A Central Floridian’s View of the Casey Anthony Case

Caylee Anthony

I was one of many watching the news stories about Casey Anthony and her missing baby girl, Caylee. I recall when the news came out that Caylee had been missing for an entire month. I recall when 20-something-year-old Casey lied to authorities about the missing baby, and I recall when she was charged with the murder of her little girl. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, I recall the day that little Caylee’s remains were found near the Anthony home. Silently and behind closed doors, like many others concerned for the baby’s welfare and whereabouts, I cried.

Still familiar with the case, but growing tired of the drama and national attention that overtook other important issues, I began to ignore the whole Casey Anthony drama. I grew tired of the media, everything “Casey Anthony” this and that every time I turned on my television. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in this feeling.

It’s difficult to think a mother could act normal for 31 days without reporting her own baby missing. I did, however, think that Casey wasn’t the only one involved in the death of her baby girl. My gut instinct told me she was also hiding the fact that someone else was involved. But who and why? A boyfriend? A family member? Was anything that Casey said true at all? It’s difficult to believe anything said by a person that could have won an actress-of-the-year award.

Having been out of town for a while and ignoring most of the boring aspects of the trial, I understood that it was still under way, but I had no idea that the trial was at its end. I heard the announcement on the car radio that Casey Anthony’s verdict was going to be read at 2:15. My car’s clock read 2:09. My instinctual gut feeling was that Casey was going to be found “not guilty”, although I was hoping I was wrong.

Tapping at my steering wheel, I heard the extremely long verdict. Come on, just say it! I was thinking. And then I was in awe. My jaw dropped. Hand over mouth, I almost laughed out loud – not in happiness but more like surrealism. This can’t be for real. Is the radio station playing a joke?

My first pity immediately went towards the jurors. I knew that the majority of people watching the case thought Casey would be found guilty of murder. Unfortunately for the jurors, although they have served their time, they will be the next of Casey Anthony’s victims, so to speak. It is not the jurors’ fault that the State of Florida lacked evidence, and the prosecution failed. They did what they thought was right and correct to their best ability, and they have to live with that for the rest of their lives.

As for the Anthony family, the trial is over, but theirs isn’t. Their family dynamic seems to be irreparable. They will never be able to go anywhere again without being recognized as Casey Anthony’s parents or being accused of having an involvement in Little Caylee’s death.

Least of all, no matter how “free” Casey Anthony will be when she gets out of jail next week, will she ever really be free? Will the truth ever be told? Will there ever be justice for Little Caylee Anthony?

Advice from a Friend

My friend told me the greatest quote the other day.  She said her father told her, “You should never play with dead things or crazy people.”

Isn’t that the truth!  After an ordeal last week with a convicted felon tracking where we live, I am convinced that trying to help people probably isn’t my duty anymore. I don’t want to put my life at risk by these people finding out who I am.

I want to live a low-key life. The last half of it was pain and misery and problems. I’m not going to spend the next half like that. I just want to write and be creative and look at the flowers in my garden… and meditate, listen to baroque music – enjoy life. I don’t need anymore health problems from anymore stress. It’s just not worth it.

Birds, Felons, and the Pissing Buddha

I can hear a bird outside. I think it’s a mockingbird. I can see my garden from my window. My table fountain is on. It’s a Buddha fountain, and although it’s seated, it looks like it’s pissing because the water is shooting up like a drinking fountain. I call it my Pissing Buddha. Maybe I should write a story about that.

Speaking of writing stories, the Writer’s Digest competition ends May 2nd. I have a few things started but now that school has taken over everything, I don’t know what to do. I really wanted to enter something. As long as I don’t have anymore surprises from felons or get anymore illnesses, I can be creative.

Obituary Comment – I’m Glad You’re Dead?

I read Marcus’s father’s obit in the paper today. I can’t believe that miserable son of a bitch lived as long as he did. He had cancer at one time but beat it.

This is a man that – I hate to say it – deserved everything that happened to him. He was very abusive to his whole family, beat the kids. He hasn’t spoken to his children in years, and definitely not his grandchildren. I informed my brother that he died, and that he is listed as his grandchild in the obit.

My brother is super pissed. Said he doesn’t want his own father to be associated with his name, nevermind that supposed grandfather of his. He tried posting his comment to the obit, but apparently they have to be approved. His was not approved.

I wonder if anyone else has left comments on people’s obituaries telling them what a piece of shit they were?

Random Thoughts on Shitty Emails

I woke up today intending on actually getting some creative thoughts down instead of venting and ranting about the world around me. I took the dog for a walk, had my coffee, thought about going down to the river to do some hand-written writing with my notebook. But I checked my email and it changed things up a bit. I guess I’m still cleaning out my head in my daily journal writings so I can get rid of all of the bullshit thrown at me.

