Friday, June 17, 2011

Circus Maximus

I'm not a rubbernecker.  I don't stare at traffic accidents.  I don't turn my head on the rare occasions I see a celebrity on the street.  I don't watch as they're loading the body into the ambulance.  
And I haven't followed the Casey Anthony trial.  
  • Florida
  • Young mother
  • Dead baby
  • State wants death
That's really all I know.  And there doesn't seem a need to know more.  If I want a death penalty circus to attend to (and despite what I've been writing, I sometimes do), I've got the homegrown Anthony Sowell  fiasco in Cleveland.
Still, Florida is it's own special sort of place.  It's where, when Ted Bundy was killed, Time reported that
some 200 bloodthirsty revelers gathered outside the penitentiary in Starke, Fla., for a ghoulish celebration. They lit sparklers, cheered and waved signs reading BURN, BUNDY, BURN and ROAST IN PEACE.
So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when Circus Casey forced itself on my attention today.  But not with the trial.
I still don't really know who did what to whom.  I haven't got the time or inclination to watch or even read about the daily courtroom surprises and non-surprises.  Trial, really all courtroom work, is theater, and while there's always stuff to learn from studying performance, you just can't watch every play - or even read all the Cliff's Notes.
But you can also learn from studying the audience.  Usually, in the typical case, I'd mean the jury.
But there's the larger audience, too.  The crowd outside.  The rubberneckers and gawkers.  The ones who will, maybe, someday, be tailgating at Casey Anthony's execution.
For all that I write about foregiveness and redemption, about how our criminal justice system is supposed to work.  For all that I complain about biased judges and cheating prosecutors and corrupt cops and incompetent or lazy or both defense lawyers.  For as often as I've mentioned the lawyers who sleep and the jurors who sleep.  For every time I've bitched about the Ohio General Assembly or Congress enacting some dumbass law.  For every post about Sheriff Joe and Deputy Stoddard.  For every mention of the Law of Rule rather than the Rule of Law.
For all of that.
There are those who say it's just fine with them.
They want to watch someone get sentenced to die.
The want to see the execution, the blood.
Live.  And in person.
These folks.
The good people of Orlando.  And of your town.
Your next door neighbors.
And mine.
And on the off chance there's a god, God help us all.

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