Saturday, July 9, 2011
© Copyright 2014
Gwinnett Daily Post
ORLANDO, Fla. -- For nearly two months, the murder trial of Casey Anthony was a living entity. It breathed daily across national television airwaves, then was reinforced nightly on cable TV programs that dissected every word uttered in the courtroom and fueled speculation on her fate.
When Anthony was acquitted of murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, hundreds of thousands of people captivated by the case -- and certain of her guilt -- poured their rage into postings on Facebook and the micro-blogging site Twitter. Those and other social media sites provided a platform and a large audience for a decibel level of vitriol seldom seen before.
The threats, both veiled and blatant, were disturbing enough to make the judge hold off on releasing jurors' names, and to make it all the more likely that Anthony will be secretly whisked away upon her release next week.
Postings continued to fill one ''I hate Casey Anthony'' Facebook page on Saturday morning, with nearly 39,000 people having ''liked'' the page. In reaction to Anthony's July 17 announced release date, one person wrote, ''... maybe she won't even make it out of jail alive.'' Someone else added a picture of Anthony manipulated to give her horns and included a backdrop of flames.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler, a psychologist who authored ''Mothers on Trial,'' said the case connected with people by the millions because it taps primitive instincts rejecting the thought of a mother ever doing anything to harm her child.
''Once a mother is merely accused, she stands convicted, because the instinct is to blame the mother,'' she said. ''She's an outlaw even though she was found innocent. ... People in down times spend their waking hours looking for bright, bushy-tailed distractions. Casey and her poor daughter's sick and sad saga will fit the bill for now.''
Even those who weren't as enraged said they found a sort of electronic catharsis in boiling down their emotions to 140 characters and posting them in anonymity on Twitter.