Monday, May 2, 2011

A Nine Year Old Reacts To News That Osama Bin Laden Has Been Killed

Last night when I heard that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, my reaction came in three stages:

1) 'Good. I never thought we were going to get that guy. I'm glad he's dead.'

2) 'Wow, this whole ordeal has been going on for a long time. The World Trade Center went down right after little Spencer was born, now he's 9. This event has shaped the world he grew up in. It's amazing how easy it is to acclimate to perpetual war.'

3) 'This will be good for the president.'

Overall, I felt good about it. I felt that 'justice had been done', and that a defective part in the human machine had been sent back to the factory. I also naturally prevented myself from being too happy, because I am always cautious about allowing myself to hate a person or idea that is deemed by my culture patriotic to hate. I know Bin Laden committed great evil, deserved to die, and was a bad force in the world, but I am cautious to put too much emotional investment in culturally approved hate-objects. I guess George Orwell got to me.

I'm also aware of the fact that I was happy that Bin Laden was killed because he 'got what was coming to him', and this satisfied some personal bloodlust in me. Someone needed to 'get what was coming to them', and I was glad that it was him. I suppose this impulse to see bad people 'get what is coming to them' is what led mankind to invent hell.

This morning, while he was brushing his teeth, I told my son that Bin Laden had been killed. I figured he should know, because it's historically significant, and because of my second reaction listed above.

'They got Bin Laden.' I said.
'Who did?' he said.
'The U.S. Military. We did'. I said.
'They captured him?' he said.
'No, they killed him.' I said.
'oh.' he said.
'How do you feel about that?' I said.
'I don't know...he kills us, we kill him. Where does it stop?' he said.

My son is a good person. To some extent, I have become quite bloodthirsty.

Then I turned on the TV. Footage of a crowd in front of the white house was playing. A young man was thrusting a triumphant finger at a news camera, shouting 'USA! USA!'

Americans celebrating the death of Bin Laden:

My first thought was, 'They're acting like their team just won the championship'.

Saints fans celebrating their team's victory:

My second thought was, 'This image reminds me of something else':

Iranians celebrating the 9/11 attacks:

So it goes.


taketheblame said...

swings and roundabouts. wise words indeed. wise kid.

the elegant ape said...

usually not a big fan of vengeance and retribution.. I am overjoyed they punched this f**kers ticket

Anonymous said...

i too thought the celebration was pretty stupid. sure i'm glad. there is a special place in hell for this guy. however he is just one evil man. someone else well step up and take his place. as far as it being good for the president, all he did was sign the paper that approved the mission. the real work was done by the hard working and often under apprecieated govt. intelignece agencies and the highly trained special forces that were "feet on the ground". i'm not puting a lot of weight or giving a lot of creadit to the president. as with bin ladin, the pres. is just one man doing his part. (not that i'm trying to compare him to that evil SOB)

Spencer Troxell said...

I agree with you 100% Jeff, although I think any good politician would be able to turn Bin Laden's death into a PR success for them if they had anything at all to do with it.

Lodo Grdzak said...

There are human beings as they think and behave in the singular; and then there's the psychology of the nation-state, religious body, or flash-mob. Human beings in small groups are oftentimes pretty cool. But the human race (plural) can usually go f**k itself.

Spencer Troxell said...

"But the human race (plural) can usually go f**k itself"

It can usually, and it usually does.