Jewish Journal


July 7, 2011

CASEY ANTHONY: A Great Family Tragedy



I know a lot of people are deeply outraged by the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. They believe her acquittal is an overwhelming failure of the justice system. She murdered her little daughter and should have been incarcerated for life or received the death penalty. We may never know how little Caylee Anthony died or to what degree, if any, her mother or her grandparents, for that matter, were involved in a cover up. But as I watched the trial, what I saw was the great family tragedy that this really is. I found myself in the shoes of Casey’s parents. What must they have really been living through these past few years? This was literally hell on earth. The greatest kind of pain. They raised a daughter who then had a little girl, and instead of the joy of family gatherings, seeing their daughter grow into a wonderful woman and mother, and their granddaughter delight them as she too grew up, this was the outcome. Death of a little child and so much uncertainty as to what role her own mother played in it. And then to have it all unravel in front of the world. Yes, hell on earth indeed!

I don’t believe the Anthonys were truly bad parents, and I don’t believe that Casey Anthony killed her daughter. I believe the Anthonys’ failure as parents was that they put image, appearances, and the façade of life before truth and honesty. And Casey did not have the inner strength to speak the truth.So when faced with having to reveal that a horrible accident had happened to her baby, Casey Anthony just couldn’t handle it. As mothers we always feel responsible if something happens to our kids, doesn’t matter if we had nothing to do with it. Right, moms? So Casey created a massive web of lies rather than face the fact of the death of her daughter. She proceeded to engage in bizarre and peverse behavior. These were unambiguous symtoms of being in absolute denial. The idea that she was responsible for her little girl’s death, however indirectly, was and is not something that she is capable of bearing. And for her, these last three years must have been nothing but a desperate clinging to some belief that she is still a good person. I don’t think she has even begun to truly acknowledge the death of her child.

This is a terrible, terrible family tragedy! One that we all hope would never befall our families. The Anthonys, all of them, deserve our compassion, our commiseration, and our prayers. Now that Casey is free, what she and her parents need is massive amounts of psychological support. They have lost their little Caylee, their family has been decimated, and it will in all likelihood not recover. But as individuals they can begin to heal, and maybe one day find some small degree of peace. This is what we should want for them.

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