Weekend update

There’s finally a jury in the Anthony case, just a little later than the judge predicted (and right about when I predicted).  On Thursday night’s Nancy Grace, I explained the importance of getting through the jury-selection process in such painstaking fashion — we don’t want there to be an error that could be grounds for a mistrial and cause us to have to go through this whole thing all over again.   In what seemed like an obvious attempt to get out of serving on the jury, one prospective juror yelled out that Anthony “killed somebody!” and when asked to explain the outburst, told the judge a very hysterical and bogus-sounding story about how she (the prospective juror) hadn’t taken her meds for bipolar disorder that day.  Needless to say, the woman was dismissed from jury duty, but props to the judge for holding her in contempt and throwing her in jail for a couple of days for her disruptive behavior.  So, now that we have a jury — seven women (one of whom actually said during questioning that she didn’t like Nancy Grace), five men, and five alternates — selected, we can look forward to opening arguments this week.  Opening arguments are critically important — jury research shows that, more often than not, jurors’ votes end up being consistent with what they thought at the end of opening arguments.  Meanwhile, in a sadly-reminiscent case, a six-year-old boy’s body was found dumped on a Maine roadside, and his mother, apparently overwhelmed by single-parenting based on an e-book that she published about her sleep troubles, has since confessed to administering a lethal dose of medication to the boy.  The boy’s name, in case you’re following along after the piece I wrote last year about the unusual names of the kids involved in these tragedies:  Camden.

That brings me to what I believe is a commonly-held but incorrect assumption that Geraldo Rivera made on Friday night’s O’Reilly Factor.  Rivera opined that there must be something wrong with Casey Anthony, some “complexity,” that would be sufficiently mitigating as to spare her the death penalty if she’s convicted.  That’s not necessarily true though.  She may well have something “wrong” with her, like the rumored residual effects of past sexual abuse, and if so, it might account for her becoming hyper-selfish, hyper-sexual, etc.  But, it very well may do nothing to mitigate a conscious decision on Anthony’s part to harm her child.  As I’ve speculated repeatedly, I think Anthony probably tried to sedate the child in order to go out and party with a man/men, overdosed the child accidentally, panicked, and dumped the body in a manner made to look like a kidnapping in order to avoid punishment.  Now, if that’s the truth, that would be mitigating information because it would negate pre-meditated murder.  Unless she takes the witness stand and testifies to that, though, or confesses it in a last-second plea deal, she may actually be the one sealing her own fate by allowing herself to be convicted of a more serious crime in an ill-advised effort to avoid paying for any crime at all.  In other words, it’s very possible that the truth is the only real potentially-mitigating factor in play in the Anthony case.

I recently wrote about the porn stash found at Usama bin Laden’s house and how it shows that most supposedly-religious terrorists really aren’t that religious — they’re mostly just run-of-the-mill psychopaths who use religion as an excuse to act out their psychopathy.  In that piece, I referenced a Wall Street Journal online article by Irshad Manji in which she echoed my repeated call for mainstream Muslims to vocally, unanimously denounce all so-called “Islamic” jihadists as totally unsupported by them (mainstream Muslims) and by their faith.  On Thursday, Manji gave an interview to Fox News Channel in which she again echoed a point that I’ve made many times — that young Muslim terrorists are mostly just disaffected, restless, disenfranchised ne’er-do-wells looking for something to do, not really any more idealistic nor any more religious than American street-gang members who might claim (in equally-bogus fashion) to be “Christians.”  In Thursday’s interview, Manji put it well when she said that young Muslim men who join groups like Al Qaeda are typically in it mostly for “free food, purposeful activity, and a release valve for their anger.”

And while we’re on the subject of the Middle East, this is a little bit afield of my typical Lawpsyc topics, but I have to say that I thought President Obama’s call last Thursday for Israel to return to its 1967 borders was one of his more naive statements since taking office, yet totally consistent with what I predicted about him in my piece “Psychobamanalysis,” written a couple of years ago.  I’ve been to Israel and studied its history carefully.  When Israel had its previous (1967) borders, it was just nine miles wide at its narrowest point, and it has been invaded multiple times by neighboring Arab countries bent on wiping it off the map.  When it repelled the 1967 effort to destroy it, it seized a “buffer zone” of territory to make a future invasion more difficult.  Yes, a lot of people live in the buffer zone, and yes, the living conditions aren’t great for many/most of them, but it’s extremely overly-simplistic to just ask Israel to hand the territory back.  It’s not Israel that caused the problem, after all.  After World War II, the international community had agreed on where Israel’s borders should be.  Israel honored that decision.  Its Arab neighbors didn’t.  That’s why, especially when you’re President, you can’t base decisions and pronouncements like this on emotion.  You have to do what’s right, whether it feels good or not.  The plight of the Palestinians is the fault of Israel’s Arab neighbors.  They’re the ones who cost the Palestinians their land (by invading Israel), so they’re the ones who really owe the Palestinians some land to call their own.  When you invade your neighbor, and you end up being defeated, you really don’t have a right to be surprised or even to complain about it if your neighbor ends up keeping something of yours.  Demanding that Israel simply give it all back now would be like Mexico demanding that the U.S. just give Texas back.  Sure, we were attacked, defended ourselves, and ended up keeping some of the attacker’s territory, but hey, it’s been a long time, and there are a lot of poor Mexicans, so that makes it right…right?  Wrong.

And finally, did you watch the show Taboo about the grown man who acts like a baby, drinks out of a bottle, wears diapers, etc.?  Well, you’re not going to believe this, but that guy’s apparently getting Social Security disability payments.  Yes, his “baby fetish” is supposedly a disability that prevents him from working.  Oh but wait, he apparently is able to use a computer well enough to be the webmaster of his own web site while sitting at home getting checks that came, in part, out of your hard-earned paycheck.  This sort of thing — not the baby thing specifically but Social Security fraud — is going on all across the country, and it’s costing us many billions of dollars each and every year.  I’ve done disability determination evaluations, and I can tell you first-hand that the number of people who say they can’t work is far greater than the number of people who really can’t work.  Unfortunately though, many of the folks who make those determinations for a full-time living seem to be folks who went into that line of work because they’re inclined to believe that the number of people in the latter category is much higher than it really is.  Thus, the bogus baby guy can sit in his highchair and play on his computer all day while drinking warm milk out of a bottle, courtesy of you and me.  It’s enough to make one want to cry!

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