Dear Fellow Americans
Please feel free to skip right by this if you have no idea who Casey Anthony is or if you know who she is but youve managed to live your life without catching a single moment of her murder trial. (Congratulations on that, by the way. No small feat.)
Instead, this is directed to those of you who have latched on to a murder trial featuring a family youve never met to the point where you have rearranged your schedules, spewed vitriol, hung on to every word and expression in the courtroom and taken a nice hot bath in self-righteousness.
Before you started firing off comments to me on Casey Anthonys every twitch and the merits of the case against her, you should know it will fall on deaf ears. My only interest in this is to understand what has become a national obsession to the point where I was slack-jawed reading the status updates and comments on my Facebook page and Twitter feed. That doesnt even include the actual conversations Ive overheard or extricated myself from because the tone became hostile.
I am sad that a little girl died and I know you are, too. But heres some perspective -- what about all the others?
According to the FBIs Crime in the United States report, there were 1,494 people under the age of 18 murdered in 2008. More than 500 of those were under age four. Aside from Caylee Anthony, can you name one other victim? In 2009, the total was 1,348 and nearly 500 of those were under age four. How many of them have you left your porch light on for in the name of justice?
Somewhere Sigmund Freuds head is spinning from all the projection and displaced anger going on around this. I think its worth asking ourselves why this case got snared in the American consciousness and what it means in our individual lives. Clearly we need to express frustration and anger and this has provided an outlet.
Casey Anthony has been called a slew of names and shes been wished dead more times than I can count and the possible ways for her to meet her demise have been detailed. There has been discussion of her karma as well as her lack of tears.
This is a lot of energy expended on a stranger, folks. If youre in that mix, perhaps its time to dig in and figure out why this has affected you so deeply.
For example, if you are struggling to have children, its natural to feel frustrated when you perceive someone like Anthony has succeeded in that and squandered it. Its understandably human to ask why and even have some confusion and/or resentment, but ultimately you have to know railing at a stranger to the level where your blood pressure is rising isnt going to bring you a baby.
Ditto for all the other possibilities that have you getting so emotionally involved in one womans story.
Theres another way to go here.
Ideally, the fever pitch around the Casey Anthony trial could spur action for children in need. If there is time to watch hours of coverage and craft status updates, there is time to funnel the energy into something more productive. One Facebook friend posted a terrific suggestion -- get better acquainted with a Web site for missing kids.
Thats an easy, surface-level idea that requires only time on the Internet. But you can always take it up a notch. Write a check. Write regular checks if you can. Target causes that help make childrens health and well-being a priority.
Just Tell Director Vivian Farmery would be all too happy to let you release your frustration at the mistreatment of children by contributing to Just Tell, whose mission is, according to its Web site, to educate and empower children and adults around the issue of childhood sexual abuse.
Need I mention St. Judes Hospital? What better place to bring your compassion for children? No extra cash? They appreciate volunteers, too.
So does Big Brothers Big Sisters. Becoming a big is an opportunity to affect a childs life one-on-one in a meaningful and steady way.
This is just a tiny sampling of the organizations that could use your support.
That kind of giving of your time, talent or treasure will not bring back Caylee Anthony or any other murdered child, but it will help you feel like youre doing something to make a childs world better. And your world will subsequently improve by leaps and bounds because of your kind actions.
So how about it? Might we harness this energy and fuel a movement for positive change? Will you heed the call?
That would honor Caylee Anthony more than any trumped-up outrage or shining porch lights ever could.
Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.