why was a person born a separate being...if they have no right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Personal goals can be virtuous. These are chosen because of the value they have for the individual and these goals can produce productivity for/in society....

Bob MacDonald said...

Pure association, Angie. Nothing to do with judging the case. I have a child in prison who is mentally ill, damaged from birth by alcohol. I know how the courts work and not. I know that if the society does not learn justice with mercy, there will be no health for it. I do not consider NA society to be healthy. I ended with a question and I know I would not answer that question glibly. But I know how I have learned mercy myself, alone, in a multi-racial family raising 4 kids, two with brain damage, and in churches, my own business, and society. I am really lucky in both giving and receiving mercy. I regard it as from God through Jesus - don't bother answering me to say that I shouldn't do this or think this way. I know what I am writing about. I am not without justice either. It is a most peculiar justice - serious abuse as a child repaid with caring for the abused of our society, a reverse cause and effect. Time working backwards.

Bob MacDonald said...

I am guilty of not reading to the end of your comment, Angie

"Is virtue defined by ceasing to "exist", either metaphorically, or literally? Then, why was a person born a separate being...if they have no right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"

This is a well-directed question - I hope you can refine it after reading Romans 8. (Sure - start in the middle - ça fait rien)

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I am still not understanding your connection of mercy to this particular case. I understand what you are saying about your own situation....and no, I won't go where you think I would.

Just because you have personally learned to identify with those in similar situations, does not mean that that is the same lesson that is learned by everyone.

One could just as easily learn that "God" is not in control, is unjust, and that those that act "as gods" are being presumptuous upon another's life and liberty. Is is wrong that that lesson is what is learned and not the merciful one?

Bob MacDonald said...

Is it wrong that that lesson is learned and not the other one?

Another great question. I can only speak to the difficulty of learning for me personally. 'putting to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit' was by no means an obvious process. I might have become a self-flagellant but I didn't go there like some in history. I might have become a hater of this or that difference in others, but in this period of history post-Shoa I did not. I might have stayed a legalist but that was also not the way. I can't answer your question. I don't even know if being right is even important. I doubt it. My own self-belief as far as I can reach is that I cannot see my bootstrap and I have been known by another in an indescribable fashion. Perhaps it's just a bit of undigested vegetable, as Dickens Scrooge said.

In this particular case, I suspect that some forcible restraint and confinement may have been a preferred outcome. I too have not followed the case sufficiently closely.

Random Arrow said...

Imho – wasn’t the prosecutor overreaching, but was classic jury nullification. Please remember that it’s not the pro’s, but your peers – jury of your peers – that’s the voice of God before the Voice of God nullifies jury nullifications after judgments (in whatever ways God works – it’s not over).

On jury nullification, and better than Wikipedia (which is not bad), see

I work with dozens of clergy regularly (hundreds across time) including many rural and poor clergy in a variety of legal and counseling cases doing pro-bono advocacy and care mostly for the poor – and, careful – caring – competent clergy want to know the differences between mere suspicions, implausible facts, plausible facts, probable facts, news reports (can you believe that some clergy are wise enough not see news reports as straight channels from God?), and careful - caring – competent clergy want to know the difference between probable facts and a reasonable plea, and the difference between an unreasonable plea (unreasonable as excessive and a false confession/plea) and a full blown trial in court, and the difference between a trial and a full blown conviction, and then best of all, how they can still care even after a conviction.

God to Joshua, “be careful, very careful” (yeah I know, not in a juristic context, but an axiom applicable broad spectrum - Deut 2:4).

I love that. Careful - caring – competent clergy. (And some of these scoundrels actually have a pretty good sense of humor once you get to know and love them!). It’s my privilege to work with a few.

Despite the differences in our theologies and home churches (and there are many differences), the Spirit creates inside of us and for us the daily miracles of common bonds and common care and a common unity in shared competence to care for people – some of whom are their parishioners and others who are lost in the hell of poverty on the streets.

