Are We Really Celebrating Someone’s Death?
Edit: 01/6/18): Reformatting for changes to the site. Corrected some errors. Added a little clarity.
Edit (04/10/13): Added a summary. Added a little bit to some sections below to better clarify my thoughts on this situation. While this was two years ago, I still find this quandary an important one. Why celebrate someone's death? As I've outlined below, I see many reasons to be glad about the end of someone's reign of terror. I also still see the idea of people celebrating the death of someone, anyone, to be disturbing.
Osama Bin Laden Dead
As you are probably aware, on May 1, 2011, the US officially declared Osama Bin Laden dead. Bin Laden has been named by the US government as the primary instigator of many terrorist activities; including the attack on the world trade center in New York City on September 11, 2001. This death comes after ten years of searching the middle east for him.
Americans Are Celebrating
In many places around the country people see Bin Laden's death as reason to celebrate. This is, of course, because he is seen as a symbol for the destruction that caused the death of thousands of others. The responsibility for killing innocent civilians when the twin towers were destroyed is placed squarely on him.
Weeks later, I wish to explore the moral dilemma over the celebration of death and perhaps share some perspective.
Celebration at the White House
Muslims Celebrating 9/11
Many Muslims celebrated the events of September 11, 2001. For the Muslims celebrating it, it represented a great victory over the United States. For the United States, it was adding insult to injury. Understandably so. No one likes the deaths of their loved ones treated so callously.
Families cried in outrage and the American people gathered behind then President George Bush to go to war.
Is Osama's death not the same thing? Are we not being just as callous and ugly about human life by celebrating the death of a man? I'm not saying his death wasn't necessary. I'm not saying it shouldn't have been done. I'm not even saying we shouldn't be glad, or relieved. I am asking if it's appropriate to throw parties, dance in the street, and truly celebrate his death.
You probably know "America's Most Hated Family." The Westboro Baptist Church has made it a point to picket funerals. Funerals seem to be their favorite place to preach their message of "God's hate."
They picket funerals of dead soldiers and homosexual people hold signs like: "God Hates Fags," and "Thank God For Dead Soldiers." They also take patriotic and religious songs and rewrite the lyrics to help push this message of hate.
People are so disgusted by them, they can no longer picket a funeral without expecting others to stop them, or even risking their own safety. Other groups known as hate groups, like the KKK are even so upset with these practices, they've stepped up and held Westboro pickets back from funerals. This is largely because Westboro Baptist Church pickets those who are clearly innocent, but also because of the lack of compassion for someone who died.
Westboro Attacked While Picketting (Strong Language Warning)
People standing up to Westboro Baptist Church. (Strong Language Warning)
So here we have one group celebrating the death of innocent US Citizens. We have another group celebrating the death of the honorable defenders of our country as well as innocent people for being "sinful".
In each case the US people are outraged at the audacity and the disrespect to not only the people who have died but the people whom they've left behind. The clear disregard for human life is plain and ugly. It's easy to see how this is wrong, and shocking that they do not also see it.
My Question is this:
Is it ever right to celebrate someones death?
A Hypothetical Question
Now, I want this to be clear. In this article, I am not questioning whether or not Osama Bin Laden was a bad guy. I am not questioning whether he needed to die. Let us assume that he was rotten to the core. Let us assume he was as close as we get to evil. Lets say it was necessary beyond a shadow of a doubt that he needed to die and there was no other way.
Let's set Osama aside a moment.
Imagine someone you love has a gun to their head. Imagine you find yourself in the right position to shoot the person holding that gun. Your loved one's assailant falls down dead.
Being glad they will hurt no one else is great. There is no question in my mind that we should be glad for that. But celebrating the passing of a person seems to be both hypocritical and immoral to me.
As alway's I love to hear feedback. What do you think?
Is it Ever Right to Celebrate Death?
© 2011 kwade tweeling