I don’t know how to feel today. I am proud of the skill of our Navy Seals and thankful that the long-overdue and certainly-earned justice came to an evil mass murderer, but I don’t feel like partying because of it. And maybe that’s good. Ezekiel 33:11 states: "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live." John Donne’s words in "No Man is an Island" echo this: "Any man’s death diminishes me.”
The senseless murder of thousands of innocent people on that fateful Tuesday morning in September almost 10 years ago diminshed me greatly. And seeing the images afterwards, showing jubilation on the faces of children throughout the Middle East, cheering and waving their AK-47s, sickened me. I felt that same repulsion a few years ago at San Francisco State’s graduation. The crowd went wild and leapt to their feet to applaud the speaker’s words: "Jerry Falwell is dead." The applause for the graduates was lukewarm in comparison. As I looked at my husband in shock at the response, he whispered, "The death of any man should diminish us."
So how do I feel? I feel satisfied that justice was served and grateful that the world is rid of one of its most hateful citizens, but I also feel somber thinking of the lives taken because of bin Laden. As I’ve reflected on the great cost in human souls and our permanent loss of innocence and the feeling of safety, elation is not my emotion. Diminishment is. And relief.