It didn't take long for the news to spread Sunday night. Finally....we got him. Facebook, twitter, and blogs were alive with messages of victory, happiness, and pride. And then came the self-righteous posts. Posts talking about how wrong it was to be happy about someones death, especially someone who died without knowing the Lord. As a Christian, I'll admit, I was a bit conflicted.
After thinking about it for a few days here's what I think was going on Sunday night.
In my opinion, most people weren't "celebrating" the death of someone.
People were just excited to have some "good" news for a change. This war against terror has drug on and on and grown very weary. Every day we hear about these young men who are killed by cowardly IED bombs (Iowa and Nebraska have been hit especially hard lately). There is never any mention of the good we are doing in the middle east.....only negative news is reported. So to hear the news that we have finally found one of the bad guys and that he will no longer be a threat was very welcome.
People were celebrating a military victory. Those men were carrying out a mission that their commander in chief ordered and they completed it with bravery and skill. I can't imagine the nerve it takes to fly into a compound, unsure of what you will encounter. Your helicopter crashes and you have no way of knowing how you will get out of there but you carry out the mission anyway. That is amazing!
People were happy to have something to feel pride about again. (I'm not going to lie here. When we heard the news Sam went and hung up our flag, quickly setting the trend on our street as several neighbors followed suite.) We have a President who went around the world on his "apologize for America" tour soon after he was elected. We have a first lady who said she had never had a moment of pride in this country until her husband was elected. Our military has been called every name in the book. Every day we are told how we are ruining the planet. Unemployment is at an all-time high and let's not even talk about the price of gas. The spirit of America has been demoralized by all of these things and it was nice to have something to bring that back a little bit. Whether you believe it or not, this is the GREATEST country in the world. It is a country, which from its very beginning, has fought against amazing odds to survive and thrive. We have done more to help people in this world than any other country ever. We financially support many countries (including Pakistan) and causes and we are a moral authority in the world (oh yes I said it!). We are given that responsibility because of the way we were founded, on Christian principles and values.
Any psychologist will tell you how important/helpful it is for victims' families to have some closure by facing down the criminal who harmed their loved one. Obviously that was never going to happen with OBL (much to Eric Holder's dismay) and the 9/11 families. But this is probably the next best thing for them. To know he is gone and will not harm them or anyone else in the world does bring some measure of comfort to them. I heard the brother of a lady who was killed in the south tower on the radio yesterday and he was so relieved with the news. It made me cry just listening to him talk about his grief and how no one ever called to tell them Julie was gone, she just was. There was never any body to bury, just a pot of ashes from the site. OBL's death won't bring Julie back but to Mike it was justice.
OBL was an enemy of this country. He irrationally hated us and wanted to see our downfall. His sin of plotting the death of innocents has a consequence. Yes it is sad that a man died, in all probability without the Lord, but his heart was hardened against the things of God long, long ago. He chose the way he lived his life and that ultimately led to his demise.
So am I happy (or rejoicing) about his death? I don't know if happy is the right word. But I definitely do identify with all of the aforementioned things. So does being human make me less of a Christian? God will let me know the answer to that.
For now, if I'm going to feel bad about someone dying (or worry about whether they were ready to meet their Maker), I think I'll save my sympathy for the victims who perished without warning because of nothing they had done.
•93 (Feb.): Bombing of World Trade Center (WTC); 6 killed.
•1993 (Oct.): Killing of U.S. soldiers in Somalia.
•1996 (June): Truck bombing at Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killed 19 Americans.
•1998 (Aug.): Bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; 224 killed, including 12 Americans.
•2000 (Oct.): Bombing of the USS Cole in port in Yemen; 17 U.S. sailors killed.
•2001 (Sept.): Destruction of WTC; attack on Pentagon. Total dead 2,992.
•2002 (April): Explosion at historic synagogue in Tunisia left 21 dead, including 11 German tourists.
•2002 (May): Car exploded outside hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 14, including 11 French citizens.
•2002 (June): Bomb exploded outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12.
•2002 (Oct.): Boat crashed into oil tanker off Yemen coast, killing 1.
•2002 (Oct.): Nightclub bombings in Bali, Indonesia, killed 202, mostly Australian citizens.
•2002 (Nov.): Suicide attack on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, killed 16.
•2003 (May): Suicide bombers killed 34, including 8 Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
•2003 (May): 4 bombs killed 33 people targeting Jewish, Spanish, and Belgian sites in Casablanca, Morocco.
•2003 (Aug.): Suicide car-bomb killed 12, injured 150 at Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.
•2003 (Nov.): Explosions rocked a Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, housing compound, killing 17.
•2003 (Nov.): Suicide car-bombers simultaneously attacked 2 synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 25 and injuring hundreds.
•2003 (Nov.): Truck bombs detonated at London bank and British consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 26.
•2004 (March): 10 bombs on 4 trains exploded almost simultaneously during the morning rush hour in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 and injuring more than 1,500.
•2004 (May): Terrorists attacked Saudi oil company offices in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, killing 22.
•2004 (June): Terrorists kidnapped and executed American Paul Johnson, Jr., in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
•2004 (Sept.): Car bomb outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, killed 9.
•2004 (Dec.): Terrorists entered the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing 9 (including 4 attackers).
•2005 (July): Bombs exploded on 3 trains and a bus in London, England, killing 52.
•2005 (Oct.): 22 killed by 3 suicide bombs in Bali, Indonesia.
•2005 (Nov.): 57 killed at 3 American hotels in Amman, Jordan.
If you are still with me, thanks for letting me get that off of my chest.