My brother emailed me. This is the brother that hasn’t spoken to me in over a year, and even before that he had a stick up his ass and didn’t speak to me much. He is very different from me and my other brother. He and my other brother are twins, but very opposite. One is fun and gay, the other is a douche. This morning’s email was from the douche. Although he claims he doesn’t like drama, he manages to involve himself by putting his nose smack in the middle.

In his email, he stated how much he hated me and that he would spit on my grave with a smile. (Such pleasantry, isn’t it?) He also went on to say that I would never meet his wife or daughter, and he didn’t forget to mention that he wipes his ass with my book.

What I did was make him think that I never got the email. I did a fake “undeliverable” message and sent it back to him. He’s not smart enough to figure out it’s fake, but he must have received it, because now he’s sending text messages to my daughter and asking other family what email I’m using.

I’m not going to answer him, at least not directly. Instead, I’m going to do it privately and not send it to him. There is no point in ever answering anything my negative family says, because no matter what, I am always wrong, at fault, the problem, etc… It took me over 30 years to realize that, which is why I wrote the memoir. And even though I changed names in the book out of respect to protect their privacy, I am still wrong. But I’m okay with being wrong. That’s there problem, not mine.

Rep of Large Company Boasts About Animal Cruelty

The last few years have proven to be an age of outing. In recent news, several people in big companies and government agencies are being outed for doing or saying stupid, immoral, or illegal things. No one is perfect, and we all do and say stupid things – but there comes a time when watching what you say may cost you your job, reputation, or company’s reputation.

While I was having lunch in a restaurant the other day, there were two young women next to me that were difficult to ignore. Not only were we sitting close in proximity, one especially wasn’t the quietest chip in the bag. At first glance of the giant yellow company purse bag next to the woman sitting closest to me, I chalked it up to her having a lot of baggage. But then she announced what she does for a living. She represents a very large candy company with two initials – the one that sponsors a racecar driver – the one displayed on her baggage. I will refer to her as Miss Yellow Baggage.

I overheard the women’s personal issues and gossip about some people they knew, workplace drama about people being fired, the slight looks and whispers and giggles in my direction. I had to double check where I was because for a moment it seemed as if I were back in eighth grade.

While I didn’t get a very good look at Miss Yellow Baggage because she was primarily turned towards her friend and wearing a baseball cap, she was extremely loud – the type with a raspy smoker’s voice that certainly does not make for a nice, quiet meal. Miss YB boasted something so shocking and downright cruel that I will never forget: “I hate cats. If a cat is on the other side of the road, I will drive on the other side to hit it.”

I almost choked on my food, and it was obvious that she’d been heard, because Miss YB’s friend had been turned my way, noticed my expression, and whispered something about me hearing her. But Miss YB didn’t care. She just shrugged it off, snorted and laughed.

How could anyone think of doing such a thing to a harmless animal, much less boast about it in a public restaurant? I thought of my own baby kitties and how I had to bury one of them last year when he was hit by a car (perhaps Miss Yellow Baggage was in the neighborhood?). At that point I was ready to leave. My stomach was upset and I didn’t even enjoy the rest of my meal. All I wanted to do was get out of there and away from this big yellow baggage monster, and so I did.

I knew that if she were telling the truth about purposely running over cats, that she is or has broken the law, possibly even committed a felony. I looked up the statutes and I was right:

Florida Statute:
828.12. Cruelty to animals
(1) A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.

(2) A person who intentionally commits an act to any animal which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

My entire drive home I thought about how awful that experience was. I wonder what her two-letter company would think about that? So I decided I would out her on my blog.

See, what Miss Yellow Baggage did not realize is that she was not sitting next to some ordinary person eating her lunch. She was sitting next to a cat loving, animal shelter volunteer who also just so happens to be a writer – and one that isn’t afraid to out her.

De-Basing Your Own Self Worth

We often base our own self worth by how the people we love treat us. While I was rummaging through some old journals, I flipped through one of them from a few years ago. In it, I’d been writing some answers to questions from a self-help book. Some of the questions related to describing our relationships to our fathers. I thought I’d share a tidbit of what I wrote at the time:

My father is someone I haven’t spoken to in three years. I am told that he thinks I’m a lesbian. I don’t know what made him think that, but I’m pretty sure some socially incapacitated person in the family started that rumor. He also thinks that I’m going to hell for not believing in his religion, even though he’s never asked me what my beliefs are.

I believe that through my father’s eyes, I am just like my mother (whatever that means), but I believe what my father sees is completely different from the real me, and I believe he bases his beliefs on what others tell him. I wish he’d accept me for who I am and not treat me like an outsider or a bad person – because what I am is spiritual, hardworking, loving and accepting of people that he perceives as different.

