by Kathryn Casey
Lately, I've had a hard time concentrating on just work. I keep wondering what the heck is going on in Orlando, Florida, with the case of Casey Anthony.
Apparently I'm not the only one having this problem. I belong to a couple of true-crime groups, where I pop in to do everything from sharing recipes and thoughts on John McCain's astonishing VP selection to dissecting the latest cases. In both groups, the posts continue to be dominated by the Anthony case. Let's face it, this investigation is one of those, like the Peterson sagas (Scott and Drew), that many of us find nearly addictive. Air samples analyzed at the University of Tennessee Body Farm detect human decomposition in the car trunk and we're glued to the Internet, searching for more information. Police release Casey Anthony's angry jail-house telephone calls, and we rail about the 22-year-old's depravity.
Why does the Anthony case remind me of this old movie? It's something I believe Douglas's editor says in the film, an explanation for why the cave story has legs, endurance in the news biz. I can't quote it verbatim, but it's on the order of: If there were 100 miners trapped it wouldn't be as compelling a story, but one little guy, one common man the readers can identify with, that makes it huge.
Now, I may have parts of that wrong. It's been a long time since I've watched the film. Maybe Douglas's character not the editor muses about what fascinates readers? It's possible. But the point is that little Caylee is like that man trapped in the cave. She's a solitary sympathetic victim, in this case a beautiful, innocent child. We get angry, thinking about all the options Casey Anthony had, how so many families would have loved to adopt, care for, and keep that sweet child safe. We're sad as clues come to light that suggest little Caylee is dead and angry when they point to the possibility that Casey may be responsible.
Why would a young mother do such a horrible thing? Look at the pictures of Anthony partying with friends just days after she claims her daughter went missing. It's hard not to wonder if Caylee was an inconvenience for a sociopathic mother, one willing to kill to get out from under the responsibilities of motherhood. (If the child's death were an accident, wouldn't Casey appear grief stricken, not jubilant?)
But it's not just Casey who frustrates us. The grandmother, Cindy, too, is disturbing. She's appeared to enjoy the media attention. And rather than help she seems to be putting roadblocks in the paths of police. How many of you have wondered if the rest of the world loves the little girl more than her own family? Can you imagine yourself reacting like the Anthonys if Caylee was your daughter or granddaughter?
Sadly most of us are now pretty certain investigators are looking for a corpse, not a living, breathing child. Still, wouldn't a loving family want to help recover the child's remains? Judging by their words and actions, it certainly seems that Casey and Cindy Anthony, like the characters in Ace in the Hole, are more concerned with their own protection than helping authorities find that poor, precious child.
(Since this post was published this morning, more has happened in the case. Information has come out that Casey Anthony may have been researching chloroform on the Internet and that traces of the drug were found in her trunk. Chloroform can be used to render people unconscious, and in high doses can be fatal.)