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Outrage Over Verdict (Vengence for Caylee!)

July 7, 2011

Well, America! We have officially gone off the deep end. As individuals, we apparently have so little in life that we believe in, we are actually going out of our way to impose a mob like vengence on a person we only know from TV.

Profile pictures have been changed, front porch lights are “burned” in effigy, boycotts are being initiated, and protest signs have been created.

“This has always been about Caylee,” people sobbed at the verdict.

Two and a half years after a child’s memorial service was held, the news now begins to play still image montages of her set to heart wrenching music that make a Humane Society ad look like a McDonald’s commercial.

But this sort of response is really just the creation of a very convincing mask that we use to hide the awful face of what lies underneath. Those of us who have participated in constructing this caring outrage, are nothing more than participants in something that is base in our human DNA. It is the need to be part of something greater than ourselves.

Over the years, similar feelings of belonging have been achieved through religion, family, work, and relationships. In a time, not too long ago, it used to be enough to sing in the church choir or bring the whole family to tears with a joke at the dinner table. Now, with the world as progressive and immediate as it has become, none of that will do. With a 24 hour news cycle willing to show our videos of rainbows, and a social media to make us feel that we are friends with thousands, we have become clowns for greater attention.

Court decisions are brought to conclusions every day that have the equal potential to bring outrage and disillusionment. Most, however, do not feature a pretty girl accused of doing something atrocious. The media finds the pretty ones though, don’t they? The news tells us that attractive blonde teens like Holloway are the only ones that go missing. Sexually stimulating teachers like LaFave are the only ones who sleep with their students. We’re attracted by the images, and we all get to react with outrage.

Then, it finally happens. The State v. Casey Anthony. We harumph our approval of the players and the stations respond by signing a three-year run.

The show begins, and the media goes over the case, creating their bias. It’s good. We can believe it and all play along. For months we tune in, catching a line off a televised cue card and using it like a sports statistic to talk with knowledge for an hour at dinner. Things really begin to heat up. The water cooler has never been busier. The drama is building and we can feel our contribution to the show is making a difference. I’m really adding something to the scene.

Finally the show is over. Here comes the curtain call. We all hold hands and prepare to bow. We know we’ve nailed this one! But when they pull back the curtain, there is no applause. A verdict of “not guilty” is read and we all suddenly feel mislead; perhaps even foolish. Did we miss a cue? Perhaps we should have taken more direction from ourselves, listened more closely to reality instead of the puppets in the box.

We have no choice but to become outraged and vengeful in our response. But vengeance is not a noble feeling, so we need to find something to hide it behind so that our true anger with ourselves is not revealed. We will use the face of the victim as our mask. It will be my Facebook profile picture, as I spew my hate. It will be the theme of my video montage as I pledge my allegiance to Nancy Grace. It will be what I picture in my head as I justify my vengeance.

And since there was no applause, I will simply stand here on this stage and continue to act out the character I have created. I will not stop. Nothing will distract me from the thing that I… hang on… what’s this about a 23-year-old blonde bungee jumper who has been sold as a sex slave? Oh, I’ve got to see this!

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