He’s always been emotionally distant and has always downgraded my thoughts and feelings. For example, when I had a particular goal in mind for college or a career, he disagreed and insulted my decisions. It didn’t matter what I’d accomplished or how good my intentions were. How could he be so opinionated about what I do with my life? It’s not like he helped me through college, or even came to my graduation for that matter. He never even sent me a card when I got married. 

My father doesn’t even know me – how could he? He hasn’t spent one moment alone with me in over 25 years. Not even a lunch together. Maybe I should have been born a boy named Jesus, as long as it’s not pronounced “hey soos”.

How did the way my father treat me affect my life? Quite profoundly, actually. Before I met my wonderful husband, I had dated my share of emotionally unavailable men. For many years, I couldn’t figure out why. I kept thinking something was wrong with me. It wasn’t me that was flawed – it was my choices. After years of counseling, self-help books, and acknowledging that I am worthy, I finally learned that I do not have to base my self worth on what anyone thinks of me – including my own father or anyone else in my family. I had to change my pattern of thinking and some of the patterns of my actions so that I did not keep repeating the same redundant relationships over and over.

I see so many other women that are just like me, except that they are still stuck in the rut of not recognizing the destructive patterns that debase our self worth. It’s a vicious cycle that must be broken if you’re ever going to find the happiness we all want. It is not impossible to break these patterns, but it does require some work – and it will not happen overnight or in a month. Sometimes it takes several months or even years. It’s all about what you want with your life. Isn’t your happiness worth it?

Keep Your Hate Filled Thoughts to Yourself and Being Anonym-ass

I have to do a little venting, so here it goes.

I love a good joke, and I can handle the ones that are humorously ‘wrong’ in some form or another (i.e. Family Guy), but one thing I don’t care to hear is a person’s hatred towards others. The next time you feel the need to gossip about someone, consider whom you’re telling. Things will get back to others, and unless you’re stating facts about something, your malicious chatter makes you look like a complete obsessed lunatic.

I completely appreciate a good spiritual message or thought of the day. But please refrain from ringing my doorbell and telling me that I’m never going to make it through the gates of Heaven because I don’t go to your church or live the life that you want for me. It’s my life, and I like it that way.

I really don’t care about other people’s political agendas, and more than likely I will never ask you yours unless I feel we are on the same page and can have an enlightening adult conversation. I personally think there are better things to care about in life. With that in mind, please deter from sending me your hate-filled emails about how you think our President sucks because I voted, you voted, but someone obviously lost. Get over it.

While I’m on the topic of our President, I also don’t care to hear your racist attitudes and the use of the “N” word. I find it offensive and harsh, and the funny thing is I am finding more and more people who call themselves Christians using the word more than anyone. I don’t care what color a person is and I don’t think Jesus did either. If you have issues with that, please keep it to yourself. This isn’t the 1950’s anymore, and it makes you look ignorant. I have friends of all colors; maybe you should try it sometime, too.

If you are a homophobe, that is your problem, not mine. I don’t care about your opinions and what gay people do behind closed doors or even out in the open for that matter. So please abstain from ranting to me on how much you hate gays because you are really missing out on having some great friends.

While I also appreciate good, constructive criticism, you can take your anonymous negative comments and shove them where the sun won’t rise. Sitting behind a computer and posting rude things anonym-ASSly is total douchebagism. Grow some nads.

From now on – whether they are known or anonymous – any hate-filled messages will be ignored and deleted. ‘Nuff said.

25 Years Ago – A Child’s Point of View on Space Shuttle Challenger

Told from a child’s point of view, this is what happened 25 years ago on the day the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up:

It is a chilly, but sunny afternoon. After gym class I head to history. I hear an annoying boy named John yelling in the courtyard.

“The space shuttle blew up!”

He points to the sky at a puffy looking cloud in the air. John is known to say and do things for attention, so I don’t believe him.

“Shut up!” I say. “That’s just a cloud.”

“No, I swear!” he says.

John isn’t lying. I arrive to history class. Our teacher, Mrs. Still, has the television on and announces that the Space Shuttle Challenger has exploded into the sky, killing all seven astronauts, including the first teacher in space. I have never seen a teacher cry until I see Mrs. Still. The entire class sits in awe as we watch the tragedy on the news for the entire fifty minutes. Mrs. Still tells us that it is an historical day in our lives, and that in the future we will always remember what we were doing on the day that the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up.

Excerpt from Unheard: a memoir
©2010 Susanna Hartigan
All Rights Reserved

Thanks, But No Thanks – You’re Texting My Life Away

Texting doesn’t work for all of us.

Include me in that statement. I think that this texting thing has become completely out of control. Everywhere I go are people texting – blocking the grocery store aisle, driving and weaving down the highway – you name it. If you’re going to text, fine, but please realize there is an entire world of living people around you that don’t appreciate your rudeness and disregard for other people’s safety.

