I must admit, I was absolutely convinced that after 33 days of trial and only 10 hours of deliberation, Casey Anthony's jury would hand down a guilty verdict. Yesterday afternoon, sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's office with my Mom (who fell and broke her shoulder over the weekend), I was absolutely stunned when a 'not guilty' was announced on the more serious Murder 1, Murder 2, and Negligent Homicide charges. Facebook posts went through the roof, Twitter was all aflutter, and every cable channel except Disney and Cartoon Network provided up-to-the-minute commentary. One newscaster offering her own particular flair for drama was practically salivating over the assumed guilty verdict just moments prior to the live announcement.
After hours and hours of research over the last two weeks about filicide - the deliberate murder of a child by a parent - I have learned that approximately 400 children under the age of 5 are killed in the United States every year. That's more than one child every single day! And the large majority of these precious little ones are killed by a biological parent - not another family member, foster or adoptive parent, daycare provider, or stranger/predator. Those we are born to trust the most are the very ones who have viciously, violently robbed these babies of life, liberty, and the simple joy of a frozen popsicle on a hot summer day. If you increase the age of children to 12, the numbers go up even more. In fact, the most life-threatening risk to a child under the age of 15 is their own parent.
Right about now, you're probably sitting at your computer or holding your iPod shaking your head, wondering what happens in the mind and heart of a parent to move them from the normal, everyday frustration of parenting to not only thinking about but actually carrying out the murder of their own flesh and blood. This can't even be stretched to 'mercy killing', where a parent might possibly argue that death was an act of kindness. No, not by any stretch. This is the cold-blooded, premeditated, planned and rehearsed killing of a defenseless human being. Now, if your blood pressure is rising and you're starting to squirm, keep reading.
In 2008, approximately 1.2 million abortions were performed in the United States. More than 50% of those abortions were performed on women between the ages of 21 and 25. Cold-blooded, premediated, planned and paid for killing of a defenseless human being. As much as we cry out for justice on behalf of little Caylee Anthony's murder, had her mother opted for an abortion anytime prior to the birth of her daughter on August 9, 2005 we would call it 'a woman's choice'. Caylee was murdered and callously tossed away in a garbage bag before she could celebrate her 3rd birthday with cupcakes, lemonade, and girlfriends. But over a million little Caylees die every year in legal abortion clinics throughout the US before they ever draw their first breath.
For all the outrage Casey Anthony's verdict has brought to the surface, it would do us well to recognize that until we as a people put inestimable value on human life - all human life - we will continue to reap what we have sown. Selfishness will prevail. And we will grieve the heart of God who knit us together in our mother's womb.