Like many of my countrymen, I found myself glued to the TV Sunday Night when they announced that American soldiers had found and killed Osama Bin Laden. Also, like many of them, I felt a renewed sense of patriotism at the news. Bin Laden had hid from us for over a decade, but we finally found him, and we took the shot.
Then I laughed, because I realized that it took the death of an old man to make me feel proud to be an American. Then I felt low, like really, really low.
I was raised with a pretty strong moral sense. Above all else, my parents instilled a very deep value for the sanctity of life. I’m anti-death penalty, anti-abortion, anti-war, pretty much anti-anything that devalues life. But here I was celebrating the death of a man, flesh and blood as me. Did he do some evil things? Absolutely. He was the leader of the organization that pulled off the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history. But is his death a reason to celebrate?
I remember where I was when I saw the second plane hit. I was in the newsroom of my college newspaper. We had stolen a TV from one of the classrooms and wheeled it into the room so we could watch the news coverage. Stunned. Silent. Emotional. Shit. That was the feeling that went through that room even a thousand miles away in Western Nebraska.
But even so, is his death a reason to say “I’m proud to be an American”? I’m not saying Bin Laden was a saint, or a martyr, or that his death serves no good in the world. But, I also can’t say that I’m happy he’s dead. Remember, unless Bin Laden died for our sins, his death should not make us happy.
That being said, I think we can find something to celebrate out this action. I’m choosing to look at this as the first step of closure. We’ve held open our scars from 9-11 for ten years, for better or worse. Maybe, now, we can start to close up that wound. Maybe.
I wrote a comic over here on the subject. As I say in the words below we weren’t quite sure how we wanted to handle it, so we decided to go over the top. It’s not intended to poke fun, or criticize, or satirize, or any of those weird comedy words. It’s just intended to be there.