Earliest recollection of tragedy QUESTIONS

I know after the Whitman shootings, I was always looking up at tall buildings for several weeks.

One of the facts about 9/11 is that if you’re young enough, it was the singularly shocking event. But if you’re old enough, you might recall Pearl Harbor, various assassinations, Chernobyl or the Challenger disaster. I don’t remember Pearl Harbor, but I do recall two Kennedy assassinations and those of Medgar Evers and of ML King, Jr when I was growing up. It was Evers’ death I first recall.

But the event that actually terrorized me more Continue reading “Earliest recollection of tragedy QUESTIONS”

D is for Death Penalty

Unfortunately, in 1944 South Carolina, George Stinney wasn’t afforded the same opportunity.

Questions: Who was the youngest person executed in the 20th century in the United States? And what ever possessed me to think about that?

Let me take the second question first. A friend and colleague recently saw the 1994 Oscar-nominated film Heavenly Creatures, directed by Peter Jackson. “Based on the true story of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker [Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey, both first-time movie actresses], two close friends who share a love of fantasy and literature, who conspire Continue reading “D is for Death Penalty”

I is for Ides

Only the ides of March, May, July, and October are on the 15th; the rest are on the 13th.


Vincenzo Camuccini-The Ides of March. 1800.

When one hears of ides, it is almost always the Ides of March, which is March 15. And when thinks of the Ides of March, one inevitably contemplates the assassination of Julius Caesar by his foes and so-called friends in 44 B.C.

Of course, the telling of the tale by William Shakespeare is the most well known portrayal of the leader’s murder. There are at least 27 different movies and TV shows named Julius Caesar in the IMDB.

An iteration of Caesar’s death I hadn’t been famiiliar with Continue reading “I is for Ides”

K is for Kill

Surely, self-defense is often raised as a defense of war, just as it would be for an individual under attack.


I was attempting to have a theological conversation with my mother a few years back. She demurred, “I just follow the Ten Commandments.” Yeah, I said, but what do they mean? Take that one that says, “Thou shalt not kill?” How does one interpret that in today’s world?

For instance, according to some sources, “the Hebrew word that was used in this case for ‘kill’ (or murder) was the somewhat rare term rasah… Although its exact meaning has defied explanation, in other contexts it could refer to killing that was inherently evil… However, the same term could also have applied to unintentional manslaughter…, blood vengeance…, the legal execution of a criminal …” Continue reading “K is for Kill”