Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thinkday – The Death of a Terrorist

Last week I mentioned I would be speaking on my views of insurance and credit, and how they drive prices up, but after Sunday’s news of the death of Osama bin Laden I have to push back that topic to focus on this one.

My wife and I, like many others, were watching The Celebrity Apprentice (man he stuck it to Trump by intentionally interrupting his show huh...TOTALLY KIDDING!) when the news broke that President Obama would be addressing the country shortly. We knew it was important because an unplanned break in programming, during prime time, by the president is very rare indeed. My first thought was that another tragedy such as Pearl Harbor, or 9/11, had happened; and that we were declaring a new war. My wife joked about President Obama revealing his birth certificate was a fake and that he couldn’t live the lie any more, and was therefore resigning (we DO NOT ascribe to this belief in any way). Our hearts sank when the news broke, and rejoiced at the same time; a feeling I think most Americans felt.

The next day I was very disheartened with the comments I was seeing online. They were filled with hate, venom, and racism. I will not repeat those here today; choosing not to plant those thoughts into other’s minds. These words people spewed in a way made me feel sadness for my own people. Let me pause for a moment and say that I firmly believe Osama bin Laden was a horrible person. He is responsible for thousands of deaths, immeasurable despair, and contributing to fear and instability in our entire world. But, I don’t think it is something to rejoice when someone dies, or is killed. Some say it is justice, but I have to ask if they are really talking about justice, or revenge. Two things come to mind: Hate brings hate, and you cannot disperse darkness with more darkness…it takes light.

See for me, I believe Osama bin Laden had to die. He didn’t have to die to give justice to the families of his victims (revenge). He didn’t have to die to prevent others from behaving the same as him (preventing actions through fear). He had to die because I honestly believe he had no remorse for his actions, he would repeat his past actions given the opportunity, and he would continue to kill in new ways and greater numbers given the opportunity. For me that is what the death penalty is, a permanent deterrent to prevent those who have committed horrible heinous crimes, who show no ability for change, from acting in that way again.

I have heard people scream that they want to see his body, that he should have been given a trial, that his burial was inappropriate. For me all these things are unreasonable and unhealthy. We don’t need to see his dead image; that is just allowing our hate to fester and grow. He couldn’t have been given a fair trial; everyone world-wide knows who he is and what he has done. He admitted to his crimes several times on camera and on audio. Besides, any country holding him for trial is placing themselves and their citizens at huge risk for retaliation from his followers. Finally, I don’t feel he could have been given a burial. Having a physical grave site would attract both lovers and haters of the man. Those who hate would do all they could to desecrate the grave; those who love would do everything to turn it into a symbol or shrine, strengthening his movement and all he stood for.

Now as I have mentioned here before, I am a person who believes in God. I know deep in my soul that Osama bin Laden will pay for his crimes. His torment will be great, most of which I personally believe will be self inflicted as he realizes the pain, hurt, and damage he has caused. Just because we don’t get to witness his punishment, again something I find to be vengeful, doesn’t mean he isn’t getting his consequences for eternity. While on the topic of religion, let me take a moment to say I do not believe he represented the Muslim faith, or those people who live in the Middle East. He was one man using his twisted vision of his beliefs to justify his actions. A true Muslim abhors violence and murder, and stands in polar opposite with Osama bin Laden’s actions.

So all this aside, since Sunday was such a significant day in history I thought I would look up the date and see what other big things happened. I suppose given there are thousands of years of history and only 365 days in a year there are bound to be coincidences…but still some of these are eerie to say the least. Here are my favorites:
  •  May 1, 1486: Queen Isabella funds an expedition to the West Indies by Christopher Columbus
  • May 1, 1707: England, Wales and Scotland come together to form Great Britain
  • May 1, 1867: Reconstruction in the South begins with black voter registration
  • May 1, 1884: The first American 10-story building begins construction in Chicago, IL
  • May 1, 1889: Asa Candler published a full-page advertisement in The Atlanta Journal, proclaiming to be the sole proprietors of Coca-Cola (Infamous to say the least…down with Coke up with Pepsi!)
  • May 1, 1905: Radium was tested as a cure for cancer in New York
  • May 1, 1927: Adolf Hitler held his first Nazi Party meeting in Berlin
  • May 1, 1931: The Empire State Building was dedicated and opened
  • May 1, 1945: Hamburg radio announces the death of Adolf Hitler
  • May 1, 1948: The People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was proclaimed
  • May 1, 1961: Fidel Castro announced there would be no more elections in Cuba
  • May 1, 1986: The Tass News Agency reported the Chernobyl Power Plant nuclear accident
  • May 1, 1992: Rodney King appears in public to appeal for calm after three days of rioting "Can we all get along?”
  • May 1, 2011: Osama bin Laden is killed by US Navy Seals during a raid of his compound in Pakistan

Osama bin Laden’s death will be remembered for many years. I mourn the loss, not of who he was, but who he could have become if he made different choices in his life. I mourn for those who feel such consuming bitterness and hatred because of his actions. I sincerely hope that this brings closure to those who are hurt, but I mostly hope for a brighter future with more open dialogue and education to create understanding and acceptance of other cultures and beliefs. And that is what I am thinking about today.


  1. Okay.... so I fully agree with you. The mass amounts of hate coming from people sickened me and I had to skip over lots of FB posts in the last few days.

    Here is my take. Osama Bin Laden was a son of God, our Heavenly Father. He was/is our brother... a choice son of God that chose to come to Earth and be part of the Plan of Salvation. I believe that due to his actions and his lack of remorse for what he has done in his life that he is probably a Son of Perdition and is now condemed for eternity. I don't like the idea of never getting to see a family memeber again. I feel sorry for him and I feel much remorse for the choices that he made while here on Earth. We should feel horribly that he will not be part of our eternal families.

    Does that mean that I want him here on Earth continuing to make bad choices... NO! But, do I rejoice in his death now that there is really no way back for him... of course not. I am sorry that no one reached his soul to help him make good choices to return to our Father in Heaven. :(

  2. Martha, thanks for your comments. If it is any consolation I don't think he will be a son of perdition. Here is what Joseph Smith had to say on the matter:

    "What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 358).