OK, so a little girl is dead.
But a star is born.
We’re always told to look on the bright side of things and in a society that values a good yarn loosely based on reality, at a time when baseless celebrity is exulted and life is cheap, the death of little Caylee Anthony holds tremendous upside.
First, we can all look forward to the immense entertainment value of Caylee’s mom, Casey.
Having been acquitted of murder, Casey is sure to be a star.
We can expect her to parlay her instant celebrity status into any number of TV spots, book deals, movie offers and in-person appearances for years to come.
She after all has all the attributes audiences demand of an instant celebrity. She’s good-looking, attractive and pretty.
There’s an undeniable economic benefit to the freedom Casey Anthony will soon experience in spite of her failing to report her daughter missing for a month, having the stench of decay emanating from the trunk of her car and hindering police in their search for the little girl, leading to a decomposition of evidence that will prevent us from ever knowing what really happened to Caylee.
With the wealth gained from her new status, Casey will doubtless do her best to end the recession.
Economists tell us that consumer spending is a key factor in reviving a sluggish economy and based on past behavior, Casey can be counted on to revive the heck out of the retail sector.
Days after her daughter was last seen alive Casey was filmed shopping it up at J.C. Penney, Target and Blockbuster. Imagine the strength and resolve it must have taken for this young patriot, bearing the weight of whatever happened to Caylee, to go out and spend money for the betterment of us all. She was reported to be upbeat on July 2, 2008 when she got a tattoo, “Bella Vita,” meaning “Beautiful life,” in Italian, weeks after Caylee disappeared. What a trooper.
Now, with the burden of Caylee’s death successfully shifted to some unknown person or persons under an ambiguous set of circumstances, a newly rich Casey might single-handedly spend our country back to prosperity.
Of course it’s a tragedy anytime a valued member of the party/bar crowd is taken out of circulation right in the prime of life because of child’s mishap.
But despair no longer drinkers, dancers and bikini contest aficionados, Casey is back in town. Orlando-area hot spots can rev up for a welcome home party tour like none before.
“Golly gee, fellas, find her an empty knee, fellas, Casey will never go away, Casey will never go away, Casey will never go away again.”
Angry sarcasm aside, the Anthony trial tells us a few things about our justice system.
First, the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a difficult one. One that given the state of the evidence, a state caused by Casey Anthony’s sins of commission and omission, couldn’t be met in this case.
Second, that the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination is a powerful ally of a defendant, even one plainly guilty of, at the least, criminally bad parenting.
Prosecutors dropped a child neglect charge against Casey Anthony early on, once they determined Caylee had been dead the entire time she was “missing.”
Any law tailored to fit such circumstances, one attempting to compel the parent of a missing child to be forthcoming with facts, would likely run afoul of the Fifth Amendment.
Whether Casey murdered her daughter or not, her deceit and evasion as the tragedy unfolded merit more punishment than time served in jail. But since she couldn’t be compelled to offer more information than she did, and since neglect doesn’t apply when the child is dead, additional prison time is unlikely.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the Anthony trial _ and its aftermath _ will tell us something about ourselves.
Are we so addicted to the culture of celebrity that we really will read a Casey Anthony book, go to a Casey Anthony movie or buy tabloid revealing how Casey Anthony is looking in a skimpy two-piece while frolicking with friends on a yacht?
Caylee will never get justice, but for the sake of all the other voiceless children, one hopes not.
Contact Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten