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Celebrate death?

Timothy Bontrager | Tuesday, May 3, 2011

While the death of Osama bin Laden is truly a notable event in the history of our country, I do not believe that it is a moment for celebration. Most of us here are U.S. citizens, but we are all citizens of the human race and that obligates us to uphold basic human rights for everyone, especially those that we hate. We as human beings should never celebrate the death of another human being — doing so reduces us to barbarians. Instead, the death of Osama bin Laden should be an opportunity to demonstrate how we are different from the terrorists, in that we do not exult in the deaths of our enemies. The images of us celebrating in the street strongly remind me of the images of the terrorists exulting in the deaths of our armed men and women. When we view these images, we typically reason that these terrorists are inhuman, insomuch as they are celebrating a death. It appears that we are no different from them. The celebration, taunting and Facebook-posting, do nothing more than relegate us to the moral ground that we usually reserve for the terrorists. As the creator of the cartoon “Pogo,” Walt Kelly, said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Timothy Bontrager


St. Edward’s Hall

May 3