FOOD FOR THOUGHT: "Bella Vita" means something different to all of us

Carole Townsend

Carole Townsend

EDITOR'S NOTE: Carole Townsend, a correspondent for the Daily Post, is beginning a new blog called Food For Thought. It is available online at www.gwinnettdailypost.com/townsend.

On Tuesday at 2:15 p.m., the verdict in the Casey Anthony Trial was read in an Orlando courtroom and in living rooms, offices, bars and restaurants all across the country. "Not guilty" on first degree murder and manslaughter charges. "Not guilty" on charges she abused or endangered her child. "Guilty" on charges of being a liar. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube buzzed with the news. People everywhere uttered a gasp of shock and disbelief. I was one of them.

In my mind, no mother would let her 2-1/2 year-old daughter go missing for 30 minutes without panicking, calling authorities, alerting everyone who could help that she was missing. But 31 days? Unconscionable. Inconceivable. I just couldn't process it, couldn't reconcile that neglect, the blatant lies and wildly inappropriate behavior during that month with a mom who loved and protected her child, a mom who did not kill her beautiful baby girl.

But I was not in the courtroom. I did not hear the evidence. I was not there when little Caylee's life was snuffed out, so my opinion is just that -- an opinion. It's a guess, based strictly on what I have seen and heard about Ms. Anthony. Her behavior certainly indicates that she is a spoiled, narcissistic, self-centered brat who has no concern for anyone but herself. It indicates that she did not have what it takes to be a mom -- not a good one anyway. But her horrid behavior is not conclusive proof that she murdered her baby.

"La Bella Vita." The beautiful life, or in another translation, the good life. Casey Anthony had that phrase tattooed on her shoulder, I believe, while her baby was supposedly missing. To her, that apparently meant an untethered, carefree life in which she could party without responsibility. To little Caylee, however, an innocent child who knew so little of life outside her mother and grandparents, the good life meant protection and nurturing. It meant safety and simple happiness. Her "bella vita," on earth anyway, is over.

So Anthony will likely walk out of jail today, with time served under her belt. Maybe not; maybe she'll have to serve another year or so. But she will walk into a book deal, a movie deal and paid interviews galore. She will walk right back into the life that she craved so badly, only this time the death of her daughter will foot the bill for it. Who knows, with any luck we'll be treated to a season of Casey Anthony and perhaps O.J. Simpson teamed up on "Dancing with the Stars." Maybe she'll have her own reality show.

No matter. We have not heard the last of Casey Anthony or her sadly derailed family. History does have the tendency to repeat itself.

For what it's worth, I believe she did it. I believe she killed that little girl because the little girl was an inconvenience. And while I believe in the premise of our judicial system, I believe it failed that baby this time.

What do you think?