At 2:05 today I began watching live footage. I was at work and I shouldn’t have been watching, I know, but I couldn’t not. I had to, at least just for a few minutes. I hadn’t watched even one moment of the trial leading up to today, besides the clips on the 11 o’clock news occasionally, but today I simply had to tune in. I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and I had a lump in my throat while I sat there watching the gallery of whoever was filling the seats in that courtroom. As the clock ticked onward, the sick feeling and the lump made way for a hotness behind my eyes. I had nothing invested in the outcome – I don’t know the accused, I didn’t know the victim, and the justice system isn’t mine – but at that moment it meant the world to me. I was consumed with worry, with preemptive disappointment and shame, with a spark of anger I wasn’t sure was justified.
And then it was. In an instant, I felt my heart sink and my faith in humanity crumble. I sat there staring at the screen, lost, because what could I do? Who could I yell at that could right all of the wrongs? Where could I send my money to fix this? What bargain could I make to bring back that sweet little girl? There was nothing. There is nothing. Today, we failed that little girl once again.
It’s not my concern whether or not justice was served. Whether the not guilty verdict was correct or a gross mistake wasn’t what pained me so. If she didn’t do it, fine. Then she didn’t do it. But someone did. She didn’t accidentally drown. Someone did this to this beautiful child, this baby, and that person did not hear “of the charge of murder in the first degree, we, the jury, find the defendant GUILTY.” No one heard that. That person is free to roam the streets, free to work and earn a living, to start or raise a family, to have friends, to laugh, to be loved. That person is free to kill again. If not now, soon enough.
That little girl did nothing to deserve what happened to her. Like I said, I do not for one iota believe that this was an accident. This was done TO her. She is dead because someone wanted her that way, not because of a series of unfortunate accidental events. Someone wanted this precious two year old dead and that’s just what she is. She will never become what she was meant to be, she’ll never know the love she deserved, she won’t ever be hugged or tickled again. And the grown up responsible is free.
As I sat there staring at my computer screen in disbelief, I thought about my own kids. So close in age to how old that little girl would be and how old she was when she was killed. I look at my oldest who is the age she would have been and I see everything she missed. I look at my youngest who is just a bit older than what she was when someone took her life and I think ‘how could someone even contemplate doing something so heinous to such a helpless person?’ I will never understand. I refuse to even try.
Maybe the mother did it. Maybe not. I have an opinion, but the point isn’t whether or not she did. The point is someone did. Someone took her life and whether the jury found her guilty or not, there’s nothing that can bring her back. And there is just nothing ok about any of it.
I don’t want to use the names of those involved because I’m not baiting for pageviews or anything. You’ll notice I haven’t tagged this post. I just needed to get some of this out without having to justify my sadness for someone I never met to people with opinions based on logic and the word of the law. When it comes to children, not just my own, I think with my heart, not my head and I can’t argue that.