Dec 15

Julius Caesar: It’s All Greek to Me. By Lynn Greenleaf

As I sit down to write this meditation, it is December 14, 2012, the day a twenty-year-old gunman went into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in the United States, and killed twenty school kids and six of the teachers and administrators of the school.


Not all the facts are known yet about why this young man decided that it would be a good idea to commit this act. What is it that would make a young man believe that the most significant and last action he took on Earth should be killing twenty-six people and then taking his own life?

I certainly don’t know. It’s Greek to me. I know a little bit about other languages. I took four years of Latin in high school. I took two years of college French. I have been around many Spanish-speaking areas. I can recognize German, Portuguese, and Italian words when I hear them. I even learned some Arabic words when I lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for six months. Greek, however, is entirely foreign to me.

In the same way that I can’t relate to Greek, I cannot relate to this young man’s final act. Other violent acts I understand; I have screamed in frustration; Sometimes I cuss a blue streak; I have been known to lash out reflexively and hurt someone who has hurt me, accidently or on purpose. This, however, I cannot comprehend.

I am sure more “facts” will be revealed. We will learn more about what made this troubled person “tick,” but I am not sure we will ever apprehend the motivation for what seems like such an egregious deed. However, if I were to meet a Greek-speaking youth who needed my help, it would be incumbent upon me to learn how to communicate with him. In that same way, we must learn how to “speak” the language of those so disaffected by our culture that they turn to the language of rage to express themselves.

Our inability to fathom the consciousness of one who had made this type of decision cannot release us from the responsibility to continue seeking the means to learn the language of those who are alienated from society.

Reminder for the Soul: I am reminded that I have a responsibility to those who seem to be estranged from the others in their lives. I cannot use the excuse that I don’t understand. I can’t brush it off and say, “it’s Greek to me.”


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  1. drichof7

    I understand I have children and I can not fathom why someone would do this not the pain and heartbreak it is causing. However, some where along the way moral values have been lost, who do we blame the parent, the child, do we blame the one who is selling the gun, I think we can make all of the laws we want but it will not stop because it is not the weapon that kills. I believe as you say we do hold a responsibility to reach out especially to those who seem like society has left them out in the cold.

    1. Bring the Light

      drichof7, I disagree with you on one point. Technically, it is the gun that kills. Yes, the gun by itself cannot kill anyone, it needs someone operating it. But at the same time, most people cannot kill with their bare hands, and certainly they cannot cause this level of mass carnage. The NRA has for years used the slogan, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” in an attempt to absolve those who manufacture and sell guns and ammunition of any responsibility.

      But the thing to keep in mind is that no one needs to own an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. In fact, it’s generally illegal to hunt with such a weapon. And no private citizen needs to own armor-piercing bullets. But these things are manufactured and sold in the United States, and yet the manufacturers would like to absolve themselves of all responsibility when those items are used for their intended purpose, which is killing people.

      As I said in my other comment, we need to have a serious discussion about this and we need to stop listening to NRA rhetoric. No one is trying to take rifles away from deer hunters but I guarantee you that someone armed with only a deer rifle would not have been able to cause the horrific destruction of human life that we saw yesterday.

  2. Martin McCorkle

    While attempting to understand the killer seems reasonable and understanding, it fails to recognize that he is dead. I have found it hard to understand why living people do what they do, much less why the dead did what they did.
    I agree that such a pursuit would be all “Greek to me”.
    It is not, however, a strange or unusual language for Americans to understand the killing of children. Since 1973, under the “language of choice” women have killed millions of children. If you want to understand why the killer did what he did, perhaps some reflection on being pro-abortion might be instructive.
    Furthermore, to allow abortion to go on daily and not believe that the moral fabric of the nation is being ripped apart is “Greek to me.”
    The only difference between what the killer did and what abortion does is that we were forced to see what the killer did. Abortion kills behind sturdy, soundproofed walls.
    If we want to stop children from being killed, we should stop killing children.
    As for sorrow, my heart breaks everyday for those who will never taste life.
    Martin McCorkle

    1. Bring the Light

      Martin, I understand where you are coming from, but you are promoting a very “Christian” worldview here that is not shared by everyone. How do you know those aborted fetuses will never taste life, or ever had life in the first place? In some traditions, the soul does not enter the body until near the moment of birth. The body is simply the container for the soul, and although it looks like a baby when viewed on an ultrasound, it’s not really a “person” until the soul has entered. And if the soul is denied the chance to enter one container, what makes you think that it cannot possibly enter any other container for the rest of eternity?

