The death of Osama bin Ladin

My friend Billy Coffey wrote a very eloquent post today about the death of Osama bin Laden. This one won’t be nearly as eloquent.

I awoke Monday morning to a strange question from my husband, who was already dressed and heading out the door:

“Have you checked Twitter this morning? What are they saying?”

“What are they saying about what?” I said.

“They got him. Special Ops took out bin Laden. He’s dead.”

My first reaction? Relief.

Was I happy he was dead? Absolutely.

I turned on the television and saw people celebrating in Time Square and outside the White House. I can’t say I was completely comfortable with seeing these images, but I also understood that the death of Osama bin Laden was a victory for the United States. A big one. On Twitter, I saw some tweets comparing Americans celebrating the death of bin Laden to the images of celebrations in the Middle East when news of the Twin Towers burning got to them. I disagree with that assessment:

Celebrating the successful execution of a planned military strike against a long sought after enemy is not the same as celebrating the death of 1000’s of innocent people. #BinLadenDead – @katdish

Perhaps I should mourn his death; be saddened as a Christian because based on my faith I believe one of God’s children will spend eternity in hell.

But I don’t and I’m not.

He chose evil. He was not executed. According to news briefings from the White House Monday, he was shot in the head while engaged in battle against an elite Special Ops team. He was given the opportunity to surrender. Instead, this mass murderer chose to resist. According to one White House official, he used one of his wives as a human shield against the soldiers’ bullets to no avail. She was also a casualty.

In the end, this man responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, this man who encouraged young men to die in the name of Allah, this man who only valued one life–his own, died as he lived.

As a coward.

May God have mercy on his soul.

As for me, I will not mourn his death. The world is a better place without him in it. Instead, I will mourn the deaths of his victims and the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and the freedom of others around the world. People who lived and died with honor.

(I don’t expect everyone to agree with my sentiments here. This is simply an honest expression of my view of these events.)

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28 Responses to “The death of Osama bin Ladin”

  1. Nan | May 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Bravo. Great post.

    Now, could someone send that strike force over to Libya to deal with Muammar Gaddafi?

  2. James Williams May 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    I appreciate your candor, Kat. As you know, I was one of those who had a Twitter exchange with you about this. Bottom line for me is I am conflicted. I haven’t thoroughly processed it yet.

    I am still disturbed by those college kids in front of the White House on the news last night, holding up their fingers, yelling “We’re Number One!” as if their college team just won a championship.

    I am sad that Osama, a man made in God’s image, who could have been saved if only he had repented, chose to be evil till the end. The fact that I am sad about his eternal fate is not negated by the fact that he clearly chose his fate and the soldiers did exactly what they needed to do.

    I am sad by the reaction of the fist-pumpers. The “We’ll put a boot in your ass” Toby Keith fans. I have been trying to articulate it all day, and in that quest to find a suitable comparison, I may have been one who compared them to the Palestinians who celebrated the destruction of the Twin Towers. It’s a faulty comparison, but while I can’t find a suitable analogy, it’s still disturbing to me.

    And I am saddened by the nearly 3000 deaths that day, and the countless deaths, injuries, and PTSD victims that followed in the ensuing war. It’s all sad. All of it.

    All of the things above which saddened or disturb me are evidence of a fallen world. As I read a book or watch a movie about The Holocaust, I want to tell myself “Thank goodness the world isn’t like that anymore”, but it still is.

    What’s sad about that last part, about the world still being a fallen place, is that I have kids. In fact, as the Twin Towers were falling, I was becoming a father for the first time, (ironically, to twins). At the time, I was overwhelmed about the condition of the world I had invited these babies into, and now, like Billy in your link above, I have to help my 9 1/2 year olds ( and my 7 yr old) process this. I want them to embrace that justice was done, yet not adopt a vengeful heart. It’s not an easy job. Especially when I don’t yet know what I think about it all.

    • katdish May 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

      My daughter was one month old when the towers fell. Like I said, the nature of the celebrations made me uncomfortable, but I still think justice was served. As for my own children, I corrected my own 13 year old son when he began to celebrate in the same fashion as some of the college students on television. Like you said, a vengeful heart is not one that I desire for my kids or myself for that matter.

