I have felt a little conflicted over the 'good' news of the death of Osama Bin Laden a few days ago. News reports and videos show people celebrating and in a general state of happiness as well as the usual comments that 'he is in hell', etc... I will admit that my first emotion was simply sorrow and relief. I get the impression that these emotions are quite unusual in this circumstance. Yes, I was relieved that he can no longer do a lot of damage or some of the horrible things that he has done. But I was sad for a few reasons. First of all, I find it fairly hard to celebrate any death... In fact, is there ever any reason to celebrate death? Everyone of us is Heavenly Father's child and while we may not always agree with them or even intensely dislike what they do, they are still a child of the Father. The Father grieves for our actions and this man's actions just as we do. I guess I also see his death not as a just punishment for his actions, but as an 'easy way out' and a mistake.... for now he is a martyr. I am not a history expert, but I have certainly gotten the impression that making martyrs of people rarely hurts the individual's cause. As a Mormon, I am reminded quite often in church about the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph Smith and through readings it has become evident that his killers were attempting to end the existence of the 'Mormon' church... well, that didn't really work, did it? And Osama's death certainly seems like a good recruiting tool for his organization. Whereas putting him in prison would have stopped some of his work and brought him back in the eyes of many to the stature of a human being... which in the end is what he is. He is not a monster or a demon... he is a child of God.
I also feel for his family and his friends who are now grieving. Grief is grief, and for those who died on September 11, 2001 their families still grieve and many are consoled that their relatives were wonderful people. The friends and family of Bin Laden probably feel some conflict in their feelings. No matter how we feel about Osama Bin Laden actions, beliefs, etc... he truly lived his beliefs. How many of us truly live our beliefs... even when they are unpopular? In the end, his actions have caused the death of thousands... many who are not named when we look at the wars that have begun. And we have vowed to hunt him down and have done so and taken away his life. I guess I cannot help but think of the line that we tell our children when someone hurts them.
'Two wrongs don't make a right'
It seems too bad that we do not always follow our own advice. I truly hope that his death brings some peace and closure to other people, but I cannot feel joy or exhilaration at this event. It feels like a symptom of society's collective anger and not justice. It is simply another sad piece of the human tapestry that we weave.