It's times like this that convince me that this empathic streak is a curse rather than a blessing. Why do I feel mournful rather than jubilant over the death of someone who represents the deaths of thousands and a fearful paradigm shift in our country?
Death is death is death is death is death. It's never positive. It's never a victory. Osama Bin Laden dying does not bring any closure for me any more than it brings home any troops from overseas. Bin Laden is just another dead body in the war on terror.
And that's what upsets me so much. The man wasn't considered a threat anymore, and his body is simply a symbol of revenge. I understand and appreciate and honor that many people do probably feel closure or safer after this event, but I find our collective response troubling.
Pamela Gerloff put it best in her Huffington Post piece titled The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden's Death.
"Celebrating" the killing of any member of our species -- for example, by chanting "USA! USA!" and singing "The Star Spangled Banner" outside the White House or jubilantly demonstrating in the streets -- is a violation of human dignity. Regardless of the perceived degree of "good" or "evil" in any of us, we are all, each of us, human. To celebrate the killing of a life, any life, is a failure to honor life's inherent sanctity.