Friday, May 20, 2011

Thanks to a rather severe bout with my chronic bronchitis [plus complicating factors], I've been down and out for about a month. I wanted to react to the death of Bin laden more promptly, but at least I can work on it now. There was an interesting set of reactions to this man’s death. Many Americans were joyful, others felt that the joy was misplaced. This latter group was relieved that the mass murder was dead, but felt that joy at anyone's death was unbecoming and potentially dangerous in that it might provoke a response of counter vengeance in the Middle East.

As it happens, the people of the Middle East seem to have understood that joy at the death of a sworn and deadly enemy is quite different from joy at the deaths of thousands of innocent people in an act of terrorism. The other point that critics of the American public response made was more telling. Many of us still refer to America as a Christian nation. This creates the doubt that such rejoicing was an appropriately Christian response. The point is well taken, but distant from the realities of human nature. Yes, as Christians everyone should regard life as sacred and anyone's death as regrettable, even if it is necessary. But how realistic is it to expect people to always be thoughtful and philosophic about events which profoundly affect their lives?

Much of the joy was simply the release of the terror deliberately generated by this man. He set out to make people afraid, and he succeeded. Naturally, when the fear was destroyed, people were ecstatic. Consider the novel, Watership Down. Hazel and his band of refugees are faced with the threat of immanent death. Suddenly, the threat vanishes. They are joyful and ebullient. I wish I could quote the passage, but I can't find my copy. This accounts for most of the public expressions of celebration regarding Bin Laden's death. This is not the only motivation, of course, but it is a major contributor and is entirely understandable. We are merely people, not angels.

I, too took great delight in the man's destruction. He was a symbol of the evil of terrorism, a mass killer, a very bad example of humanity. I felt some guilt about it, but decided not to be too hard on myself or anyone else in regard to this issue. We may strive to be perfect, but it is foolish to ask us to attain such heights with regularity.

I do not suggest that we all attempt to adopt a Jain's or Llama's devotion to life. When I find a fly in the house, I try to shoo it outside. If I can't, I get the fly swatter. I may be the only person known to my family and friends who actually apologizes to the fly for killing it and asks God to forgive the act [yes, I actually do this, every time] but I don't hesitate to kill the creature. It has invaded my space and carries disease and I will not allow it harm my family, period. This applies to ants and etc. I am not being a hypocrite, I believe the act is a necessary evil, like some wars.

So I can sincerely say that I regret the necessity of killing bin Laden, but I would not have hesitated to have ordered it done if I were in a position to have done so. I also admit that I took my share of delight in the fact that this monster was finally punished for his actions. I even have been know to refer to him, since his burial at sea as Osama Bin Fishfood. Sorry, I won't say I am proud of that, but, after all, I am merely human too.

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