    • James Williams May 2, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

      A short time ago, I had a discussion with a friend, and fellow sports fan. I told him that as a coach of my kid’s baseball team, I don’t like “me first” behavior. For example, when an NFL receiver scores a TD and engages in some celebration designed to draw attention to himself. I’d much rather he simply hands the ball to the ref and humbly moves forward.

      My friend argued that while he doesn’t like the “look at me” celebrations, he does like when a player does something emotional to help motivate his teammates. Like a basketball player pumping his fist right after a 3-pointer.

      I came to the conclusion that while I still don’t like the “Look at Me’ celebrations, there is some value in the type of celebration which is team-oriented and helps pump up the other players.

      I bring this up here because, as I think about the various types of celebrations I have witnessed on the news and on Facebook, there is a side of me that wants us to just acknowledge thankfully that we put Osama Bin laden out of business, and toss the ball to the ref. Maybe even engage in a little fist pump. But there is still no place for the over-celebrating “USA! USA!” crap.

      Just another thought, as I still process what I think about the reactions.

      • katdish May 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

        I still wonder if the celebrations were for what people considered as justice long overdue or simply for his death. I want to believe the former, and I’m guessing that was the case in some instances.

        • James Williams May 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

          As long as I’m on a roll with inaccurate analogies, I will throw this in the mix: You’re in your house, and someone breaks in. He hurts your kid. You manage to find a kitchen knife and kill the intruder. Do you feel relieved that his reign of terror in your house if over? Absolutely. Do you jump up and down and pump your fist and go up to his dead body to gloat? Of course not.
          I guess the way I have been interpreting much of the reaction as gloating, when I’d rather we just acknowledge the milestone we have achieved in Osama’s death, and then move forward, in thanks to God and to our military for the protection we are enjoying. No gloating, no celebrating, but definitely some joy and gratitude.

  3. Elaina May 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    I personally was frustrated last night by a lot of things I read on Twitter. And a few times, I was insulted by what I interpreted as very sanctimonious responses from a handful of Christians who were chastising people for their responses.

    The bottom line for me is that this is a mass murderer as you stated. This is justice. And he made his choices. There are consequences for our choices. Not only did he order the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 but THOUSANDS have died since in order to protect us and to find that justice for those who were killed. In addition, we have countless numbers of our men and women who have physical and mental scars because of the last 10 years. I will not feel ashamed for feeling relief that he is gone. Nor will I feel ashamed for being grateful for that fact. He was a mass murderer.

    I admit that I have a very specific world view as I work with Marines and their families. I have seen the consequence firsthand that the last 10 years has wrought. I do not take war nor its consequences lightly. But this was brought to our door step. It will never be acceptable to kill thousands of innocent people. And I won’t be shamed into being grateful that he has been brought to justice.

    • James Williams May 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      Elaina, I hope you will show grace to people like me who were not happy with some of the responses. Many of us were, and still are, processing the whole thing. The thing about Twitter is you often get a front-row seat to someone’s thoughts as they are working through what they really think.

  4. Elaina May 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    *Meant to say, I won’t be shamed for feeling grateful that he has been brought to justice.

  5. Jason May 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    I appreciate your honesty. I disagree. I’m not going to celebrate the knowledge that someone’s spending eternity in hell. That’s not a Jesus Juke to you…just how I feel on it. Sure, he’s the one who rejected God but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

    Now, I’m also pleased a source of evil has been taken from the world and justice has prevailed. I just don’t have to celebrate a guy being killed for that to happen.

    • Simply Darlene May 2, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

      Jason, if I could get my words to come straight out of my heart before going through my brain filter, your comment is what I would have said.

      Kathy, thanks for opening this dialogue. I think it’s needed.


  6. sherri May 2, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    My son is in training in Military Intelligence…I see the importance of his job now more than ever.

    I don’t think this is a “we won!” sort of victory, but a “we stopped THIS man from inflicting more harm on innocent people” victory.

    Our war against evil will never stop here on earth, however, we can’t sit idly by and allow it to continue either.

    God bless those Heroes who put themselves in harm’s way (physically, not politically) and risked it all to save possible thousands.

    • katdish May 2, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

      Praying for your son, Sherri. I know he’ll make you proud.

  7. JoAnne Bennett May 2, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    Two my daughters are around the same age as the college students celebrating out on the streets last night. For me personally, I would like to ask the young adults what they are exactly cheering for before I pass judgment.

