By Jack Engelhard
We all came together after 9/11 and we grieved properly and the media coverage was wall-to-wall – but nothing compared to this!
We’ve been in the eye of this Casey Anthony saga week by week, hour after hour and we are more outraged at this one woman than we were against the Islamic terrorists who murdered some 3,000 of our people in Lower Manhattan. I have no answer to this lopsided span of attention, only a guess or two.
We can’t focus on an event so large, so large as 9/11; it’s too immense for us to grasp. But a mother and her dead infant – this hits home. We can identify.
I call it The Anne Frank Imperative, which I cover in my newsroom novel “The Bathsheba Deadline.” That is – we can’t comprehend the ovens and the murder of Six Million Jews in its entirety, but we CAN begin to grasp the event through the fears of a single girl in jeopardy.
Also, the murderers who came for us, these are terrorists without borders. They’re everywhere. They even live among us.
As opposed to our wars against Germany and Japan, and even our Cold War against the Soviet Union, where straight lines were drawn – you shoot at us from there, we shoot at you from here – there’s nothing like this against Islamic Terrorism. Their whereabouts are global. This means we have no address.
Casey Anthony – we know where she lives. We know exactly where to direct our attention and our hatred.
This is not the better side of our nature. I don’t know if she did the crime. The jury says she didn’t. She was found not guilty, which does not make her innocent. But the cries to “get her,” that is, get even with her…this is not like us, and NOTHING like this rage got streamed up among us against the 9/11 murderers. (Largely to our credit, we did not go hate-mongering against our Muslim neighbors.)
This Casey Anthony obsession, I define it as a diversion from our lives of quiet desperation.
Did you see those people, those wanna-be spectators rushing into the courtroom, fists flying to get a seat? Were they there for justice, or for thrills? People camped outside as for Black Friday Early-Bird Specials. Something ghoulish about this to you? To me, yes. To some, this was Soap Opera.
I’d even suggest that the jury found in her favor as an act of reverse pity. When bullying happens, we begin to pity the victim…even if the victim is undeserving.
As all this was going on, wars were taking place all over the world. Our own kids are in Harm’s Way in four different conflicts.
The City of Philadelphia counts a murder a day.
Meanwhile, our heads are in the sands of TV.
About the author: Novelist Jack Engelhard wrote the international bestseller “Indecent Proposal” that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. His memoir “Escape From Mount Moriah” is an Official Selection CANNES Film Festival through Nikila Cole’s filming of the book’s short story, “My Father, Joe.” Engelhard’s thriller, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” which traces worldwide terrorism through the eyes of a Manhattan newsroom, is now in paperback at Amazon, and Kindle. Website – www.jackengelhard.com