Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

What about other children?

I’m in lovely sunny Las Vegas, and as I just reached a wall with my novel, I thought I’d unwind a bit and look at Facebook. Where I’ve received 3 invitations each to two FB events. One, Porchlights for Caylee and the other Balloons for Caylee.

Enough. It’s not that I don’t understand the outpouring of emotion at what people perceive to be a lack of justice. It’s that there are so many other missing/exploited/murdered children that don’t even receive 1/1000th of the attention that Caylee Anthony’s death received.

I roll my eyes at the attempt to right a wrong by passing Caylee’s Law, which would make it illegal for a parent to not report the death of a child within a specific time frame or to not report a missing child in a longer time frame. Both of which are unrealistic- there are plenty of circumstances where a parent might not be able to contact police, and a law would likely be unfairly applied to parents in shock (how can you disprove that a parent was so overwhelmed at the sight of their dead child that they fainted for hours?) or injured. Don’t believe me? Following Columbine, zero-tolerance rules for weapons were issued in schools across the country, and now you have kids being expelled for having a Swiss army knife in their backpack.

And sadly- kids lie. A lot of children who go missing usually do so after telling their parents that they were at their friends for a sleepover. How is a parent supposed to know that their child has been missing for 24 hours?

We can’t turn back the hands of time, people. While it’s wonderful that people want to raise awareness by letting balloons go… shouldn’t we be doing more to make sure that we say something when we see a child whose parent is neglectful at best? Shouldn’t we be speaking up when a child in the neighborhood like Christian Coate suddenly stop going to school and pushing to make sure that things are done? Shouldn’t we be speaking up to children’s services when children who’ve been in the foster system are being sent back home to birth parents that are dangerous?

The justice system didn’t fail Caylee. Sadly, there just wasn’t enough evidence. In this day and age where forensics make for exciting television, jurors want forensic evidence- a strong link to show that definitively that person killed someone. But there just wasn’t enough. Casey Anthony is a vile person, but the evidence just wasn’t there.

Someone once said that they’d rather 100 guilty people go free, than one innocent person be jailed. If we start insisting that juries make leaps of faith regularly, it’d be far too easy to say that person X was a narcissist in real life and put them in jail for something they didn’t do.

My heart breaks every time I hear of a parent harming their child. I just don’t understand how you can look at someone who shares your DNA, or in the case of adopted/foster children, someone that you’ve taken in to care for… how you can look at them and not see that they’re a human being that needs protection and love. But it happens. Instead of continuing to focus on a child that was sadly lost…. shouldn’t we be looking for children that we can save?

If you want to make a difference, stop doing something passive. Joining an event, RTing a link… it spreads awareness, but it means nothing if you don’t actually do something to help. Find a children’s charity, pay more attention to the kids in your life. Just do something.

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  • http://www.eatflylove.com/ Liv

    Personally, I think the whole jail thing is overrated. Let’s go back to public lashings. And you’re right… the justice system is flawed. Too many guilty go free, and too many innocent are locked up. Half the laws that put men in prison are non-victim crimes. It’s all rather silly.

  • http://erinkelley.net/journal/ Erin

    I completely agree – I just basically ignored those same fb invites because it was easier than, well, writing out this :) The jury was left unsure of exactly what happened, and that meant an acquittal. All this energy could be spent helping other children in bad circumstances – ones who could use the help.