July 8, 2011

By Angela Liddle

Like lots of people this week, I was stunned when I heard that Casey Anthony was acquitted in the alleged murder of her two-year-old daughter Caylee. I went back and forth between wondering whether the legal system failed this child, whether the mother failed this child, whether the whole world failed this child….and just didn’t know what to say. Those who know me know that I am rarely at a loss for words, but this week – I was.

Then I read a blog called “Esse Diem” (“Be the day”) by Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher . Here’s part of what she said:

Justice for this child was lost when she died. No one being convicted of her murder could possibly generate any outcome that would change the terrible, unthinkable death she suffered. We seem to need to believe that it could, but it cannot. Caylee is dead, her brief life taken from her in what appears to be a premeditated act of violence capping tremendous resentment by her mother of the attention and care she — as do all children her age — required.

I have strong beliefs about the conditions that should exist before children are brought into this world, and if by some misfortune those conditions are not in place when the child is conceived then we as a society need to step up our game around our commitment to creating the best possible conditions in a bad situation. I hear too much talk about what parents deserve or don’t deserve, and frankly I don’t give a damn.

As one who has worked with families over many years, I rarely hear (or think) that someone doesn’t give a damn about what parents deserve or don’t deserve, but it makes sense to me. Read on:

When an at-risk child joins the human family, that is everyone’s baby………If we carry on one more day about how outraged and angry we are about the jury verdict, about all the vengeful thoughts we have against Casey Anthony, about how God is going to bring down justice on the killer and on and on and on…………we are part of why this child is gone and we lose one more day to save children like her. And if you do not know, you need to research and know and understand one thing: There are thousands of Caylees in this country right now. Thousands.

We need to turn off Nancy Grace (and the rest of those who profiteer on moral outrage and grief) and turn on our consciences.

When the blogger got to the point of what we can actually do to honor the life of this child, for whom no justice seems possible, I knew I had to share her thoughts with you via this blog.

My challenge to all of us who are pained by the loss of this child is to think about what role we each play in making this world a safer, better place for children.

  • Do you speak out when someone makes a joke about hurting a child, or do you stay silent so as not to offend?
  • When you see a parent at the end of his or her rope, do you moralize about what a bad parent he or she is, or do you offer a kind word of support for what they are going through?
  • When you have an extra $15.00, do you buy a bottle of wine, or do you put it aside and make an end-of-year donation of $300 to your local child abuse prevention organization?
  • Are you giving your free time to something truly important to you, like helping a church gather toys or clothing for families in need, or do you do something just for yourself?
  • Do you think sexually active young people should have access to contraception and are you willing to speak out for that, or in your heart do you think they “get what they deserve” if they “get/get someone pregnant”?

Sadly, children often bear the burden of “getting” what their parents deserve. I’m thinking today about how to turn that around, and to care less about things I can’t control and do more about the things I may be able to influence. My answers to the above questions, if I am fully honest, do not make me proud. For the sake of Caylee and every other child on the verge of her fate, I’m thinking today about how to change my answers.

There is not much I can add to Ms. Gaucher’s thoughts, but I hope by sharing them you will come to a better understanding, as I have, of the fact that the Caylee Anthonys of the world belong to all of us.

To read the entire blog, visit