I'll start with clear statements. I do not support capital punishment. I do not believe that there should be joy in the death of any human. I don't believe for a second that this marks an end to anything beyond a few more lives.
That said, I believe that there are animals that look like humans, and that the world is better off without them in it. They are never groups, although groups of weak and frightened humans form around them, just as groups of humans form around any source of power, real or promised. But they are individuals, so reprehensible, that there is no hope that they will reform, or even learn to feel remorse. Like a cancer, the planet is better off without them.
Almost 10 years ago, as I was getting ready for work, I turned on the TV to news of the most aggressive act of terrorism against this country. My then-girlfriend-now-wife worked in a federal facility, and I worked in a theater in a dollstore in the shopping district of the 3rd largest city in the US. At that time we knew nothing about the motives, the depth, or the breadth of what was happening, and we were frightened. As a nation, we felt a corporate fear, that like fear in any animal triggered the fight-or-flight reflex in us as individuals and as a collective. Now, 10 years later, looking back, it seems to me that the individual reaction is mostly gone, but in many ways, we are still trying to flee and to fight against the unknown enemy that struck that day.
By unknown, I mean that the motivations of those who would kill to make their points known, are unknowable to most of us. We cannot put ourselves in those shoes and walk the proverbial mile. We can never know what anger and hatred makes an idea worth tens of thousands of lives to someone. We know who attacked us, and, as of yesterday, the self-proclaimed leader (in any other religion, he likely would've called himself a prophet) of those people is dead. He chose to make war on a superpower and he lost. But there should be no joy in that death. A man with a family, with children, is dead. He did terrible things in his life and he will do them no more. For that we can be thankful, but not joyous. For hatred is a Hydra, and cutting of a single head does not kill the beast. As long as people can take joy in any person's death, new heads will continue to grow.
So, please, when you think about what happened yesterday, think of the people you love and ask if it serves them in any way to be glad at a death. Think of the men and women who have taken up arms to defend and protect this country, at the cost of the lives of their friends or even themselves. Remember, that is what death is. Do not honor Bin Laden by making his death bigger than the deaths of those brave people, people who sacrificed their own lives rather than the lives of others. Celebrate life and the fact that despite people like Bin Laden, most of us are fortunate to go home to the people we love. For most of us the person down the street who worships at a different church or prays in a different language is simply a neighbor rather than an enemy. That is what peace is made of. Not everyone is so lucky.