I used to not watch the news. I’m about to reinstate that practice. Nearly eleven years ago I birthed my first child, and from that moment everything was different. I would hear news reports of child abuse and almost become ill. It seemed that all the news was bad news – reports of murder, corruption, and abuse. I literally couldn’t take it anymore. I cancelled the paper and made a point to be doing anything else when the 10 o’clock news came on. The thought of this world going to hell in a handbasket was more than I could bear, especially when I looked at that adorable baby boy snuggled safely in my arms.
When I was pregnant with Victoria, and Aaron had just celebrated his first birthday, I broke my own news-watching rule. It was a Tuesday, sunny and cloudless. As I drove to work, I heard on the radio that a plane had hit a building. Seriously?? I imagined the wing of a little crop duster clipping an office building and teeter-tottering off into the sky. But then… “tower…commercial jet… flames…” As I rounded the I-20 exit ramp onto I-49 my brain began to piece together what I was hearing, and I realized this was not some little prop-job accident. My heart, just like yours, sunk into my stomach. And probably just like you, I was glued to the television for the next several days.
Our world was changed forever.
I will never forget the pride and the love I felt for complete strangers as I watched them help each other and heard stories of people putting aside their differences in favor of a unified nation. A nation wounded, yes, but willing to stand again and fight back.
I will also never forget how I felt when I heard of people in another nation dancing in their streets, celebrating our suffering. It made me cry. What kind of person would dance and sing and celebrate someone’s murder? What kind of people would be happy that other people had died and many more were suffering? What kind of evil was this?
What kind of evil, indeed…
Sunday night the news broke through that the man who orchestrated that terrible attack on our nation had finally been killed. It took nearly ten years, but the hunt was finally – officially – over.
And then they aired reports of us…dancing in the streets and singing and celebrating his murder.
It made me cry.
Inasmuch as I love America, and would never disrespect the families of those we lost on September 11, 2001, sometimes our attitudes and public displays make me want to (borrowing a phrase from my grandma) jerk a knot in our britches.
Are we really so arrogant as to think we’ve “won?” It’s not like he acted alone. Do we think we took down the sole personification of evil in our midst, and that it’s nothing but sunshine and rainbows from here on out? Do we think that no one will rise to take his place, and that they won’t seek revenge for his death? Does his death make up for all that we lost on that tragic September day, and all that we have lost in every day of war since then?
Do we have no humility?
I’m not glad that Bin Laden lived. I’m not glad that he is dead. If he had to be dead I didn’t want to give his memory the satisfaction of dwelling on it. I imagine our military shooter aimed his gun and thought, as he gently squeezed the trigger, “You sorry bastard!” And I wouldn’t blame him.
But that particular part of the job is now done. Where Bin Laden spends eternity is none of my business – provided he doesn’t spend it on all of the major networks. Where I spend eternity is my business. So I will not revel in anyone’s death, no matter how deserved.