TMZ is reporting – with purportedly photographic evidence – that Casey Anthony is living in Ohio. I’d like to chalk this up to rumor, except that TMZ, as annoying as they are, have an even more annoying tendency to be right.(1)
So then okay. Casey Anthony, who TMZ rather insensitively refers to as ‘the most hated woman in America,’ is possibly sharing the same geo-political space as yours truly. Facebook is already rife with groups wanting Ms. Anthony out of Ohio. There are a lot of people I know who I think will be ridiculously offended by this fact. I can think of three of my relatively constant readers who will be upset.(2)
But I’m not too worried about it. Here’s why:
1. The court of public opinion doesn’t mean anything these days.
The public is lied to on an almost continual basis. Rolling Stone has an article this month, in part, about how the manufacturers of plastic grocery bags are warping science so that their profits don’t take a hit. From the Sarah Palin book of self-promotion, Michelle Bachmann wrangles reality to make her statements true. The Huffington Post has an article just today about how ABC will continue covering Ms. Anthony’s story without paying her for exclusive rights,(3) obviously implying that the news source have been paying for news. Which is something we all know but ignore.
These examples might not be direct lies, but they certainly take the notion of ‘truth’ as something more constructed than reported, as David Foster Wallace might say. So public opinion – always subject to the ever-suspect crowd-mentality – regarding Ms. Anthony is heavily mediated by organizations dedicated to making money, not to reporting facts. In other words, people are reacting violently to lies and half-truths. I’d rather my reaction be informed by what I know of the truth: that a jury of her peers found her not-guilty of the first-degree murder of her young daughter. Those twelve people know more than I do; I will defer to their opinion.
2. This is America, people.
The phrase innocent-until-proven-guilty was friggin’ born here.(4) Or at least you’d think so the way we use it to defend all kinds of behaviors. But here’s the quintessentially American catch: we only use that phrase to defend our own behaviors. Everyone else is guilty as hell. Even after proven innocent.
If it’s unAmerican to think differently I will – gladly – be unAmerican.
3. Wait. Let’s check that source again…
Sure, in the photos Ms. Anthony is wearing an Ohio State University hat.(5) And sure, the other article says she’s in Ohio. But where’s the proof? Nothing in any of those photos puts her in any location other than sidewalks, a street, and a store.(6) Sure it kinda looks like Ohio to me, but Hollywood once made New Zealand look like Middle Earth. I can’t trust an image to look like a given place any more than I can trust that all people wearing OSU gear are only in Ohio.
4. Well okay. Maybe she did do it.
But does that reasonably mean that she’s a danger to all kids in the state of Ohio? Maybe just the little girls?
There have been individuals in human history who were in fact dangerous to an entire people. Hitler comes to mind. Crusaders. The Grand Inquisitor. The Grand Dragon. Jeffrey Dahmer.(7) Ted Bundy. Ms. Anthony is none of these people. At best she’s on the level of O.J. Simpson. And where is he these days? No one cares.
So sure, maybe she got away with murder. But that in no way means she’s a priori dangerous to anyone else.
5. But people just don’t want her around.
Sure. I get that. Bad karma and whatnot.
But here’s the thing: you know where she’s really not wanted? The place she’s called home for several years now. Her lawyer is fighting a judge’s having recalled Ms. Anthony on a probation case partially on the basis that returning to Orange County and being made to live there for year would be incredibly dangerous for her.(8)
So assuming 1) public opinion has been shaped by money-mongering media, 2) it is constitutionally unAmerican to believe Ms. Anthony guilty after having been proven innocent, 3) the source claiming her to be in Ohio is questionable, 4) she’s not a mass-murder or Hitler, and 5) about the worst idea for her is to stay in Florida, then I’m kind of okay with her being in Ohio if that’s where she is.
At worst we could consider it attrition for pretty much re-electing President George W. Bush. At best we could consider it a chance to prove ourselves nice enough to allow a young woman to reorganize herself, get her life together, and maybe try to do something worthwhile. At least she’s not a Michigan fan, right?
- They were all over Michael Jackson’s death before the other news-sites had figured out that he’d been rushed to a hospital.
- So like 75% of my readership.
- Forgive me for linking to Ms. Ross’s irony-laden story. The story is valid even though the irony she steeps it in is distracting and unnecessary, especially for a proclaimed optimist. Or is she being ironic about that?
- Well, more like woven obliquely into the fabric of our constitution.
- Sorry. A THE Ohio State University hat.
- Which they claim is an Old Navy.
- Who actually was from Ohio.