      And let’s not forget about the billions of people, including many Americans and even many Christians, who believe that we all live multiple lifetimes, and after that death we have the opportunity to be reincarnated into another container (body).

      I understand, and to a great extent agree that abortion should not be used as just another method of birth control, if only because of the psychological impact it has on the potential mother. But I think you are dead wrong (no pun intended) in attempting to link yesterday’s tragedy with abortion. There may be reasons why the killer did what he did, though I cannot fathom what those might have been, but I would find it hard to believe that abortion was on his mind at the time.

      1. Jane

        Thanks, Bring the Light! Well-stated!

  3. Bring the Light

    I will just say that I have been feeing for a while now that as we draw closer to the Mayan calendar end date of December 21, we are going to see an increase in horrific acts by unstable individuals. I can’t even begin to reach into their minds, but I would imagine that their thinking must be something along the lines of, in another week none of this will matter anyway because we will all be gone. So perhaps they are acting on their impulses because they think it really doesn’t matter anymore. This is extremely dangerous thinking and it’s something we all need to be on the alert for.

    Personally, I could not even imagine wanting to make the families of these innocent children suffer for even a week, even if I were absolutely certain the end of the world was coming (and there is no indication at this point that December 21 will be any different from any other day). But when people get into a state where they think all hope is gone, that is when a certain percentage of them become dangerous.

    I will also add that we need to have a serious discussion about gun control in this country, and stop listening to the NRA, which primarily represents the people who manufacture and sell guns and ammunition. The second amendment was enacted back in the days of muzzle-loaded weapons, when after you fired a shot you had to stop and reload, and it would take you several seconds to do that. We did not have automatic weapons back then; in fact the six-shooter that was a staple on TV westerns hadn’t been invented yet. Back then, no one could have caused the carnage that we see today — they might have got off a single shot but after that they would likely have been tackled and stopped by bystanders, or at least people would have had time to run away.

    Canada (to name just one country) rarely sees anything like this because guns are so much more difficult to get there. Not impossible — people do go hunting in Canada — but they don’t have the free-for-all gun culture we see here in the United States. And for those folks that have been brainwashed to believe that citizens owning guns will somehow keep the government in check, I would remind them that the government has tanks (and a lot of other high powered weapons) that trump anything you might have. You are talking about the United States government here, which has the most powerful military on earth. You are not going to seriously oppose them just because you have guns. The NRA and the gun and ammo manufacturers would like people to believe that, but it’s just not true.

    For those that have the ability to bring positive energy into the world and direct it where it’s needed most, I would urge you to direct it toward those individuals that may be very unstable. Not only do we have the end of the Mayan calendar approaching, but it’s also the holiday season, which is stressful enough for many individuals. The world could use a lot of positive energy right now!

  4. Martin McCorkle

    The second amendment does not mention muskets. As for gun control, Chicago has one of the most restrictive gun law stances and yet is falling into chaos and destruction. What is not true is your notion that gun control will stop violence.

  5. Celeste

    Here’s my input on yet another tragic event in America.

    Isn’t amazing how we, in America, come together after a tragedy. We come together for a few weeks and maybe a few months. Yet, we ignore every day tragedies such as the homeless people on the street, instead of preventing it in the first place. We ignore troubled students, brush them off, and label them as psycho or ‘problem children,’ when in fact they may have parents who don’t give a damn about them (Do you know how many kids live on the streets?). These kids are fending for themselves because their parents are too wrapped up in their own lives and dramas to care about them. It takes a certain type of person to be a parent. You need to be selfless, compassionate, loving, and nurturing. There’s a reason why some men and women say, “I was born to be a father or mother.” And then, when something tragic happens, everyone is like, “Why did this happen? How did it happen?” Seriously, it’s a little late to ask these and other questions after a tragedy happens.

    I read a few articles (with a fine eye), and it seems that the 20-year-old shooter may have suffered from Aspergers. The articles stated that he was intelligent; he probably didn’t belong in a ‘public’ school. He probably would have been better off in a private (college prep or Montessori) school and or home schooled. The articles stated that his teachers ignored him. Nice. Maybe just maybe if one teacher reached out to him (maybe they did), this tragedy could have been avoided. But like I said, we don’t have ALL of the facts, yet.

    I also find it tragic that the 20-year-old shooter’s brother was accused of being the shooter when he was working in New York. Americans don’t realize that a person’s ID can be stolen. Do you know how many companies sell identity theft services for a premium price? Also, ‘being innocent’ before proven guilty went right out the window. Let’s get ALL of the facts before we persecute someone.

