Mourning Victory?


I have to admit that when I heard that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I had my own brief moment of “Yay!”. I swear for a moment I even heard the strains of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” from The Wizard of Oz.

I really am glad that one less threat to the US is out of the picture, but I am not really sure how big of a dent it really makes in the big picture. Does “eliminating” him, as it has been euphemistically called, really eliminate or reduce threat? Or does it just make it different?

Were we really hunting him down to prevent further attacks on the US? I’m sure that was the idea. However, what it has come to look like to me is a seriously over inflated sense of justice. Perhaps more aptly called Revenge.

I suppose if you are a proponent of the death penalty, then it would make more sense to you. I, for one, am not – but this is not about judgment against those who are or are not. We all hold our own beliefs and that is not my concern today.

I have been feeling a little bit sad the last few days and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then I realized that I really find the news disheartening. I can understand the decision and the military and national security reasons for eliminating Osama Bin Laden. I am eternally grateful to those who risked their lives to make the world a safer place.

What has been getting me down is the level of celebratory news, constant analysis and near obsession with how he was killed, what he was doing, what was done with him afterwards. It pains me that as a nation, we are giddy with glee over the death of another human being. It makes me wonder where our limit would be, if we believed our cause to be just and true. Who would it be okay to kill in the name of Freedom and Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?

While I appreciate the signifigance, I don’t feel that the event is necessarily a cause for celebration. Perhaps is it more a moment for quiet reflection on the lives lost on 9/11 and a prayer of thanks that he will not be able to orchestrate such a horrific thing again. A grim reminder to each of us the capabilities of human beings to inflict death and destruction on each other.

Maybe today, instead of devouring the news of the death of the most wanted man in the world, you should stop and hug your family. Be grateful for those you have not lost at his hand. Grieve along with those for whom his death does not bring back their loved ones. Honor the heroes who give everything to keep us safe. Celebrate peace.

“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

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