I know why it fascinates me. I love crime drama. When I am not reading novels from the likes of Steve Martini, I'm watching it on TV. We own several whole TV series related to crime drama on DVD-- JAG, NCIS, Law and Order in all it's varied forms, CSI from coast to coast and my most recent favorite Criminal Minds. I swear there is an Aspie representative in all of these shows. Grissom and Sara Sidle (CSI) and Bobby Gorem (LNO Criminal Intent) are about as Aspie as it gets. And the young Dr. Reid on the FBI centered drama, Criminal Intent, has an IQ above 180 and is introduced as "our expert on ..... well everything" He is constantly coming up with exacting detail about endless topics. Finally there is our family favorite Abby Sciuto from NCIS. Katie calls her eccentric and says she talks like we do. I guess she is right.
We were in Florida at Disney World when the jury was being picked. Prior to this, I didn't know who she was. But in Orlando, you couldn't turn on the TV and not hear about this true crime story. Florida, it seems, has an open records law. Everything, and I do mean everything, from the first 911 call to the autopsy report is public record. And the TV stations and local newspapers petitioned the court for anything they could get their hands on. I've even seen transcripts of the sidebar conversations the lawyers had with the judge on the internet. It was just like Law and Order -- intensified. Just those few times watching the news in our hotel room while waiting for the next days weather report and I was hooked. We missed the coverage that occurred as we drove home after our four days at Disney World ended, but the very next day, I could tell you the channel numbers assigned to HLN, CNN and both the eastern and pacific versions of Insession/tru TV. The last time I had watched a real life trial was when Court TV chronicled the whole OJ Simpson debacle several years ago.
I admit it was entertaining. Judge Perry was great and had amazing facial expressions. Jose Baez was such a fumbling idiot next to my hero's on JAG or Law & Order. Even the forensics, that most people found boring, were fascinating to me. The prosecutions main witness, Dr. Vass from the Body Farm was as geeky as they come. He obviously loved his area of expertise, even calling it "really cool" at one point. He knew all kinds of the stuff, I also found interesting and spoke with a slight speech difference that made him seem so approachable.
So it was obvious to me, why I was hooked, but why was everybody else acting so off the charts? Some say it is because the players were attractive, white and middle class. Unfortunately, I have seen cases where poor /non white kids go missing and they barely make a blurb on even the local news. But there have been other attractive white kids missing or murdered, even in my home town, that don't take off like this one did. The blogs that have devoted themselves to missing or exploited kids mention these kids and write a lot about them, but the main stream news barely acknowledges them. On any given day, I could google Casey Anthony and there will be at least two news articles from within the past week. Why?
Most of the articles/blogs I have read have a very loyal group of commenters who discuss this case unceasingly. Their feelings either pro casey or anti casey are strong and obvious. Many express love for the victim and extreme hatred for Casey, her lawyer, her family and her supporters. Others attack the haters and pledge their loyalty to the suspect (who has since been acquitted.) There are very few without strong strong feelings one way or the other.
I remember such strong feelings during the OJ Simpson case. It was understandable. This man was a wealthy celebrity and a very charismatic character. Plus the two issues of sex and race were very present. The defendant was black, the victims were his white ex wife and her white male companion. Plus the fact that it was held in LA with it's long history of racial troubles and a police department known among some as being racist, didn't help. Mix all those things together, celebrity, wealth, race and sex and you get strong feelings. I get that. But what about Casey? Why did she evoke such strong feeling? The only racial issue I could find was never mentioned in the press. I saw one account in one book that Casey's mom, didn't care for hispanics. This was from one of Casey's childhood friends who said she wasn't welcome in Casey's home if her mother was home. If this was true, it seemed Casey played it to annoy her mother. She chose an hispanic lawyer, blamed a woman she described as half black and half Puerto Rican, and dated at least one hispanic man and one Italian. But again, I never heard this mentioned on the main stream media. Plus the family wasn't rich and were in fact struggling financially. There was a bit of an element of Sex abuse, but few details and that wasn't brought up until trial. So compared to OJ, the emotional components weren't there from what I could see.
Which takes us to the location. Orlando has been called an entertainment center but not a high crime area like Miami might be. BUT there are those pesky Florida Sunshine laws. We have access to everything. There was always something to report on no matter how small or insignificant. We knew who the witnesses were going to be, we knew about all the evidence, even some that never made it to trial. We even knew what Casey bought from the jail store, from snacks to cosmetics. We saw every picture her parents ever took of her and her child. We saw the video tapes of the visits she had in the jail. All of these things fall under Florida's public records law.
Could this be the reason everyone was hooked on Casey? It is certainly part of the reason I watched. Could it be that I am not so different from everyone else, at least as far as obsessions go.
Something to ponder. Maybe later. NCIS is almost on ;-)