I'm not crazy about doing short blogs. Most of the short stuff you'll find here are either quick hit updates as to what I'm working on, usually right that very minute, with some kind of note to remind me of something for later, or one of the handful of posts that got redacted to shit at my ex-writing partner Casey's request. I wasn't going to say anything about this at all, but when I went out to get the paper this morning, the bolded headline above the fold reading "BIN LADEN DEAD" suddenly drove home to me how important this might actually be, in that "where were you when...?" kind of way.
I can't really bring myself to celebrate someone's death. I'm not here to judge anyone who did, who does, or who will, over the next several days, continue to. If you want me to join you for a beer on this occasion, I will gladly, just realize I'll be drinking because I was given a beer, and probably not for any other reason. I get it, though, I do. We pulled a bogeyman of an entire generation out of the closet, and screaming into the light. We caught the man who hurt and scared us when we were young. Someone who took something from us... in some cases, just our innocence. In others... in some folks' cases a whole hell of a lot more, from lost family members, to just those who saw a city scarred, a city they identify with so closely as to consider it a part of themselves. They all deserve whatever it takes to get them closure [in some cases, this won't be it]. So I am not going to sit here and tell anyone what I think they should be feeling.
As for what I'm feeling it's... mostly reflection, on how I don't really have the spirit of a revolutionary, or the soul of a warrior. How I don't have it in me to feel particularly good about this, about the death of someone who was an enemy. Who would have been glad to have seen me dead - so honestly, my enemy. When I heard they had got him, I was surprised. I turned on the television, I opened Twitter. Talked to a few friends, but mostly, I just let it happen around me. I kicked myself for not having enough foresight to realize what this means yet, or to even be able to conjecture. And I went back to work on something unrelated. I was plugged in and interested, it's important to be plugged in when stuff like this happens, but I wouldn't say I was happy. There are a lot of complicated things at work here, and some very real truths that a lot of people who feel the same way that I do are going to bring up over the next couple weeks... maybe a lot longer. So I think, like with those who are celebrating, I'm going to leave that up to someone else too.
What I will say is good riddance. This is a good thing. A bad guy, in every sense of the term, is gone from this world, and I am not so cynical as to believe that doesn't make it at least one iota better than it was with him in it. I'm also not optimistic enough to believe there was any other way. I'm proud of the stern and measured way the man I voted for, probably the first politician I really believed in, handled this situation. And I have an endless amount of respect for those members of the military, who took up not just this particular mission, but all of them who fought this war [and will continue to fight it], willingly. And that's the long and short of it. I mean every word of that. But no, I wouldn't say I'm happy. It needed to be done, but I'm not going to celebrate it.
On May 1st, 2011 Osama Bin Laden was killed. I was at my grandmother's in Elkview, WV, where I have been living the past few years, when a special report interrupted the television show she was watching. Desperate Housewives, I think. I scrawled part of this down in the back of book, like I did with my thoughts ten years before, on September 11, 2001, in English class at Herbert Hoover High School in Clendenin, WV. That one will always remind us of the other is something we should all be mindful of going forward.
...for reasons other than just the obvious.