This past weekend something really wonderful and something really sad happened.   First the happy thing, the late Pope John Paul II was beatified, meaning that he is well on his way to becoming a saint in the Catholic Church.  I have had the pleasure to talk to several people who actual met the pontiff, and much like folks who have met the Dalai Lama, they talk about the holiness of John Paul.  He, like the Dalai Lama, is someone people feel was a special being, someone who carried a compassion and holiness about him.  He was fluent in many languages, went behind the iron curtain and even after being shot in an assassination attempt, he met with and forgave the assassin, now that’s a saintly act if there ever was one.  I think it is wonderful that John Paul is being recognized for his life.

Also this weekend, Osama Bin Laden was killed, assassinated by my country an act that many if not all Americans will condone and one that I have mixed feelings about.  Was he an evil man?  Most certainly he was and deserved to be brought to justice and perhaps even executed for his crimes.  My mixed feelings come from the fact that my country assassinated someone in my name, killed for me and much like military action and capital punishment it leaves me a little queasy to think someone has killed in my name.  I know this is not the first time in my life that it was done and it is most times done under military action the price we pay to remain a free and democratic country and so, I have to be ok with that I like my country and my life.  It was Steve Earle, the musician, who at a concert first put that thought in my head, the state, killing on my behalf and I have to admit it has changed the way I think these type of things no matter how justified.

The sad thing that happened was the way my fellow Americans reacted to the news of the assassination.  Should we be glad justice was done?  Absolutely and as President Obama did in announcing the news, acknowledging the justice aspect in a respectful manor is how we should have reacted.  But I saw people celebrating at the gates of the Whitehouse, chanting USA, USA and basically having a giant party.  Hell I even heard fireworks in my neighborhood.  On September 11th, Americans were furious that Arabs celebrated the death of Americans in the streets of their countries.  Are we any better than they are celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden in the streets of our nation?

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Comments
  1. JB says:

    Just to be clear: I appreciate your clear and (I believe) correct statement that we should not celebrate the killing of any man, regardless of his crimes. I was glad to hear that at least some consideration was taken for bin Laden’s own customs regarding burial, and I hope and trust that the moment of his burial at sea was a solemn one for everyone present.

    Best wishes to you and your readers.

  2. JB says:

    I see your point, but I take issue with the last two lines:

    On September 11th, Americans were furious that Arabs celebrated the death of Americans in the streets of their countries. Are we any better than they are celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden in the streets of our nation?

    Yes. Yes, we are better. We are celebrating the death of someone who has actively tried to lead attacks against us. This may not be the ideal reaction, I agree, but it is quite a bit better than celebrating the mass murder of the innocent, unsuspecting noncombatants in the Twin Towers. Please don’t attempt to place the two “celebrations” side-by-side, as they are entirely different circumstances.

    • zdeaconblue says:

      JB thanks for your comment and perspective, however, from the perspective of the Arabs celebrating in the streets that day, they believed they were celebrating the just killing of Americans in response to the deaths of innocent Arabs as a result of American actions in the Middle East and elsewhere. Again I’m asking the question and you answered from your perspective, I appreciate the comment.

  3. Donna Jeanne Walter says:

    Thank you for your thoughts. I read your blog, and your able to put my reaction into words. When I first heard the news this morning, I was quiet…not quite sure how to react other than offering a prayer that I hoped this killing would somehow lessen future killings…lessen terror in the world; but until there is a major shift in black and white thinking, judging others, an increase in loving one another, there can be no real change. But, I believe more and more people are recognizing change needs to begin one person at a time. Peace and Namaste!

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