Alienation, News and Current Events, People, Psychology

Casey Anthony

Doug over at Groping the Elephant posted on the Casey Anthony trial this morning.  The jury’s verdicts of not guilty to murder, manslaughter, and child abuse, have puzzled plenty of folks: Apparently, Anthony was already convicted — by the media — before the jury overturned that popular conviction.  But, as Doug notes, the popular conviction of Anthony seems to have been poorly reasoned:

…the thing I most heard about throughout her trial was how guilty she looked, with comments like “she just looks guilty,” “no real mom would have acted the way she did (partying and living it up) while her daughter was missing, which proves she is guilty,” “her facial expressions during testimony shows she really is guilty,” etc.

Of course, those things have nothing to do with whether the woman was guilty, as charged, of murdering her daughter.

Doug’s post — which is worth reading — brought to mind a line of research pursued by John T. Molloy some years ago.  I don’t have his account of the research available to me, but if I recall, Molloy had a humane reason for embarking on it.

At one time, he had a gentleman working for him who he found kind of creepy.  The man did exceptional work — which is why Molloy refused to fire him.  But he was someone who intensely bothered Molloy.

I forget now exactly how it happened, but Molloy eventually caught on to the fact the man was a “mixed signaler”.  His facial and body expressions were sadly out of whack with his words.  Much like someone who grins when announcing the death of his grandmother, or who frowns when hearing your daughter is getting married to a wonderful man.

Mixed signalers, according to Molloy, were most likely raised to be mixed signalers.  That is, they are merely imitating the communication style of their parents or others who were around them as they were growing up.  They do it unconsciously and they know no better than to do it.

Unfortunately, mixed signalers are often distrusted by others, and they tend to have life-long trouble making friends and keeping jobs.  They tend to get few breaks in life from other people, and — like many folks with exceptionally poor social skills — they sometimes end up dysfunctional.  Although, as in the case of the man who worked for Molloy, they also at times learn to partly compensate for their mixed signaling by working very hard at their jobs.

So, since reading Doug’s post this morning, I’ve been wondering whether Casey Anthony might be a mixed signaler.  She seems to have some of the most frequent problems of mixed signalers, and so it seems possible to me she might be afflicted with it.  But what do you think?  Is that a possibility?

22 thoughts on “Casey Anthony”

  1. I saw more of that case than I cared to when I was up on Toledo last month. My stepmom was addicted to it. This means I need to call her later so she can vent — and I have no doubt she will! It seemed to me that she was guilty. There were too many questions that had no clear-cut answers so I’m not really surprised at the verdict. This whole thing proves that justice is blind,


  2. Fits the situation to a “T”. Especially the display of her dysfunctional family. And, again, it is the burden of the State, with its unlimited resources, to PROVE, beyond a reasonable doubt, the guilt of the accused. I did not see such proof offered in the little evidence that the media portrayed.



    1. For the most part, I’ve been taking a break from the media, apart from blogs, so I haven’t seen much about her family. I’ve heard they’re pretty messed up though.


  3. I am so tired of this stupid case. It leads every goddamned newscast because Americans are so goddamned stupid they don’t care about the important things.

    Like the goddamned thousands of other children who go missing and no one gives a goddamned damn because the involved children are not precious, white and cute.


  4. The media’s and the public’s obsession with this case says much about our society and it’s not flattering.

    On the other hand, I was glad to see the very public acquittal for a couple of reasons. First, the government’s circumstantial case sucked. Therefore, I was relieved to see a jury — under intense bloodthirsty media scrutiny, no less — do the right thing. That took some courage and integrity. Thank god no matter how much the very ungracious Nancy Grace exploits tragedy while manifesting her offensive ignorance about constitutional principles, there are still people in this country who will do the right thing and understand what “proof beyond a reasonable doubt means” — and it ain’t that burning in the bosoms that some people take as an irrefutable sign from Jesus.

