Here is my latest editorial on Patch. Please click HERE to share your thoughts and opinions…it is much appreciated!!
When writing an editorial, I typically feel firmly about one side of an issue. I mean, it is an opinion piece; so having an opinion is quite essential. However this week I feel full of ambiguity regarding the topic at hand. I suppose there is no moral instruction booklet on how to appropriately feel about the assassination of a mass murdering, terrorist leader.
While lying in bed, we heard that President Obama would be making an unusual late Sunday night address. Instantly, I thought “Gaddafi is dead.” My husband suggested Osama Bin Laden but I thought, “no way.” I kind of assumed he was already dead – somewhere, somehow. I never once thought he would be found alive. Wrong-o!! We proceeded to watch the news coverage which pummeled us for hours with non-stop repetitive hysterics and unfounded assumptions.
There were men chest bumping in the street in front of the D.C. Capitol. Everyone was cheering so loudly you could hear it from way off in the background, like a nightclub’s bass. Such jubilation, reminiscent of a Superbowl win.
Let’s rewind about 36 years…
My mother wrote this entry into my Baby Book on August 8, 1974:
Heather & I watched Nixon resign today. A piece of history was being made and Heather insisted on giving her opinion (very loudly), so I rocked her thru the whole thing. I’m glad she’s only 4 months old and didn’t have to see what I thought was such a heartbreaking thing. Not that Nixon was right, but that it had to happen at all.
Opinion? Very loudly?? That sounds nothing like me. (wink wink)
Justice prevailed in that situation – many people got what they wanted and he got what he deserved. But it wasn’t, at least in my mother’s eyes, a time for celebration.
Okay. Fast forward about 16 years…
I was on a plane with my mom and I was reading either Time or Newsweek – an article about the execution of Ted Bundy. I knew of him, saw a TV movie or two and certainly thought of him as pure evil. On the cover was a picture of people in an occasion of sheer glee. Signs like “Hey, Ted, it’s FRYday!” Or “Burn baby burn!” filled the crowd. Many people were joyfully anticipating Bundy’s death the same way we might show excitement for a favorite headliner at Summerfest.
I remember being really disturbed by the article and pictures. It was confusing to me. And the death penalty to this day perplexes me. I understood him being put to death. I could easily accept that. We knew he was guilty and I – at that time – had no concept of a higher power or afterlife, so those considerations didn’t matter. But what did bother me about his execution was the celebratory behaviors, words and actions by the crowd at the prison that night. Its not that he didn’t deserve it; it is just heartbreaking that it had to happen at all.
I am that 16 year old again. Far more dangerous than even a serial killer, Osama bin Laden was a stain on this world and he needed to disappear. I really do believe that. I believed the same about Saddam Hussein. I am glad Osama has been brought to an end. They shot him in the head which is far more humanitarian than he has afforded us and even his own people.
But I just cannot bring myself to celebrate. And this doesn’t make me un-American, a terrorist lover or a hippy dippy tree hugger.
We have still lost all of those victims on 9/11. We have, to this day, had almost 1.5 million casualties since the invasion of Iraq. We will still have terrorists, we will still have war. A hideously evil man is now dead. Justice again has prevailed. 93% of Americans are pleased with the result. And I am one of them. It is just heartbreaking that it had to happen at all.
Disclaimer – I did have another path in which I planned to take this article. Political thoughts, defenses and ideas. But as my fingers typed, I realized that the human me wanted to speak louder than the political me. Maybe we should all try that once in a while.