Life or Something Like It: Rejoicing in Death

Osama bin Laden is dead. Yes, for those that were actually asleep when the announcement came Sunday night, you missed out on the blow up of Facebook and Twitter with posts celebrating the death of the Al-Qaida leader.

Outside of a sense of relief and a feeling of justice that the man who had killed so many had finally been tracked down after almost a decade, I felt no joy in his death. What I did feel was shock over some of the social media comments; comments that were so entirely callous, they made me stop and question the humanity of the poster.

Is it right to feel relief? Is it right to feel as if justice has been served? Yes, I will give anyone that. But is it also right to rejoice in a death, any death?

Life is precious. Sept. 11 proves how quickly lives can be taken from those who love them. And anyone who has lost someone close to them unexpectedly can vouch that it is a struggle to find reason and meaning, or even accept that they are gone. Having lost a brother at a young age, I have developed a deep respect for life. I can never rejoice in a death, even if I do understand the feeling of relief that justice has been served.

But, consider what it means for a moment when you rejoice in a death (no matter who has died). Bin Laden and Al-Qaida murdered almost 3,000 people on Sept. 11. They rejoiced in our suffering; they rejoiced in our demise; they rejoiced knowing that they had struck at our heart; they rejoiced in death.

Now, knowing their reaction to our suffering, what does it say about us when we take to the streets rejoicing yet another death? We rejoice the way they did when they killed so many. How does that make us better? How does it make our actions justified and right? Didn’t bin Laden and Al-Qaida think that their actions were justified and right?

My point is not to argue who is right or wrong. I think anyone with a shred of humanity or respect for life would agree that murdering people the way bin Laden did was about as far from right as it gets. However, I would ask you to consider the value of life and what it says about us as people if we rejoice in death, any death. If we lose our respect for life, then where is our humanity?

So, whether you are a person of faith or an atheist, a conservative or liberal, I hope you will consider the value of a life. Until the day that we all do, senseless death will continue. People like bin Laden will continue to crop up, and in their wake, the rest of humanity will define themselves.

Death should never be rejoiced.

AP story: Americans gather joyfully to mark bin Laden’s death

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