    Second, the parasites who were really into this case were out for Anthony’s blood, buying into and even enabling the irresponsible trial by media drama. It’s like those freaks who used to get off on public hangings. They were denied their bloodlust and I hope they choke on it. (Is that too harsh? But dayum, it’s honest. God these people make me puke.)


    1. Some years ago, CD, I would have disturbing dreams about being tried by “twelve of my peers”. I hadn’t done anything to warrant the worry, but the mere thought of the average person in this country sitting in judgement of me was disturbing enough. Yet, so far as I can see, the jury in this case did the right thing — even though some of the reports say that some of them felt “sick to their stomachs” when voting for acquittal.


  5. Don’t know about the mixed signalling, Paul. I didn’t watch the trial. However, when I read about it this morning I felt relieved that our society was not going to put a twenty-something year old woman to death.


  6. First, Paul, let me thank you for the kind referral. I really appreciate it. You bring up an interesting theory with the “mixed signaler” idea. I don’t know enough about it to state an opinion. But I will say this. I once dated a woman who had been repeatedly sexually abused by her father when she was growing up. In so many ways her behavior was similar to Casey’s, including irresponsible mothering. It is so very hard to look at people who are mentally disturbed and compare their actions to what a “normal” person would do in the same situation. It’s just so very hard to know what is really going in any other person’s mind.


    1. Over the years, I’ve known several people who were sexually abused as children, and it seems there have been commonalities in their behavior as adults — commonalities that are quite rare in the people I know who were not sexually abused as children. I can see how it might be argued that her behavior indicates that sort of abuse — although I’m not that familiar with her behavior beyond what I’ve read on a few blogs.


  7. I didn’t follow the case at all, so I can’t comment on whether Ms. Anthony is a mixed signaler. I have, however, known a person who had this issue. It is disconcerting to say the least. He would smile whenever we started talking about something serious. First I thought it was nervousness on his part. Then I wondered about Asperger’s.


  8. I don’t know much about this person or her case. I wish I was surprised by the media coverage and the popular following. Someone described her as the most hated woman in America. Sounds like she’s been scapegoated.
    What happened was horrible, but 2 similar and perhaps more horrific cases are in the courts right now in our area. The killers in our local cases are not talked about at great length in the media or public forums, and I don’t even know their names.
    Also, I don’t really want to.


      1. She is being scapegoated, it’s almost like the poor economy, slow job growth, and political stagnation is her fault. Oh, wait, no, that’s just the important issues that this case took time away from. I think the media should be banned from covering ongoing criminal trials. Covering them after-the-fact is fine, but not during the trial. I think this should be the lesson here.


  9. I must say that Nancy Grace person is utterly soulless. What an absolutely vicious tongue she has. How totally judgmental — as though she were God Himself.


  10. I know a good deal about the case, first from watching with my mother when the case was first aired back in 2008, and then listening to testimony from the trial with my boss. I think your theory of Casey Anthony being a mixed signaler is spot on. I think that her disjointed body language, her propensity to lie, and the age and innocence of the dead child all added up to a overzealous, bloodthirsty group of spectators (who, as I believe most Americans are, prefer a society built on retributive justice than fairness, to reference one of your more recent posts).

    While her partying and lying did not sit right with me, I think the prosecution’s evidence of the duct tape found on the child’s remains, and the 85 google searches on chloroform (and neck breaking) are what really made me think that Casey was indeed guilty. But I do not think that those pieces of evidence were enough to convict her beyond a reasonable doubt, not by a long shot.

    Your post is somewhat of an epiphany for me. As a general rule, I am easy to get along with, and try not to judge people negatively until they give me a reason to, but sometimes I meet someone who just creeps me out, completely unprovoked. I could never really put my finger on it, and usually chalked it up to some sort of intuition. After reading your post here, I think I must to re-evaluate all those unsettled feelings I had, and measure them against this new concept you have given me. Thank you.


    1. Hi Colleen! Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.

      In my experience, you won’t get rid of those feelings of disquiet, but in figuring out where they are coming from, you are better able to avoid being prejudiced or distracted by them.


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