Wow … just like my sense of security was thrown off kilter on 9-11 … so was my reaction to bin Laden's death. My immediate reaction was "YES, FINALLY!" There was a sense of relief that while his death will not bring back the thousands who died, it might provide a bit of closure for their families. There was also a gratefulness that there was a tangible result from all the billions of dollars we have spent while trying to find him.
My secondary reaction brought me back to that day almost a decade ago … and the way my world has been changed since. I grew up in NY … went to a wedding on the twin towers top floor. I actually saw planes flying lower than the room I was in ... and in my innocence, I thought it was so cool. It never crossed my mind that planes could be used for the horror that bin laden had in mind.
It's still hard for me to believe there is such pure evil in the world. No doubt about it: he was evil. The world is a better place without him ... and his karma finally claimed him.
But I can't really celebrate like so many people are doing. Part of me … my humanity … questions if we are any better than he was by letting our fear turn into wild partying at his death. I fluctuated between hoping it was quick and he didn't suffer … to really wanting to tear him apart limb by limb and torture him for what he did to our people and for his hate of what we represented to him.
I choose to take the higher road … in the hope that more fear and violence doesn't result from this.
I choose to celebrate the Navy Seals who were given this mission … and succeeded. The cynic in me wonders what really happened … what was it like for the Seal who faced him in his last seconds … what was in each of their minds. We'll never know the whole story. And while I want to see the actual photograph proving he is dead … do I really want to be left with that image? Do I want my kids to see it? I look at the politicians who are trying to rank methods of eliciting information and what piece of data was most crucial to the mission and just shake my head. It's all in the spin … was he armed or not? Did he say anything before he was killed? I am sure there are many layers to all of this … there will be leaks … the onion will be peeled back ... who knows how it will all shake down in history. Does any of it really matter?
It's done now. On balance, I have to admit I am glad it is over. I am glad he is dead ... I am glad we don't have to hear about his trial, etc. I don't want to live in fear of retaliation. But since 9-11, I am more vigilant … I am more wary of my surroundings. I am more in the now … which is where we all should live. His death has not changed my daily life … but his dark existence forced light to come out in balance. Maybe it has made us a little more loving … a little more expansive … and these are good things!