Spontaneous celebration at the news of Osama bin Laden's death
I suppose I'm portraying myself as a joyless scold, but whatever.
I'm uncomfortable with all the revelry on display in reaction to the news about Osama bin Laden's death. Chants of "USA! USA!" and cacophonous public renditions of "The Star Spangled Banner" strike me as unseemly, even crass.
I grant that bin Laden's death was necessary. Just like a grizzly bear that has taken to raiding human garbage pits, some people are simply too dangerous to live. I certainly think Osama bin Laden fit the bill on that score.
But when society determines that it must take a life, I believe it should be done soberly and purposefully and without passion.
The death of bin Laden evokes emotion. I understand that. I can understand relief. I can understand satisfaction. But this is not a sporting event. It is death.
New York Times financial writer Diana Henriques said of Bernie Madoff "...he is not inhumanly monstrous; he is monstrously human." It was thus with Osama bin Laden as well.
So, I'm not going to be joining the triumphant, chest-thumping conversations springing up in offices and schools all over the country today. Instead, I'll quote Nietzsche: "If you stare into the Abyss long enough the Abyss stares back at you."
Take a good look, America. What are we staring at?