Late last night, it was revealed that Osama bin Laden had been killed. Watching it on the television, I couldn't really wrap my head around the news.
What do you do when the boogeyman takes a bullet to the brain?
Do you breathe a sigh of relief? Do you give thanks to God? To the troops? Or do you quote Toby Keith lyrics on Facebook and dance in the streets?
It's been interesting to see the reactions around me. I've tried hard to keep my judgments to myself because, truthfully, I don't know how I feel about it myself.
Don't get me wrong. I will not shed a tear for this man's death. Nor do I wish that he'd been taken alive to rot in a cell. When I think of him, I feel a similar twinge that I get when I read about Hitler or watch an interview with an inmate on death row. I don't feel relieved. I don't feel happy. My fears do not vanish.
I feel sad.
Not for them. Not for their families. Not for their followers. Not even for their victims.
I feel sad for all of humanity. That these are the atrocities that one man brings to the dreams of other men, twisting them into nightmares. That extremist views, both religious and political, still find a home in the minds and hearts of citizens of all nations. That hate and vengeance are swallowed as willingly as a daily vitamin. And I don't know how I feel about this sadness. I wonder why it is that I cannot join in the chants -- I don't feel sympathy or kindness to this man. Maybe I should just try. But there's something about cheering the snuffing out of a life, no matter how vile, in the same fashion that I cheer for our Olympic athletes.
When I think back to 9/11, to all of that coverage, my first thought is of the images in New York City. But the second? A video of the children of Afghanistan cheering and dancing through the streets, celebrating their victory over what they'd been told is an "Evil Empire".
So I sat, alone, on my couch last night, watching the news and the reactions of the people in Times Square, dancing, chanting, celebrating.
If I turned off the sound and squinted my eyes just a bit, I would swear I'd seen it all before. And when I went to bed, all my dreams still turned to nightmares even though the boogeyman was dead.