Nearly 10 years after masterminding the 9/11 attack on America, Osama bin Laden is dead. Not just dead, but killed by the United States Navy SEALs, sent in by President Obama himself to bring back his body -- dead or alive.
Let me take a moment to give credit where credit is due. President Bush began the hunt for Osama, but President Obama took hold of the torch he was handed, and by golly, he got the job done. Bravo, Mr. President.
Now comes the question as to how much joy we’re supposed to feel at the death of another human being. Soon after the pronouncement of Osama’s death, people were partying in the streets of New York and Washington, D.C. In my own neighborhood, I could hear my neighbors whooping it up.
As the news scrolled across our own TV screen, our 7-year-old daughter asked, “Who’s Osama?”
“He was a very bad man that killed a lot of people,” I told her as simply as I could. She responded thoughtfully, “Oh. Then I’m glad he’s dead. He won’t be killing anyone now.”
Interestingly, the young son of a self-proclaimed pacifist blogger I follow had a similar reaction. America (and a whole lot of the rest of the world) is united for this brief moment of warm fuzziness when a terrorist has been taken out. Understandably, the death of Osama bin Laden is unsettling for my pacifist friends, who balk at violence for any reason, but also mourn the terrorist attack almost a decade ago.
In other words: They’re human.
Most of us are pacifists at heart. No one likes war. Soldiers don’t enjoy killing people -- they do it out of necessity for their own survival and the survival of those they left back home. War and death are unavoidable at times to prevent further horrors from occurring.
When a man will kill 3,000 innocents because they live in a country he refers to as the Great Satan, and then uses his wife as a shield when the soldiers of that nation capture him, he needs to go away. Forever. I don’t mourn the loss of Osama’s life as much as I mourn the reason for it. If he (and others like him) hadn’t used his free will to become evil personified, we wouldn’t be at war right now.
Death is sad. Killing is sadder. The need to prematurely end someone’s life because that person refuses to stop killing is the saddest of all.
Image via Warm Sleepy/Flickr