That is not the world we live in today, however. America must pursue its assailants and show a balanced, measured response to attacks on our soil. To do otherwise would leave us vulnerable to more such assaults.
That being said: I am not sorry Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Feeling any guilt over feeling relief at a time like this… just gets in the way. Resisting your emotional responses only makes them last longer. This is a time for clarity and closure.
I’ve already seen a dozen facebook posts and twitter feeds announcing “I hope he burns in hell” and the like. This wasn’t surprising in the least. Anger or the want for revenge are perfectly understandable responses. Just understand, this mission that ended in Bin Laden’s death was not revenge. (And there will plenty who disagree.) This mission was the pursuit of justice.
What’s the difference? In this case, I admit that an act of revenge would be almost indistinguishable from seeing justice is carried out. Either would end in the death of a terrorist, despised by hundreds of millions.
The difference lies in how it was carried out. By President Obama’s own words, the mission to infiltrate Bin Laden’s home was carefully carried out. Efforts were made to see that innocent civilians were not harmed—which is the greatest difference possible. On 9/11, there were practically nothing but civilian casualties.
Which brings me to that day. In 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated was a day that shook the country and unified it like nothing else could. Everyone remembered “where they were” when they heard about the President. Nine and a half years ago, our generation had a similar experience. Everyone remembers where they were when they heard about the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The strongest, worst part of that day for someone like myself was the confusion. It was all too strong, too overwhelming, too big to wrap my head around. What was even more baffling was the fact that I didn’t know anyone who’d been killed in the attack. I didn’t know anyone who knew anyone that was killed in the attack. I was grieving for thousands of strangers. I’d never known anything like it.
So now here we are. Almost a decade later, and the villain—an honest to god villain—has paid the ultimate price for his crimes. A nation is thrown back into a bit of a frenzy. “How loud can I say ‘Thank God’ for this?” “Is it okay that I think he’s a son of a bitch and I hope he burns in hell?” “Will there be a party for this? Is that wrong?”