Osama Bin Laden is dead

“Ding Dong, Bin Laden is dead, the wicked bastard’s dead!”

That stupid refrain was ringing through my head when I awoke this morning.  But what I actually feel about it, I couldn’t tell you.

I’m completely numb.

I know what I want to feel: relief, elation, a sense of righteousness, justice — but none of that has come.

I watch the commentators, the crowds, the current and former presidential advisors, the president, and I know I should feel like them. But I don’t. Not yet.

Just a pervading numbness and a sense of guilt that I can’t get there. It’s a little different than the numbness I felt on 9/11, which was more like being in some sort of protective fog, as if my brain was enveloping itself in a cushion before the hard fall of real comprehension. But it could only protect me for a little while. After that, of course, grief set in, manifesting in a lump in my throat and ready tears that wouldn’t go away for several months.

Part of me wonders if Bin Laden’s death isn’t more symbolic than actually meaningful in “the fight against terror” — can we really kill hatred with the death of one man, odious and powerful as he was? A blogger I follow (Amy Parmenter) pointed out that his death occurred on Holocaust Memorial Day – a great and appropriate metaphor.

But the fact remains that even since WWII, hatred of Jews didn’t disappear with the death of Hitler. It just went a little further underground.

The other thing that keeps niggling at me is how he died. We took the law into our own hands and just gunned him down – no tribunal, no court of law. Very Old Testament, sort of “hand of God,” or “eye for an eye.”  I can’t help it – it feels barbaric to me. We know for certain that he orchestrated the horrors of 9/11, but I don’t understand how we get away with this. Is it because what he did was an act of war and therefore we have the right to kill him on sight?

You may think I’m anti-American, but I’m not.  I’m just laying it out on the line here, a gut reaction I can’t put away — I feel the tiniest bit that we’ve sunk to some primitive level as I watch the joy-drunken faces of the revelers in front of the White House or at Ground Zero.

Ugh. Did I just write that?

Please don’t get me wrong.  I know this is a great thing, a REALLY great thing – intellectually. I know he is evil incarnate…I guess I travelled down Nihilism Road carrying a little too much mind-numbing baggage today.

Perhaps I’ll feel elated tomorrow.