"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that" -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Firstly, the entirety of that quote shouldn't be attributed to Martin Luther King Jr., so you shouldn't post it on your Facebook page like I did.
One reason the war on terror has dragged on and on with no end in sight is that Americans have been deprived of a victory, and politicians both Republican and Democrat are afraid of being seen as losers who backed out of a fight without obtaining that victory. Well, now we have it. And if you doubt that, we have the crowds of celebrants in the street to back it up. That is, after all, what victory looks like in the American imagination. We think of the end of WWII and we don't think about the bomb or Hitler in a bunker. We immediately think of a sailor kissing a strange woman on the street. We think of joy. Joy provides emotional closure, which we never got after 9/11 and the distraction in Iraq. Maybe this joy at Osama Bin Laden's death can provide that for us. And maybe then we can finally have politicians say that we won, and so we can finally shut down the illegal prisons, the ongoing war, and maybe even the ridiculous security theater at airports. But if we scold and silence the joy away, we'll never get a chance to find out.
David Sirota of Salon:
For decades, we have held in contempt those who actively celebrate death. When we’ve seen video footage of foreigners cheering terrorist attacks against America, we have ignored their insistence that they are celebrating merely because we have occupied their nations and killed their people. Instead, we have been rightly disgusted -- not only because they are lauding the death of our innocents, but because, more fundamentally, they are celebrating death itself. That latter part had been anathema to a nation built on the presumption that life is an "unalienable right."
But in the years since 9/11, we have begun vaguely mimicking those we say we despise, sometimes celebrating bloodshed against those we see as Bad Guys just as vigorously as our enemies celebrate bloodshed against innocent Americans they (wrongly) deem as Bad Guys. Indeed, an America that once carefully refrained from flaunting gruesome pictures of our victims for fear of engaging in ugly death euphoria now ogles pictures of Uday and Qusay’s corpses, rejoices over images of Saddam Hussein’s hanging and throws a party at news that bin Laden was shot in the head.
I guess Limbaugh also... *yaaaaaaawn* ...sorry, what were we talking about?
Matthew Newton from Thought Cloud on how celebratory many Americans were:
Perhaps we all just want to have some reason to be happy (and share that happiness with a large crowd), and if a death party is all we get, well, let’s make the most of it. Given the heartache wrought by bin Laden and company, witnessing such a weirdly joyous public reaction to death may be, after all, not all that weird.
Apparently, it was a kill mission, not just death by firefight. This matters to a lot of people, who called for a capture and trial rather than planned execution.
Jill of Feministe also offers her take.
9/11 first responders weigh in.
Oh, check out this video for some really, uh, over the top enthusiasm about the announcement, which easily crosses the line into, well, gross.