Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 628, July 17, 2011

"There is nothing wrong with America today except that it's
run by and for the criminal class and always has been."

Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Human reactions are predictable. People have exploded in anger over the Casey Anthony Trial. Some have railed against the jury and the Jury system, even to the point of threatening to murder jurors. State Legislators in Florida and elsewhere have proposed Caylee's laws, making it a felony to report a missing child in a timely manner. All have claimed that Casey Anthony reacted in a monstrous manner to her child's disappearance if she did not murder her.

The truth is that I've seen both ends of the spectrum, from an extremely immature woman who tried to cover up when her child died of natural causes to a single mother of two who spent two years tracking down and recovering her son when he was kidnapped and taken to Juarez, Mexico. The first case was memorable, not because the overaged little girl involved lied about her baby "disappearing" but because of how egregiously the investigating officers involved violated her rights. The second was memorable to me as much because the mother is my friend as the heroic nature of her effort (think about it, single mother searching for missing child in a foreign country while trying to take care of her other child.).

Casey Anthony is on the more negative side of the spectrum I've described, but we all know of people all along this spectrum. And until you accept that responses on both sides of the spectrum are natural and human solutions proposed are a waste. For example, in the first case I mention, the deputies and DA involved were so sure of the righteousness of their cause they forgot their obligation to respect the Constitution. When the State gets this attitude going all sorts of things happen, including but not limited to sloppy gathering and preparation of evidence, persecution (not prosecution) of innocent persons, and failure to convict guilty persons.

As for the other end, at the time of my friend's ordeal I was out of contact with her. I found out about things about a decade later when we got back in touch. Perhaps if I had been in touch I could have helped, even just a little. How helpful the combined US, Mexican, Chihuahuense, El Paso, and Juarez governments were can be summarized by saying she found the kid on her own.

How revising jury systems when the prosecution is sloppy about presenting evidence can help protect lives, liberty and property is beyond my imagination. How laws punishing people more strictly for not reporting missing kids when so many of the mothers in such cases are scared little girls too afraid of punishment to ask for help is also beyond me.

But I'm sure someone will use the whole thing to strengthen the state at the expense of the individual.

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