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Caylee’s Law Petition Shows the Power of the Internet to Mobilize

By July 7, 2011

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The entire nation seemed stunned by the the not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony court case on July 5. After all, the defendant went more than 30 days without reporting the disappearance of her toddler daughter, Caylee. One Oklahoma woman decided to stand up and do something. Michelle Crowder posted a petition on Change.org entitled "Create Caylee's Law." The petition calls for a law that "will make it a federal offense for a parent or guardian to not notify law enforcement of a child going missing in a timely manner." In less than 48 hours, the petition has received more then 358, 000 signatures. According to Change.org, this is the most popular petition of all time, growing at an average of two new signatures every second.

It seems that this type of law would not be constitutional as a federal offense, but would need to fall under state jurisdiction. Indeed, numerous states, including Florida, Oklahoma, and New York, have begun looking into drafting  legislation that would mandate the timely reporting of a child who has been killed or has gone missing.

While not all cases gain he notoriety of the Anthony trial, this type of situation isn't as rare as we'd like to believe. Just last spring, Julianne McCrery dumped the lifeless body of her six year old son, Camden Pierce Hughes after allegedly giving him too much cough syrup by accident. The boy won the hearts many locals who set out to find out who he was and where he was from. Information traveled via email, Twitter, Facebook (Camden Pierce Hughes and R.I.P. Camden Pierce Hughes), and other platforms, as the search widened and people sought to find justice for the little boy.

Although there are those who dismiss the power of the Internet to enact real change, there is no doubt that people now turn to the platform for information, communication, and a way to rally support and action.

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