I don't generally enjoy sharing my opinion on political matters. I dodge conversations about upcoming elections. Generally, this is because when I'm with my family I tend to be the "far left" black sheep. Yet, somehow, with many of my friends, I tend to be the more conservative of the gaggle- even if only by a social issue or hesitancy to commit myself to a side.
But today, I feel strongly that I don't feel good about how people are responding to the death of Osama bin Laden. I don't claim to be the only one effected by this news this way, but it does seem that an inordinate number of people are celebrating this man's death. It conjures up a scene of an old-timey American hanging, perhaps following a witch hunt. (Not a perfect analogy, but do you understand where I'm going with it?)
I do not think this man should have been free to continue to wreak havoc on ours and other nations. I do not even really know that he is the cause of havoc in our nation or simply an overzealous terrorist seeking fame and blame. I don't think he's an innocent creature and I think he deserves punishment. I think, however, that murderers like him need to sit with their mistakes for the rest of their life. What punishment is death? It is much more like release than incarceration.
My freshman year of college at Kenyon, there was an amnesty group who had set up a folding table outside the cafeteria. They were advocating against the death penalty in Ohio. I wrote my representative a letter urging him to consider an alternative. I don't remember my words exactly but I know I shared this true thing with him: My aunt was inconceivably murdered by a man who took his own life in the cop car that was supposed to drive him to jail. Had he lived, I want to believe I could have forgiven him. As it was, he died with all of my anger towards him intact. I didn't want that man to die anymore than I wanted my Aunt to die.
America needs an opportunity to learn forgiveness. I'm not suggesting that anyone FORGET. But, what lesson is learned by the murder of a man, or by 2,753, or 4,452, or even 1,033,00? A man's death is nothing to celebrate. An attitude of humility and forgiveness and a genuine desire and effort to stop killing people, that would be something to fly a flag for.