Elizabeth Smart has what Casey Anthony needs

Two days after her toddler daughter was last seen alive, Casey Anthony asked to borrow a shovel from a neighbor, reportedly to dig up some bamboo.  Casey, 25, is now on trial for first-degree murder in the death of her daughter. Caylee Anthony, 2, was last seen alive on June 16, 2008.

The Florida-tyke wasn’t reported missing by her mother until a month later. A month that Casey  spent partying. That’s not alleged — there  is plenty of photographic evidence that clearly shows Casey having a good time. Whenever her friends inquired after her daughter’s whereabouts, Casey reportedly gave them various answers — Caylee was with a nanny. Caylee was at a theme park. Caylee was at the beach.

Never once did she mention to anyone that her daughter had drowned. Nor did she fit the image one would typically have of a bereaved parent.

Three days into the highly-publicized trial in the Orlando courtroom, Casey’s friends testified that she had been in good spirits throughout the month of June, 2008. She was the classic good-time party girl.

The case has drawn nationwide interest. CNN’s Nancy Grace and Geraldo Rivera were both in attendance for the opening day of trial. Dozens of people with absolutely no connection to the case stood in line eager to claim a  seat in what Nancy Grace refers to as  “Tot-Mom trial.”


Casey Anthony’s defense attorney opened her trial on Monday with a startling statement — Caylee Anthony was not murdered. The toddler suffered an accidental drowning in the family’s pool. Moreover, the defense said, Casey’s father, George, helped cover up the drowning by burying his granddaughter in a wooded area not far from the family home.

The defense has yet to explain exactly why anyone would need to cover up an accidental drowning. Or why, if a child died accidentally in the backyard pool, her decomposed body would be found with duct-tape wrapped around her mouth. The exact cause of Caylee’s death could not be determined due to deterioration of the body. The girl’s body was not recovered from its shallow grave until six months after she went missing.

Oh. Wait. There’s more. The defense alleges that George Anthony sexually molested Casey Anthony throughout her childhood. A charge that left George Anthony visibly upset and left Nancy Grace shaking her head and asking: If Casey’s father molested her throughout her childhood, why in the world would she then repeatedly leave her toddler daughter alone with him? I’m sure the defense will think of some nebulous answer for all that.  They’ll have to if they are to have any hope of keeping the Tot-Mom out of prison.

Casey, who has cried a great deal over the past few days, seems to finally understand that she’s in a bad way. She didn’t shed tears during that June when Caylee first went missing. Casey’s friends told the jury uthat she was “peppy”, happy even.

As far as Casey is concerned — she’s the victim in this case. Just listen:
I can’t help but contrast the Casey trial to another very highly-publicized trial that came to a close this week when Brian David Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and raping Salt Lake City’s Elizabeth Smart.  In 2002, the then 14-year-old girl was kidnapped from her bedroom by Mitchell, who had worked briefly as a handyman for her family. Smart was held captive for 9-months, handcuffed to a tree, or locked in a dug-out. She was raped repeatedly and subjected to multiple forms of abuse.

Rather miraculously, Elizabeth Smart does not identify as a victim. She has come out of that whole ordeal with a resolve that is admirable.  She still believes in good in the world and is determined to be a voice for change. She is a vocal advocate for missing children throughout the nation. Despite all the trauma of her long captivity, Elizabeth Smart has managed to retain a sense of gratitude and optimism.

How do you do it? reporters ask. How do you manage to rise about all that you’ve been through?

“By helping those around you,” Smart says. “By lifting those around you up, you lift yourself up as well.”

There is a stark contrast between Casey Anthony — who sees herself a victim even when she has never really been one — and Elizabeth Smart, who has been a victim, yet, does not identify herself as such. Perhaps the most telling difference between the two young women is this:  Casey Anthony lives to serve herself; Elizabeth Smart lives a life in service to others.

Elizabeth Smart’s life brings to mind the words of Jesus: “No greater love has any man than this, that a man give up his life for his friends.” John 15: 13.  We commonly think of that scripture when referring to men dying in the heat of a battle. But it’s about so much more than death. It’s about intentionally living one’s life in a way that honors others and the God who created us all.

Elizabeth Smart understands that a life lived in such a way sets a person free, truly free.

Casey Anthony, on the other hand,  is willing to throw her own father under the bus if it means she’ll walk out of that prison. While her lawyers may sway a jury in her favor, Casey Anthony will never be a free woman. As long as she sees continues to adorn herself in deceitfulness and a victim mentality, Casey Anthony will always be held hostage to her own selfish desires.

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  • Awesome blog entry, Karen!

  • Todd Michael Greene

    Very interesting comparison. One suggestion, the Scripture you quoted was spoken by Christ Himself, not a disciple.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Thanks … fixed. I’ll blame it on the 2-3 a.m. writing schedule

  • I applaud Elizabeth Smart for making a conscious decision not to let what happened to her determine who she is and who she will become. It would be a terrible shame if evil had extinguished the light she so brightly shines. As for Casey Anthony, that’s a conundrum. Are sociopaths born or bred? Or both?

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      They don’t call it practicing evil for nothing, you know…

  • Terri

    I’m from Utah and I have a few friends, who know Elizabeth and her family quite well. She is nothing, less than Elegant, Intellegent,Beautiful and very loyal to God and her religion. You can’t even put these two young women in the same sentence, they’re like “The Dark Side Vs The Light of Good.