Bin Laden Death Celebrations About "Relief"

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Though new details coming out cloudy the picture a bit -- bin Laden was unarmed, his wife was shot (but not killed) in the raid, several children were in the compound -- 86% of Americans strongly support President Obama's decision to kill the elusive terrorist mastermind in a Navy Seal raid on his fortified compound in Pakistan, and don't believe a greater effort should have been made to "bring him to trial."

While the great majority of Americans support the president's handling of the Obama hunt-and-elimination mission (which concluded with dumping his dead ass in the ocean with extreme alacrity), there have been some grumblings about the celebrations attendant to Osama's bloody demise.

In a CNN.com op-ed story, Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero writes that when he turned on the television on Sunday night and saw the impromptu partying, he "cringed." Prothero goes on to say the main reason he felt uncomfortable watching the celebrations is that regarding death, he feels he is "in the presence of a great mystery, perhaps the great mystery of human life." And that the appropriate "response to that mystery is awe."

I agree, humility and reverence in the face of the unknown, the unknowable, are appropriate. I have to admit, however, my own very first reaction the news of his death was to picture -- Onion-style -- bin Laden's face upon arriving at the lowest rung of Islamic hell, as the eager anticipation of his martyr's reward of virgins and grapes turns to horror and dismay. Spiritual revenge is the longest lasting.

But regardless, I don't think the celebrations were about the death of an individual, even one so heinous as to be considered by some to be an Anti-christ, but was really about relief: relief that the open wound of 9/11 was finally stanched, relief that the humiliation of this rat bastard eluding the assembled resources of the most powerful nation on Earth for nearly a decade was finally over, relief that he could be killed (just a man, not some kind of demonic jinn), relief that our values and core beliefs would no longer be mocked by this particular fiend.

That, and it's always a relief when, as my seven year-old son says, the Good Guys get the Bad Guys. Celebrations were in order.

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Eric Olsen is a career media professional and serial entrepreneur who has written influentially on a vast array of topics for periodicals, books, TV, radio, and the Internet. Olsen founded and published award winning online magazine Blogcritics.org and oversaw creation of the original content organization…

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