By: Leslie A. Zukor
Like many of you, I am bothered by Caylee Anthony’s murder. From Casey Anthony’s lies to the grisly details of the homocide, the inhumanity of Caylee’s mother has been striking. Equally shocking, however, has been the financial support given to the accused murderer. WFTV in Orlando reports that Casey Anthony, mother of the murdered little girl, has received more than $1,200 in donations from across the country.
While it’s one thing to be generous to an accused murderer, given today’s economy, it’s astounding that Casey Anthony has received so much financial support. The recession has been hitting charities hard, and many non-profits are having to cut their services. For example, the New York City Latino Non-profit, Latin Tech, which teaches computer skills to Hispanics, has lost 4/5ths of its $700,000 operating budget. And according to one website, non-profits’ funding could fall short $110,000,000,000, by the end of next year.
As a person who is working toward starting her own non-profit – the Freethought Books Project – I know how difficult it can be to raise money. From September through December, we only collected $100 worth of donations, and since the New Year, we have yet to raise a penny. Why is it so easy for Casey Anthony to get over $1,200 – plus legal fees – when my organization, which donates secular, progressive, and educational materials to prisoners, mental institutions, and others in need, is having difficulty staying afloat?
The answer, in my estimation, is publicity. After all, it is sensationalism that keeps the ratings up, and entices people to buy the newspapers. The disappearance of Caylee Anthony has made headlines across the country, since the little girl was reported missing in late July. And what better way to connect to the spotlight than by donating one’s money to Anthony’s jail account?
In short, the difference between the Freethought Books Project and Casey Anthony is that the latter’s actions have captivated the public, in a way that our social service never could. And in our Godless, amoral universe, it is only human nature to be more sympathetic to a murderer – who is that much more real to us by being on the news every night – than to an organization, which, although it gets little publicity, tangibly benefits those whom it serves.