I hope you’ll forgive that this entry has a different tone and tenor from my other posts but it’s my blog and I’ll decry if I want to.
The events of the past week have caused me to reflect somewhat and really examine how I feel about certain things.
I remember the sinking feeling in my stomach as the planes collided with the twin towers and those massive buildings collapsed. I tried to imagine the horror those people must have experienced in the last moments of their lives. I felt sadness for them and their families. I was relieved that none of my family or friends had been killed and I was scared for the future.
Glued to my television for the rest of the day I watched report after report as the details rolled in as to what had just happened. Although I was somewhat aware that other people in other countries didn’t like the United States I had no idea the depth of their hatred and what that blind hatred would lead them to do.
I was shocked and horrified to see the reaction in certain parts of the world where people celebrated and danced in the streets, burning the American flag and singing. It made me angry, just as angry as I was at the people who had actually carried out this heinous mass murder. What kind of people, regardless of their feelings towards us, would celebrate death?
Flash forward nearly ten years. Sunday night the announcement came that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces. Every local channel cut from their programming as we waited for President Obama to make it official. Facebook and Twitter exploded as the word spread.
People tweeted things like “FINALLY…” or expressed their pride in our armed forces. Facebook posts ranged from “Ding Dong Bin Laden’s dead” to “Rot in Hell.”
Crowds began to gather outside the White House and at the site where the towers fell. Jubilant crowds held up signs and waved flags; some woowho’d at television cameras as they jogged by to join the masses. They sang The Star Spangled Banner and chanted U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!
As I watched this scene unfold something just didn’t feel right. What kind of people, regardless of their feelings toward him, would celebrate death?
I completely understand the deep feeling of satisfaction that people, including myself, feel as some measure of justice was served to a man who has brought some much pain and suffering to so many. I get that we, as a people, haven’t had much to celebrate these past ten years; lives lost, a seemingly unending clustercuss of a war, an economic recession, loss of jobs and homes, rising gas prices and just an overall feeling of uncertainty. It really felt like we needed a win.
The goal was to bring Bin Laden to justice. I always believed that ultimately that would involve him dying, whether it was in a firefight or an execution ordered by a court. That part felt right to me.
I can’t tell people what to feel or how to act but my hope is that we don’t get carried away and lose sight of who we are. We did not ask for this, it came to us. We do not “delight in the shedding of blood…Nevertheless, [we] could not suffer to lay down [our] lives, that [our] wives and [our] children should be massacred by the barbarous cruelty of those who were once [our] brethren.” (Alma 48:23)
Life is a precious gift from our Father in Heaven. It is a joyous occasion when a new life begins and rightly so. When a life ends that passing ought to be met at the very least with reverence not revelry.
There is most certainly evil in this world and I am grateful to the good men and women who tirelessly work and sacrifice to guard against it. Sometimes that means taking a life. However, let’s not ever take lightly just what that means.