Monday, May 02, 2011
I'm a Buddhist. I may be just starting out in the study of the philosophy, I may not have the ole monkey mind settled by any stretch of the imagination yet, but I can safely say I've become a Buddhist.
Upon seeing the news this morning that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by our Navy Seals, my fleeting response was relief...the boogeyman was no more, Voldemort was conquered. But I say fleeting, because immediately following that news, the pictures came up on the web showing people dancing and celebrating in front of the White House, and my relief turned quickly to repulsion, to sorrow for a mankind that would celebrate another human's death, no matter how much destruction he had perpetrated on our soil. And I'm afraid to say much more because then I'm welcoming comment from folks questioning my patriotism or sanity.
I understand the need to celebrate. I do. I sat in my office at 8:40-whatever on 9/11 and watched in horror as the towers fell (the company had wheeled in a couple of giant TVs so we could follow it, because even 10 years ago, TV was better at reporting that stuff than web vid...and we're a website company!), and I spent the morning in fear, dialing through jammed circuits to ensure that my friend on 5th Avenue had been nowhere near the destruction. She was fine, had a bird's eye view of it, as it turned out. I plain couldn't watch any of the 9/11 movies or documentaries that were made, because it was just too chilling...hearing the tapes, the "let's roll!" of the PA flight, sends chills down my spine to this day...because I understand the love of country that would bring those people to fight their captors. As time passed, I read the first-hand accounts of folks who lived through it, and the NY L&Os did a nice job of highlighting the health ailments, PTSD, and other issues that have befallen NY's police and firefighters in the wake of the tragedy. Yes, I know that's fiction, but it gives you the nudge to learn more...and the more is heart-breaking.
But I can't accept an eye for an eye.
Pause while my old College Republican buddies pass out cold from the shock...
Even with the thousands of deaths that occurred at the hands of this man, even with the monumental suffering he has caused in our nation and around the world, the level of hatred and destruction he has encouraged and created...it doesn't justify his murder. All I could think after that first wash of relief was "where does it end?" They talk of the threat of terrorism being heightened in the wake of his death, and the US just laughs, because this act has proven, once and for all, that you don't fuck with us, that whatever suicide bombers come our way, we can handle it...and the wheel keeps turning, pointing us further from peace.
I get that peace won't occur in my lifetime, I'm not an idiot. But free will gives me the ability to feel this way. Beyond this, I'll keep silent on the subject. I know my thoughts and they're unpopular, and I'm not a debater when it comes to personal philosophy.
P.S. Snitched from my friend A. with thanks:
"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.
Images from here, here, and here.