Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama's End

News came a couple of days ago that the US had finally, after more than nine years, found and killed Osama bin Laden. I first heard it while watching a baseball game on television, during which the broadcasters announced it. I was completely caught off guard by the news, and the full impact of it did not immediately strike me. It was only when I watch President Obama talk about it in his address to the nation a few minutes later that I realized that this was indeed something pretty big.

My feelings about the matter are not simple. I am never one to celebrate the death of another person, even when that death benefits the world or is necessary. It is not a happy thing that a man needed to be killed. Being killed is never the most preferable end to any life, even when there is no other palatable choice. Death prevents redemption. It prevents any potential good from coming from that person. It prevents anything more positive than itself from happening. Ultimately, the best thing would have been for bin Laden to renounce violence and help others to lead a better life. It is unfortunate that he chose to continue the violence instead.

This is not to say that the man didn't have it coming. His actions killed many innocent people. He is, by proxy, a mass murderer. I saw the destruction of the Twin Towers up close. I was near enough when the second plane hit that I could feel a wave of heat from the explosion. I watched helpless, desperate people jump to their deaths in order to avoid burning to death. This was all on bin Laden, ultimately. It is good that, given his lack of redemption and the harm he has caused, he has been removed from the world. It is good, but it is also sad that it had to come to that.

I hope that those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and in other attacks worldwide can feel some kind of peace with bin Laden's death. I hope this serves to remind us here in the US that all our recent political bickering disguises some degree of solidarity. I hope that the best can come as a result of this sad thing.

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