    It’s getting a little old that we can’t see that we as a society are to blame for the tragedies that occur in our country and around the world. If we really wanted to stop the insanity of senseless acts, we’d get off of our asses and out of our own little worlds, which includes putting down the smartphone, iPad, iPod, MP3, cheeseburger and fries, etc., and instead, go outside and connect with our neighbors and community. We’d ask, “How may I help? How may I serve?” And… Maybe, just maybe, if people started taking responsibility for their lives and the choices they’ve made, our world be a much, much better place. Remember, you must be the change you want to see in the world. There’s nothing outside of you. It’s all inside of you!

    So… Turn off your laptop and spend time with your families. Hug your kids, spouses, siblings, etc. and say, “I love you.” :)

  6. brendasmanifesto

    ya know – life is like this – bad things happen, good things happen, we can’t explain why things happen. perhaps some day we will be able to know why the world is the way it is but until them we have to know things like this are going to keep happening- i do not think we have lost our way. some of us know the way and even those will make mistakes. some do not know the way and they may not make any more mistakes than the ones who know – but i know one thing, what happened yesterday has nothing to do with abortion and that could not be more obvious.

    1. Jane

      Thanks for your wisdom, Brenda….

  7. Stephen Raburn

    Guns don’t kill people.

    But unstable people with unfettered access to guns and unlimited amount of ammunition kill people.

    Guns don’t kill people.

    But people who kill with guns kill A LOT more people when they do kill people.

    Killings with handguns last year: 48 in Japan, 8 in Great Britain, 34 in Switzerland, 52 in Canada, 42 in Germany…. and 10,728 in the US. Are we that much more morally bankrupt than these other countries? Or mentally unstable?

    Mike Huckabee thinks it’s because we don’t make 3rd graders pray in class any more. Been to Amsterdam lately, Mike? Not exactly the most puritanical place on the planet, yet Holland has exponentially fewer gun murders than we do.

    Guns don’t kill people?

    I’m over the overly-simplistic ideological slogans and rhetorical soundbites.

    The gun murder rate in the US is 20 times higher than the next 22 richest and most populace countries combined. Every one of those countries has stricter gun laws than we do. Add together all the gun deaths in the 23 wealthiest countries in the world and 80% of those are American deaths. Of all the children killed by guns in those countries, 87% were American children.

    The gun lobby has one agenda: sell more guns to make more money. They buy politicians and dupe the naive into believing it’s about the Constitution then laugh all the way to the bank with blood on their hands. Every one of its members is an accomplice to murder, in my opinion.

    Ultimately, everything that’s wrong with the US comes down to one thing: greed. And that includes the senseless death of 20 innocent children and six innocent adult school personnel and (probably) one mentally unstable gunman in Connecticut on December 14, 2012.

    1. Martin McCorkle

      How did greed kill these innocent children?

      1. Stephen Raburn

        1. Powerful gun lobby with deep pockets and an agenda to sell more guns and make as much money as possible buys politicians. 2. Results in practically unlimited access and availability of weapons, including assault weapons designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. 3. Innocent people die.

        Don’t get me wrong, Mr. McCorkle, there’s plenty I do like about America. I choose to live here. But the parts I don’t, such as shenanigans on Wall Street and the influence of a powerful gun lobby, usually comes down to greed, capitalism gone amok.

        1. Martin McCorkle

          What responsibility does an individual have in whether or not to use a gun?

  8. Celeste

    I agree with Stephen. Guns don’t kill people. People who are mentally unstable, or ‘crack’ because of the pressures in their lives, use guns to kill people. Greed is a byproduct of it. If money wasn’t an issue, we’d have stricter gun laws in the U.S. It would be put to a vote and the people would be heard. We wouldn’t continue to have discussions about gun control year-after-year. It would be a done deal, bottom line.

    We the people have more power than we think. We the people can turn the U.S. around if we start cleaning up our own lives, which would have a ripple effect on our country and the world. But most people don’t want to look in the mirror and own their stuff. They have no desire to take responsibility for their lives. They’d rather blame the government, country, God, etc. I see it every day when tragedies occur in the state I live in. It’s interesting how people rally in the front of the news cameras when a tragedy occurs. The question I have is “where were all of you in the first place when a person or community needed help?” I’ll tell you where you were. You were tucked away in your own home minding your own business not wanting to get involved.

    We can no longer afford to remain quiet. If something bothers you, whether it’s the environment, child abuse, animal abuse, elderly abuse, GMOs, etc., have the courage to speak up and get involved. Stop worrying about what others will think of you. Who cares what they think? The only way our world will improve is if people get off of their butts and speak out. We can no longer afford to be led like sheep.

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