The night we heard the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed, I posted a lengthy Facebook status which ended with “I should have blogged this.” In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t. I was tired and emotional and hadn’t yet had time for it to sink in. Reading through my social networks, I was overwhelmed by the quantity and variation of the reactions.
From the collective group of people I know/follow/interact with, there was the “Whoo hoo! Let’s party hard and show ‘em what happens when you mess with America!” to the “Death is nothing to celebrate.” There was also a few “I guess this means the war’s over” and a scattered, “Oh no! Now it’s just going to get worse.”
I feel like the connecting circle in a Venn diagram of all these opinions.
Yes, I’m glad bin Laden has been taken care of, but it’s not the kind of glad that has me doing a victory dance. It’s the kind of glad that comes from relief. After 10 years, we’ve managed to do what we set out to do. We’ve been persistent, and it’s finally paid off. I’m proud of the people who accomplished this. I’m also proud because it reminds me of what our military men and women are doing for us every day. I’m proud because as a country, we’ve had this shared goal for ten years and now we get to share in the end result.
However, I don’t feel celebratory. One death doesn’t bring back all the lives that were lost. Death in itself isn’t something that makes me want to light fireworks and dance. There have been times in the past when things I’ve said have indicated otherwise due to animosity I’ve felt towards the people in question. But at the point of death, and at the point of seeing the impact it leaves on others, those feelings are not something I’m proud of. Of all the people who I should be glad to see gone, bin Laden would probably be at the top of the list. But I can’t even bring myself to celebrate with the enthusiasm so many others seem to have.
It was mentioned that his death should be exactly what he deserved. I think the fact that he was hunted down and killed kind of took care of that part. It should also be noted that death isn’t a punishment….it’s a fact of life. And we’re not out of the clear. This one act isn’t going to stop other dangerous political leaders, it’s not going to stop wars, it’s not going to eradicate our military or the need for them to be doing what they’re doing. It very well might lead to more dangerous times. The leader is gone, but there are still terrorist organizations out there who will inevitably find a new leader and new ways to make themselves heard.
The president said that the country would continue to be diligent, and I have no doubt of that. I also don’t want to come across as completely doom and gloom. I think this event has given people faith in what our country can do and hope that we’re on the right track. I think everything happens in its time, and perhaps this death is what the country needs right now.
Everyone has a purpose in this life, and for better or worse, it seems as if Osama bin Laden has served his.