Is texting rude? In many cases, yes. I don’t mind a text here or there, but I do not want to have an entire conversation over text messaging that a simple phone call would take less than five minutes to resolve. If someone has a question that requires a simple yes or no answer, fine. But don’t expect me to send my address or other personal information, weekly schedule, or paragraphs over a text. I don’t mind a picture text once in a while, but not of every new costume you purchase each week for each your six pet Chihuahuas. First of all, I don’t own one of those fancy phones and I’m not on any plans that offer me more than 250 texts per month – and I plan to keep it that way. I like to keep things simple.

A couple of years ago I visited a friend that had a really bad habit of texting while driving on the highway in the left lane at 50 mph. She didn’t care that she was blocking traffic. She didn’t notice that she was weaving all over the road. I was her passenger, hanging on for dear life, and I have never put myself in that position again.

Not long ago on my drive home from the grocery store I noticed a teenager walking across a busy street in the neighborhood. He was completely oblivious that there were cars coming his way. Why? Because he was texting. And when he looked and saw oncoming cars lined up, he acted as if we were doing something wrong.

Instead of having family conversation, I often witness kids texting at the dinner table among other places – for hours. Parents frequently don’t step in and say anything. I think it’s extremely rude when there is company and a kid is sitting there texting the entire time, ignoring questions because they are too focused on their technological device. Has verbal communication with the new generation completely gone out the window?

I don’t know what’s worse – watching a new generation depend on texting as their sole means of communicating or witnessing my own generation fall into the trap of technological zippermouth. If you haven’t spoken to me in several months, sending a text is probably the rudest way to contact me (besides showing up at my door unannounced). Wouldn’t it be easier to just pick up the phone and call?

For me, texting is a big NO THANKS. If you really want to communicate with me, find time to pick up the phone and call or write a letter (now known as email).

I will end this with one last thought… oops, I have to go. I have an incoming text to delete.

Shopping Sucks

This may come as a surprise to many people, but I am a woman who hates shopping. I would rather be reading a book, sitting at the beach, or writing. Shopping was something I did at the mall when I was a bored teenager. And even then I really didn’t shop because I was broke; I hung out. Today, the mall is one of the last places you’ll find me.

When I tell people I hate shopping – especially men – I get responses like, “What?! You’re a woman! Women love shopping!”

Well, not this woman. And besides, not all women are the same.

Shopping is a chore to me. It’s boring and redundant. The only time I enjoy shopping is at thrift stores because I get most of my reading material at Goodwill for only about a buck.

Shopping? You can have it.

A Letter to the Year 2010

Dear 2010,

Although you started on a Friday, which is a great way to begin a weekend and a new year, I wasn’t sure what to think of you when you started out. January was a tough month emotionally regarding several situations – especially when you took my cat. After burying our cat, when the garden above him started to bloom a few months later, I finally started to believe in you.

Twenty-ten, you allowed me to accomplish goals that I’d set for myself years ago that in recent years looked as if they would never happen. You’ve allowed for both new and old important relationships to grow and for me to realize that some of the others just shouldn’t be.

Twenty-ten, you’ve been a great year to me for closing final chapters on situations and opening new doors to others. I only hope that you are the steppingstone to your successor, 2011, which begins its new year on a Saturday – a great day to sleep get up and watch the sunrise.

Thank you for everything, 2010.


With Loss Comes Gain – A Commentary on Haiti’s Earthquake

By accident, I discovered a news story today about the Earthquake in Haiti. I am not one to turn on the television or read about world news, so this was surprising to me. This one was bound to grab my attention no matter what. It is an extreme story that no doubt will effect many people, including those who are not involved. This is the type of tragedy that, although with many devastating losses, also brings people together.

Upon viewing some videos put together by Youtube subscribers, I read many negative comments about how the Haitians deserved this. Really?!?!? I was furious at seeing these heartless replies. This type of natural event can happen to any of us at any given time, and the types of people that make those comments sure do have some life lessons ahead of them in the wake of karma. I pointed out to a few of these negative people that not everyone in Haiti is a Haitian, that many Americans are over there as well – several thousand, in fact – and many others from other countries. I had to quit reading those comments because the event itself was upsetting enough and I had to remind myself that subjecting myself to this sort of hatred wasn’t helpful to me or anyone else.

I believe there are more people in this world that are helpful and loving than there are those who are spiteful and full of hate. It’s up to our own selves to seek and find that love. And so I did. I tuned into some radio shows that revealed an outpouring of love from those who want to help. It felt good to be in spiritual alignment and agreement with groups of people I have never even met.

The people of Haiti have been through enough trauma living in a country full of poverty and corruption. This is a perfect opportunity to show the survivors that no matter where we are from, we still care as a human race. People all over the world right now are praying for the survivors in Haiti. Although we all may pray differently and believe in different truths, no matter what, the result will be the same = LOVE.