”Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
This is the reaction I have to the death of Osama bin Laden. He was a man devoid of mercy. Yet, every life taken, whether friend or foe, diminishes us as human beings. That is why I watched with revulsion as people gathered and chanted “USA! USA!” after hearing the news. I can’t imagine how appalling that looked to non-Americans. Or anyone else out there watching us.
Then I read, buried on page A5 of the local paper, a news item about a 12 year old boy who blew himself up in Afghanistan. 12 years old. The very last thing I wanted to do as a 12 year old was die. I was far more concerned with playing football, and discovering the wonderful mysteries of girls, and reading books, and sledding in the snow, and being a good uncle to my niece and nephew, and growing up…
A political movement which allows a 12 year old to carry out a suicide attack lacks any credibility whatsoever. That any set of beliefs, after all the world has been through and all we have supposedly learned over time, would firmly resolve that the death of a child is a necessary or acceptable thing is proof of the boundless stupidity of all of us.
I know there is nothing wrong with the relief I feel that someone so reprehensible no longer poses a threat to the world, but I can’t help but mourn for the countless children who will continue to die because of the certainty of human arrogance.
***Note: I have removed the first part of this quote, which was tacked on and falsely attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. I foolishly published without fact-checking. The quote above is directly attributable to him. My apologies.***