What’s most amazing about these clergy is how they have a deep heart desire to learn – learn – how to intervene even in post-arrest matters and before such matters go to court (“only fools go to court”), that is, these clergy focus on – learning – practical means to mercy, restoration, reconciliation, forgiveness, restorative justice, and how to redeem individuals and families to be whole again.

The coolest part of all is that there are answers to these questions.

For clergy who have the good sense to ask. Not ask me. Asking the Spirit in prayer. Then we – collaboratively before the Spirit.

And there are many clergy like that in the world.

Thank God for them,



(I posted also on another blog, link lost!)

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Thanks, Bob. I am sure no matter one's persuasion on the justice system, this particular case was a baffling one. Is justice always for a victim, or is it also for the falsely accused? Those that are guilty need to be convicted, and held accountable. Otherwise, who is to say if this mother was guilty that she will commit another crime of convenience? or that it sets a "tone" for our society?

JohnM said...

I didn't sit on the jury and I don't pay much mind to the "Headline" "News" network, so I don't have an opinion. I'm not sure those of us not on the jury and not otherwise involved in the investigation or the trial have any business forming an opinion one way or the other.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

This is probably why she was declared innocent, as we aren't privy to all the information, are we? This is why I don't particularly care for tabloid news stories, real life shows, etc.

Why does our media play so much toward public comsumption of such news, where the public is "hungry" to devour tragic stories that are part of another's real life? I admit that I watched the Royal Wedding....and have had interests in relationship difficulties amongst the royals...guess it makes them more 'human' or closer to "my real life"....

Isn't this why most of us like to pull others down? We like to make ourselves feel or look better to ourselves or others? I think so..

JohnM said...

The media is a business not a public service, they sell what people buy and they're pretty good at figuring out what that is. I didn't follow the royal wedding, but I see nothing wrong with the fact so many did. At least a wedding is a celebration of one of the lovely things in life.

FrGregACCA said...

All-too-often, it seems that juries convict when, in fact, the prosecution has been unable to prove the defendant guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt".

In this case, I think that once again, the prosecution failed to meet that standard and, this time, the jury found accordingly.

At now stands, presumably the mother alone knows the whole truth. Whatever it is, she will have live with it, if in fact she did kill her young daughter.

Let us keep her, her family, and yes, Casey, in our prayers.

"Better that thirty guilty people go free than one innocent person be hanged."

FrGregACCA said...

The following is a comment from a print journalist posted on another blog:

"As a member of the news media who covers courts/crime for a living, I have a reaction to your post (or two). One, the problem in this country is the merger between entertainment-value media reporting (not necessarily good entertainment) and news-value media reporting. As a newspaper reporter, I take my job and its responsibilities very seriously. One of those responsibilities is to be as fair, thorough and factual as I could possibly be, regardless of whatever feelings the case may arouse in me. But someone like Nancy Grace, who is to legal journalism what Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh is to political commentary, is not interested in either a. fairness, b. thoroughness and probably c. truth. She’s interested in ratings and ego.

"Which leads me to reaction number two. Because of the instant pressure in this case from the media (largely television/tabloid), the prosecutor allowed himself to be sucked into the wrong, but more glamorous charge. A quick perusal of Florida’s child abuse statutes reveals that the state has a neglect of a dependent charge, and it appears that it could have been aggravated for a lengthy sentence. Had they pursued that venue, all they would have needed were basic facts: 1. the child was in your care, 2. the child died in your care, 3. you did not report or seek help and 4. you then lied to the police who tried to help.

"But neglect of a dependent is nowhere near as sexy as capital murder (a ridiculous stretch even if they’d had physical/direct evidence). I think this speaks to another problem in our criminal justice system/culture and that is that prosecutors often go for sexy instead of appropriate. That leads to emotionally-laden charges, emotionally-laden arguments and trials and make it much more possible for the truly innocent to be scooped up in the wheels of (in)justice."