Osama bin Laden is dead. Our country has been waiting nearly 10 years for this malevolent being to be found. I stayed awake much later than intended last night, and when the news was confirmed by our President, who reminded us of the righteous anger and justification we Americans all have the entitlement to feel, it was through bleary eyes that I wept tears of joy.
But my conscience was weighing on me, and what followed were tears of sorrow.
No, not for the man, as if I would ever call him that. I have no sympathy for this loss of life, but I truly do worry that I should. Regardless of the pain and suffering and death this wretched person inflicted upon countless numbers of innocent people, watching the celebration of his passing on television felt wrong. It reminded me of so many other public demonstrations we have seen on the news, except those demonstrations usually involved the burning of an American flag. These images of our jubilation have been shown all over the world. In celebrating death, have we made ourselves any better than those who would burn us in effigy?
In my heart I am relieved that the best known face of this threat is no more, but we have to know that this is by all means not over. It is a never ending cycle. It is one victory for ‘our side’ in a war that has no end; a war that was waging long before 9/11. We won this round. They will win again too.
I also believe that regardless of whether or how we celebrate the death of bin Laden, his disciples will rise to fight another day. Someone else will step up, and I know that our men and women in uniform will gallantly stand and fight to protect us. For that they have my utmost respect and unwavering thanks. I just wish we could find a way to truly end it; to reach a point where they would no longer need to do so.
I do not deny that I am glad that bin Laden is dead, but I also feel guilty for it because regardless of all his harmful ways, in my heart I do not believe that the death of another, no matter how evil that life was lived, is one that should be cause for celebration.
I also know it is human nature to want justice and seek revenge and oh, how I have felt it. For 10 long years and mostly out of fear, I have certainly wished him dead. He gave us no choice and I for one will sleep better at night knowing he is no longer out there plotting our destruction.
I wish for peace, but in the absence of it I will take security. It came down to us or him, and in my opinion he was the one who had to go. After all, before his demise he made it quite clear he felt the same way about us. Still, my heart and my brain are telling me this is not a time for smiles, fist pumps, and high fives; it is a time for vigilance.
With that mind, may God Bless America.