If you want to add yet another absurd law to the books, some no doubt very nice people have one on offer-Caylee’s Law, which would make it a felony not to report that a child is missing within 24 hours. Around 1.1 million people have signed a petition to get state governments to enact Caylee’s Law. The law, of course, is named after Caylee Anthony, whose mother Casey just beat a murder rap.
The impulse to do something when a child dies is understandable. But Caylee’s law is just one more bit of clutter for the law books. Such a law would not have prolonged Caylee Anthony’s brief life. For those of us who persist in believing the jury’s not guilty verdict was wrong, the problem wasn’t that Casey Anthony failed to report her daughter was missing. We still believe the transgression here was something far greater.
Most parents automatically report a child missing. They don’t need a superfluous law to tell them to do something they are all too eager to do. They are more often likely to complain that the police wait too long before beginning to hunt than to fail to let the police know about their child. So is there harm in enacting a superfluous law?
Yes, the law books are already cluttered with such laws. Every time I get a prescription filled at the pharmacy, I have to sign that I have either been counseled or rejected counseling about the drug. I sign without really reading the material, knowing that somewhere some do-gooder wanted to make sure your pharmacist gave you detailed information before turning you loose on the world with Augmentin.
Disappointment with the non-guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony trial seems to be driving some of the Caylee’s Law supporters, which strikes me as ironic because, if you believe that Casey was guilty, you know that such a law would not have made any difference. Even if Caylee’s Law had existed before little Caylee disappeared, the child’s fate would be the same. It wasn’t the failure to report Caylee missing that most of us hold against Casey.
Fox’s John Stossel gets to the heart of the issue: “Having laws passed after children who tragically die is just a bad way to make law.”
Many of us feel bad about the verdict-but passing laws should not become a form of therapy. There are already too many stupid laws on the books.