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Monday, May 2, 2011

Questions for a momentous day

This is what I'm doing this morning as I contemplate my response to this news. I decided to take advantage of driving Landon to school early to stop by one of my favorite coffee shops and get some breakfast. I had coffee at home this morning, so it's just biscuits and gravy (really yummy) and some water. I'm sitting here eating biscuits and gravy, and across the world, Osama Bin Laden is dead on the bottom of the ocean.

People are celebrating all over the United States. In front of the White House, in New York City, in small towns. One picture particularly stood out to me - two men in a truck with a large flag attached to the roof, yelling and shaking their fists out of the windows, joy evident on their faces. And I'm just not feeling it.

First of all, it's been 10 years since we set out to "get him", and that feels a little embarrassing. But, more importantly, he doesn't seem to deserve this hoopla anymore. From my perspective, at least, he hasn't been at the forefront of our collective consciousness for years. Since 9-11, the problems the U.S. has had have been mostly of our creation. 9-11 was, and is, huge. It could be that some of my emotional detachment stems from not having a close personal connection with anybody who died that day. But what has Bin Laden really accomplished since then that make him still a threat to us?

And then there's the human angle. At what point is the death of a human being, even in the pursuit of justice, a joyful thing? I have to be careful with this one, because it might just be time and distance that has dulled my too-human ability to rejoice at someone's end. If the news came tomorrow that Robert Mugabe, or even Muammar Quadafi, had been assassinated by the CIA, I might have a different reaction. However, human death at the hands of other humans was never part of the best plan for this world, and it should sadden us that the only way to achieve justice for one death seems to be another death. The only way to balance one hole in the fabric of the universe is with another. And then, what about this situation, where there thousands of deaths that are supposed to be balanced by this one?

This simply doesn't seem like an unmitigated reason to rejoice.

What was your reaction to the news of Bin Laden's death?

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