In July 2007 my husband and I witnessed a horrific thing. We were living in a town in Guatemala and someone made a claim against one of the neighbors that he was a "kidnapper who sold kids' body parts to the US for organ donations". Soon, there was a mass of people around his house all in a frenzy. Everyone had judged this man and basically wanted the death penalty. No one was really interested in any facts they were in a frenzy to execute judgment.
They broke into the man's house, drug him outside, tied him up and beat him almost to death. They cheered, whooped and hollered as they all bounced around kicking him almost jubilantly in a circle with him in the center on the ground lying there quietly bleeding. Everyone was all smiles as this man was "getting what he deserved". Anyone who dared suggest that maybe this man wasn't a baby-stealer was threatened with the same treatment. After they were satisfied with beating this man someone went and got a gallon of gasoline and doused him with it and then lit him on fire then stood around and watched him as laid there helplessly on the ground with his hands and ankles tied…writhing slowly and oddly silently as he burned.
Americans hear this story, or see the pictures of that evening, with all the brown-faced poor villagers and immediately think of these primitive 3rd world country people as brutal, dangerous, savage even. People very different than modern, educated Americans. People always asked us why we didn't "get out of there right away!" because the town and the people were SO DANGEROUS!
Hmph. Sure. Those uneducated 3rd world country people were very brutal, savage and dangerous over that event, it's true, but reality is they are no different from Americans.
You go onto the message boards where people are discussing Casey Anthony's case and they are just as brutal, dangerous and savage…in their own Westernized way. In Guatemala the people know they can get away with doing atrocious things and the law will not get them…but here in the US we all know we'll be caught and persecuted. But, I think that's the only thing that separates they who burn someone alive and us...the external law. Remove that threat of punishment and I bet you'd see a very different USA...(oh, wait! We did have a USA like that once...remember the Salem Witch Trials? Remember the lynchings of black people in the 1900's?)
Just read some of those discussions about Casey Anthony... you see hundreds of "educated" and "modern" Americans "mobbing her", "beating her", and "setting her on fire", and even "dismembering her", with their words which sometimes graphically describe the horrors they'd love to see happen to her...even before all the evidence is in. Their hearts are the same as those who literally burned a man alive before the evidence was in.
Terri Irwin wrote in her book (which was awesome), "Steve & Me":
"I have seen Tasmanian devils battle over a carcass. I have seen lionesses crowding a kill, dingoes on the trail of a feral piglet, an adult croc thrashing its prey to pieces. But never, in all the animal world, have I witnessed anything to match the casual cruelty of the human being."
(Pic outta' the newspaper the day after the mob burned that man...it incited yet a bigger frenzy as truck-load after truck-load of villagers flooded into town seeking others to punish for the crime of kidnapping...I have actual pics of the night of the burning, but I guess I shouldn't post those...)