    I see a generation now that is conflicted. Most were young children when 9/11 happened. With modern technology, there is no way our kids could have been totally sheltered from the constant barrage of disturbing news coverage. As a hurting nation, I think it’s safe to say we as parents were in total shock and just trying to cope with the unfathomable, tragic losses each in our own way. Perhaps, we didn’t know all the right questions to ask our impressionable children. It’s obvious that 9/11 impacted their lives in ways that they don’t fully understand and we weren’t prepared for. I am wondering if this isn’t about celebrating the death of an evil terrorist, but more about reclaiming some of the innocence from their childhoods.

    • katdish May 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

      You raise an excellent point, JoAnne. My kids are 9 and 13. I think it’s time to have an open and honest discussion about what that day means to them.

  8. Jon May 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Hey Kathy,

    Thank you for your honesty. As you saw from my post, I think it’s easy to get misunderstood on issues like these. I agree with what someone else said–this isn’t a victory in the normal sense of winning, it’s victory in the sense that justice is served. God is just; He despises all injustice. God also is love; His hearts breaks when his children turn away from Him.

  9. Amy Sorrells May 3, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    I’m glad he’s dead. I’m just sad for all of it. All the evil. All the pain. All of this which must pass as we await the return of our Savior. May God bless the souls of the innocent, who suffer at the hands of evil even now as we all sit and type. Come soon, Lord Jesus, come soon!

  10. Helen May 3, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    My first thought was relief.
    My second thought was shame that in these ten years, I don’t think I once prayed for Bin Laden’s conversion. If I ever did, I certainly don’t remember. I wish I had.

  11. karenzach May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I’m relieved but not rejoicing and acutely aware that the relief I feel is only temporary. Every news report of another soldier’s death replaces that relief with grief.

  12. Tony Alicea May 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    If I’m honest, I can’t say that I mourn his death. However, I don’t celebrate it either. I’m glad we got him. I won’t dance on his grave but I won’t pretend like I shed a tear either.

    Every action has an equal an opposite reaction. Such is life.

    • katdish May 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

      Well, I certainly hope you wouldn’t dance on his grave, Tony. He was buried at sea. (There’s an old joke in there somewhere.)

  13. Marni May 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    When I heard the news, I didn’t feel anything. As a matter of fact, I went to bad really irritated at myself for not feeling SOMETHING.

    I woke up the next morning expecting the relief to be there, but still…nothing.

    Now that I’ve had a few days to marinate, I think it’s because there was no happy ending here.

    1. This world is full of dangerous people who hate we “infidels”. Bin Ladin was one of many this world has to worry about. Him being gone makes us safer, but not safe.

    2. By his actions and professions of allegiance to a non-existent god, Bin Ladin is not in the presence of Jesus. I certainly can’t feel good about anyone perishing in Hell.

    3. 9/11 didn’t unify this country long. We’re filled with spite and anger toward anyone who doesn’t agree with us politically (I learned this one the hard way on Facebook this week. I still have the bruises on my heart to prove it).

    The thing is, God tells me (us) that in this world we will have trouble. Now is as good as time as any for me (us) to take heart for He has overcome this (sometimes scary, sometimes unsaved, sometimes mean) world.

  14. Marni May 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    *bed, not bad. Sigh.

  15. Mark Queen May 3, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Thank You for giving my sentiments a voice !

  16. seekingpastor May 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Thanks for your honesty. I believe in rejoicing over justice, but can not be gleeful over another person who was created in the image of God going to Hell. But I understand the sentiments of those who disagree with me. Mostly as I watched the news about all of this, I thought about the people who died during 9/11/01 and those who died trying to bring Bin Laden to justice. So sad.

  17. jake May 4, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    Kathy, I wrote on this, but didn’t post it. Bonhoeffer wrote about this when it came to killing Hitler. Was murder against his morals as a Jesus-person? Yes. Was allowing some tyrant to kill people in the name of avoiding sin or passivity against his morals? Yes. Which was worse? The ideal was to save lives and make the world a better place…. which meant killing a terrible human and allowing him to go to hell. (Granted, Bonhoeffer failed, but his thoughts contribute so much to the whole scenario anyway…….)

    Thank you for contributing, as always, I love your approach!

  18. Kelly Sauer May 7, 2011 at 6:20 am #



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