Media Should Treat Killers Like Ancient Greece Did
It's time to deny mass murderers their infamy, Vicki Leon argues
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 11, 2013 10:58 AM CST
The Ephesians eventually rebuilt their famous temple, as imagined by 16th-century painter Maarten van Heemskerck in this engraving. Heemskerck had almost certainly never seen the actual temple.   (Wikimedia)

(Newser) – You know the name of the Sandy Hook shooter. And the Aurora shooter. And likely many more. "It's appalling, but one way to achieve fame in America is through acts of infamy," observes author Vicki Leon in the LA Times. "What if that weren't so?" What if the media instead took a page from the ancient Greeks? In 365 BC, an arsonist burned down the temple to Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. His stated motive? To make his name immortal.

The Ephesians executed the man, but not before passing a law making it a crime, punishable by death, to utter his name. And for centuries historians have mostly refrained from naming him. Nor are the Greeks alone; the Egyptians and Romans instituted similar penalties. Such bans probably wouldn't work in the modern world, "but infamy should not be rewarded with headlines," Leon argues. "We have surrendered to shabbier motives, such as selling newspapers or winning TV ratings." Click for her full column, or to read the latest on the unnamed California school shooter.

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Showing 3 of 41 comments
Jan 12, 2013 10:58 AM CST
I perceive an element of wisdom in that practice,but I think death to the name utterer would be an infingement of basic human rights,big time!There's also the concept of freedom of the press, a very American right.
Jan 12, 2013 8:28 AM CST
easy- just legally change their names to "This Douchebag"
Jan 11, 2013 9:35 PM CST
It will never EVER happen. News headlines = MONEY!