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On the death of Osama bin Laden

May 2, 2011

There’s so much that I want to write about – a whirlwind weekend where I saw a dear friend get married, said “goodbye” to a wonderful woman who I barely knew (yet wish I knew more), kicked my ass a million different ways in completing my second marathon, but I want to write on death of Osama bin Laden, because I need to process some stuff in my head.

Like most Americans, I can still recall the 9/11 attacks with amazing clarity. Yet, what most sticks in my mind are the words of Dave Barry soon after. I was in shock. I literally spent two days barely able to function, keeping myself glued to any news source for something, anything . . . seeking answers to questions that were completely unanswerable. While it’s easy to poke fun at anybody who follows astrology or tries to riddle through prophecy, I totally understand why Nostradamus was the top selling author on Amazon.com that week. There was a situation that made no sense and, dammit, that just doesn’t sit well.

Dave’s essay came out two days later – I needed a return of normalcy in my life. This wasn’t an article of the like that made Dave Barry famous – a tongue in cheek item that would have your sides splitting with talk of toilets, flatulence, beer, the airline industry, or political corruption in south Florida. No, he delivered a well thought-out collection of words that described what I was thinking so very well.

Probably the most disturbing image from the 9/11 attacks was not the towers aflame, or the suffering of families as they tried to “know the unknown” (and believe me, those are truly disturbing images in my mind), but the image of people, in another land, celebrating in the streets. How can anybody celebrate the loss of a life I asked?

This morning, I woke to the news that Osama bin Laden died. There was celebrating throughout the country.

The differences between bin Laden’s death and the death of countless innocent lives are too numerous and of too great a difference to even spell out. Bin Laden was an evil man who gave messages of hate who inspired people to take the lives of too many to mention. While I hate to ever put such a small value on a human life, I do believe that the world is a better place without him.

From the reports, there was dancing in the streets in DC, and in New York, and likely elsewhere. Over a death. Me, I nod that the task was done – and go about my life, saddened that such an evil person existed in the world. Saddened that so many people chose to follow this evil person and perform evil deeds. But, equally saddened that a death brings joy to anyone.

Needless to say, I’m not dancing in the streets today.

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5 Comments
  1. At the most, I might feel relieved if this would really mean any difference in the terrorist organizations. They cut off a big head, but there are plenty more.

  2. Elaine permalink

    Very well said, John. And I agree. I was upset with the news for showing so much of the at footage. I felt like it was encouraging more revelry. And encouraging more people to joing terrorist organizations. Neither is acceptable.

  3. Dottie permalink

    I agree completely, John. I struggled terribly with the celebrating going on in our cities.

  4. You’ve said what I’ve been thinking since Sunday night. Far more eloquently than my few abandoned attempts.

  5. I completely agree – but though I didn’t go out and see what was happening in front of the White House (I’m enough of a dork that I was asleep by the announcement that night) from the people I know who witnessed the celebrating there is was mainly teenagers and the like, who can generally be expected to act inappropriately no matter the situation. At least that’s what I tell myself.

    And thankfully I don’t watch the news so I won’t be contradicted by evidence I’m wrong! (Oh, the many joys of ignorance.)

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