Osama Bin Laden is Dead and I Am Sad

In light of recent news, I felt it necessary to deviate from tennis and discuss a topic that, as Jimmy Greenfield put it in an e-mail to all ChicagoNow authors, transcends all topics in the world today.

I am no political insider: I am not able to predict what Osama Bin Laden's death will mean for the future of al-Queda, terrorism, the Middle East or the world in general. 
I am not from New York City: I don't know first hand the very real death and destruction Bin Laden, the late-leader of the most nefarious of terror organizations, caused. 
I am not a soldier: I'll never feel the fear or adrenaline one feels while fighting for my country in battle. 
In fact, there are a lot of things that I am not in relation to Osama Bin Laden, terrorism and the state of the Middle East.
Today, however, there is one thing that I am, one thing I never would have expected of myself upon hearing of Bin Laden's death.
It's sadness. I am sad. Let me explain.
On September 11th, 2001 when Osama Bin Laden unleashed his attack on our country, I was 14 years old and hardly capable of stepping back from the situation to think about what had happened. What I wanted, as probably most United States citizens did, was cold-blooded revenge. As far as I was concerned, whoever was responsible deserved nothing less than what befell Bin Laden this past week.
Ten years later, while I sat on my couch surfing Facebook, I discovered that the CIA had finally exacted the revenge I had wanted for so long. Last night as I poured over the United States news coverage, the Al-Jazeera English online coverage, the tweets, the blogs, the Facebook statuses, I felt a growing sense of pride, of relief and of satisfaction. 
This morning, however, I felt differently. I was able to step back, unlike I could ten years ago, and really analyze the situation. 
To me, for as appropriate and justified Bin Laden's death probably is, it is unequivocally, unmistakably, inarguably sad that death is acceptable.
That's a concept I will never grasp. 
I completely understand why our country marked Bin Laden as public enemy No. 1. Like I wrote before, for the last decade I was behind finding and stopping the man behind so many terrible acts. 
I also can't describe how badly I feel for those families who lost loved ones on September 11th or in battle over-seas. I felt, and still feel, that they deserved some sort of right to the wrong that Bin Laden caused their lives. 
But what I am talking about is the state of the world. How after centuries of our progression into a more civilized planet, the act of killing someone is still necessary. 
I hated Osama Bin Laden for who he was, what he did, what he preached, what he advocated and what he represented.
But what I hate more is when people turn to killing someone in order to solve conflict. I hate death. 
What terrorizes me is that I'll never see the day when we as human beings are rid of unnecessary death. World peace seems to be an inscrutable and unattainable fantasy. 
The tragedy (or irony) is that for as much as I hate death, for as much as the act of taking someone's life disgusts me, I am still glad, just like most Americans, that Osama Bin Laden is dead. 
And that's a sickening feeling. To me, regardless of who he was, it's still death. And death is always sad. 


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  • I live in New York and was here during 9/11, and it was hell. I could go on for paragraphs on what it was like to try to find your way home in the chaos and the things I saw. I understand what you're trying to get at, I do. And even after 9/11, I was saddened that innocent people in Afghanistan would be bombed and how long I knew this war would go on. I didn't necessarily want to fight fire with fire.

    However, you might feel differently and feel quite relieved, like most of NYC, that he is gone. After witnessing a mass killing and people jumping to their deaths from the towers to avoid being burned while everyone else tried to flee a rolling mass of suffocating smoke, you might feel differently. Not to mention the reality of what it was like to still smell the towers burning for a month afterward, and knowing how many people were lost.

    I appreciate hearing these sentiments, and I hear you. But I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree.

  • In reply to create77:

    Thanks for the comments. I hope I conveyed it strongly enough in the post that in fact I do feel relieved that today we now live in a bin Laden-less world.

    I can't begin to imagine some of the terrible things you witnessed all those years ago. Perhaps if I was from New York City, I wouldn't feel reluctant to be happy about bin Laden's death.

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