It tears your heart out. A small child is dead. A nanny from another country is accused of fatally beating the child to death.
Sadly, we've been here before and already know most of what will follow. We remember the 1997 death of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen while he was in the care of teenaged British nanny Louise Woodward. She was convicted of second-degree murder in the violent shaking death of infant Matthew. The indelible image of a bruised and swollen baby on life support is imbedded in our memory. We still feel the shock from Judge Hiller Zobel's decision to reduce the conviction to involuntary manslaughter and release Woodward from jail.
What we may have forgotten is the brutal and very public dissection of the lives of all involved.
Over the course of the next year or so, we will be bombarded with the minutia of every detail surrounding the death of one-year-old Rehma Sabir. We will callously debate over coffee the judgment of parents who left their child in a stranger's care. We'll villainize the accused and presume guilt before a trial of her peers. We'll again become self-appointed experts in forensic science, the rules of evidence, and human behavior. We will all have an opinion and will exert ourselves to defend our positions.
But, this unspeakable tragedy could go much deeper than the Woodward case. There will be a political component. Thirty four-year-old Aisling McCarthy Brady is an illegal alien. She came here on a 90 day visa in 2002 and never left. She's known to law enforcement as the subject of two restraining orders. It's not complete fantasy to assert that Rehma Sabir would be alive today if Aisling McCarthy Brady had been sent packing ten years ago. In addition, when Louise Woodward was on trial the internet was still in its infancy and there was no social media. Just think about all the twists and turns of the Woodward trial. Now try replaying them through the amplification of Twitter and Facebook.
I was just as guilty as everyone else who got caught up in the phenomenon that was the Woodward trial. I will now make my living commenting on the Brady case. However, tonight, I can't stop thinking about that poor innocent little girl. I hope to remember this feeling in the days and weeks to come.