a friend sent me an email about a video on a merchant's website using a parodied, celebratory version of osama bin laden's death as a marketing tool. outside of such a thing being in bad taste, there's nothing wrong with that, but what is striking to me is the mentality behind it.
the gist of the video was "ding-dong the witch is dead! buy our product!". it's been a pretty common theme for most folks, let's be honest. "yay! that bad guy who killed all those people is dead! oh, sweet justice!", might sum up the collective sentiment. but that logic is so wrongheaded and naive that it's hard to know where to start. i like lists, so i'll take that approach:
1) according to the FBI's wanted poster, bin laden hasn't even been officially charged with doing anything relating to the 9/11 attacks. let that soak in - HE HAS NOT EVEN BEEN CHARGED.
2) bin laden has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attacks. there are many sources who say he has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the key is that there's no way to tell, conclusively, whether he did or didn't have anything to do with them.
3) so, there's a guy who hasn't been accused of anything (though his involvement was heavily implied by certain parties) who has denied responsibility for the crimes in question, who was hunted down and executed, without trial. people celebrate this. i can only assume, since people aren't hypocrites (sarcasm), that this is the way they think they should be treated. those who celebrate bin laden's death must believe that they, themselves, should be punished for crimes that anyone implies that they may have committed, without the chance to defend themselves. somehow, i think this one of those things that only applies to "other" people.
4) how does anyone know if the events in question (bin laden's murder) actually took place? did anyone see it happen? did they know bin laden and see his body afterward and identify that he was, in fact, dead? no? so, all we have to go on is the word of proven liars and manipulators? sorry, but that doesn't pass muster for me. how do i know bin laden's dead? because liars told me so!
5) doesn't it bother anyone that the president has hit squads running around killing people upon his decree? anyone remember stalin, mao, hitler, pol pot, etc? oh, right, this is 'murica! no president would issue orders to kill innocent american political opponents. it can't happen here - right?
6) but let's assume bin laden is guilty. the government killing him is unjust for those actually injured in the attacks he's blamed for. isn't he supposedly rich? why not, at least, force him to make restitution to the injured parties? by the hit squad going out and terminating him, it insures that those with an actual claim against him will never be compensated. nice "justice" you got there.
7) again, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that bin laden is guilty of the crimes he's been accused of. would those who celebrate his death equally celebrate the deaths of george w. bush and barack obama, who have openly and publicly engaged in the planning and execution of operations resulting in the deaths of innocent civilians in orders of magnitude greater than bin laden ever has, if the governments of iraq, afghanistan, pakistan or yemen hunted them down in washington d.c. and killed them with a hit squad? if not, why not? is it about killing innocent civilians or is it about something else?
if you are one of the people who celebrated bin laden's murder, you have to ask yourself exactly what it is that you're celebrating and why.
the vast majority of people simply don't know what justice means. the public education system has done its duty, churning out compliant, unthinking drones who cheer the depredations of government on command. good job, most-people, you once again confirm your unquestioned love for evil.