I was at a wedding Sunday evening when I heard the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. My initial reaction was simply shock. Shock that this had finally happened, and that the entire process had been kept in a cone of silence. No one saw this coming. But more than anything, I was shocked at the reactions I saw from others.
I’m a social media junkie and have always loved how Facebook allows people to express their opinions, whether frivolous or serious in nature. I work in the field of communications and marvel at how a simple tool has united the entire world. Many of us are guilty of over sharing details of our personal lives, but after all, that’s why Facebook has thrived.
However, I find it strange that people say things to each other on Facebook that never would be articulated face-to-face. We find a sense of protection in the indirect nature of online communication – it’s a way to say your piece and then shut off access to replies. A modern day silent treatment.
The Facebook post I wrote was, “I’m a proud American who doesn’t understand celebrating death.”
Should’ve known better. But glad I did it.
The comments I received in response and read from others ranged from complete agreement to dramatic dissent to remarks about a lack of patriotism for anyone who wasn’t lighting fireworks and toasting this occasion.
We’re all entitled to our opinions, and we all have vehicles to express them. I definitely opened the door by posting a comment, and I decided against responding to anyone who seemed to disagree. We’re all entitled to our own beliefs and pursuits – isn’t that what the American dream is all about?
My personal beliefs? No matter how evil a person, and how massive the catastrophes he initiated, I find it more effective to seek peace and closure in his death, rather than jubilation. I don’t have children, but I imagine it would be complicated to teach them about death in the traditional sense, and then tell them it’s ok to forgo remorse when we don’t like the person.
I think this man was a horrible waste of life and am happier with him gone. Everything he did was wrong – there is no doubt or question about it. He hurt billions of people and created an empire based on hatred and violence. But I think that celebrating his death aligns us a little too closely with how he operated. Americans were aghast when opposing nations burned our flags and were shown cheering after 9/11. How are we any better if we react with the same lack of accountability and class?