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A bad man is dead...

The boys were still awake, as they usually are at 7:20, when I first saw the news on Twitter suggesting that Osama bin Laden had been killed by the U.S. military. I turned on the news, because I couldn't imagine missing this announcement. So I had to tell the boys (who were really more focused on their dinner) what was happening; and all I could say was, "the president is announcing that he killed a very bad man. He ordered attacks on the U.S. -- thousands of Americans were killed," and, "this is what started the war Daddy is fighting." The war is not over. This does not affect his homecoming, and probably won't curtail future deployments.

I was glad, then, when I turned on the radio later, turned my computer on, to see the celebrations (and they'd fallen asleep already when a neighbor set off fireworks). I don't like the idea of celebrating death, even of a very bad man -- however you feel about the news, I suspect parents have common feelings about that. And if any of our children were alive during the attacks on 9/11 (of the urbanMamas founders, only one, Olivia, already had a child in 2001), it's likely they were too young to understand any of it.

Honestly, I think I'll try to shelter my kids from the photos of celebrations and the related news. We'll just leave with the title of my post: a bad man is dead. And they can learn more once they hit high school and study recent U.S. history. There are lots of tragedies I feel I shouldn't keep from my children; knowing that bad things happen as part of this complex rich life is something we've accepted, more or less. Knowing that people celebrate someone's death is just too nuanced for them; or maybe it's just too nuanced and conflicted for me to explain. How do you feel about this news?

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I just read the news, myself, and I had the same feelings. How can we celebrate someone's death? He was just as passionate in his beliefs as we Americans are--moreso, in many ways. This whole situation makes me sad, especially because I feel this might be the beginning of a new round of threats, attacks, retribution. I don't want my kid to grow up in this kind of world.

And I will not be sharing this news with him.

Yeah this is true A bad man is dead now and we wait for this how long time.

As a parent and grandparent I agree that giving young ones the news is a choice every parent needs to make for themselves. Children of military parents may need to hear that there has been a victory in this war on terrorism, but to watch the singing and dancing in the streets, well, that could be very confusing. Death is a very personal and deep event. Yes, he was a very, very bad man. And yes, he was someone's son, father, leader. Putting aside the difference in our cultures, a man is dead. It's final for him. He cannot cause any more havoc in our country, that's good. But there are many mourning him, and we should be somewhat respectful of that.

Would you all have had this same attitude when Hitler was found dead in the bunker? Don't get me wrong, I've always been against both wars started under Bush and wish we'd get out of the current quagmires.

BUT as a former New Yorker, I'm very proud of my country today. MY president found this man in two years while the supposedly "keep you safe" Puggie idiot couldn't do it in 7. And all this was accomplished entirely without torture, but by using traditional intelligence tactics. No civilians were harmed.

And this was the man who TWICE attacked our country, a dubious distinction previously held only by the Japanese---and the reason for our entering WW2. I see this as a learning opportunity to discuss with my daughter the shape of current events around the planet. And yes, any child can be taught these things.

While this may certainly ignite retalliation, it also may ignite a more positive attitude across our country. A more confident nation spurs activity, creating jobs, enabling us to shed the pessimism that perpetuates this seemingly endless recession.

Not to mention an almost assured across the board Dem victory in 2012.

Sarah, you are the first person I've heard respect the fact that indeed he is a man who is dead and death is not particularly cause for celebration, despite your position as a member of our country. Thank you. And Mary, thank you as well. Beautiful words. Zumpie, I think it's okay to have compassion and mercy for bad guys without compromising your beliefs about good and bad. I've talked with my boys a lot about nuanced subjects such as war and death penalty. They grasp the grey area in it as much as they can at their ages. I think this is just another piece of the picture for them. Our most recent war conversation was along the lines of both sides think they are the good guys, otherwise how could they justify fighting. I can see that your boys might have a different take given their father's role. I imagine our next conversations will be about why this turn of events is seen as important and how it might impact what happens next. I feel like honesty is the best policy once they are old enough to grasp it.

I may be stating the obvious, but whether or not this news should be shared with children depends on their age. At a very young age they are not able to understand that, in the scheme of thing, death may be a good thing. I believe in prolonging this "period of innocence" as long as possible. After that, it is more about being truthful when explaining why it is ok to be happy with a news like this.

I am glad we have the option of "sheltering" our children from some of this. I do however, have friends that have lost their husbands in the 9-11 attacks. Their children could not be sheltered from the truth. They live everyday without their loved ones. I think they have every right to celebrate the capture and death of the murderer. Osama was more than a very bad man. He killed innocent men, woman and children. Take off your "liberal" hats folks. It is one step closer to peace. It's time to celebrate.

I don't think bin Laden was merely "passionate about his beliefs." He was a fanatic who killed thousands of people all over the world, not just Americans, and he didn't hesitate to spare other Muslims either.

YMMV.

ITA who me? and FUOSAMA, he was evil and I'm happy he's been sent to rot in hell. This something children will now be taught in school and places President Obama with a small, elite group of presidents.

And you know what? It rocks. Sorry, it does.

The approach I use with my children (ages 7 and 5) on anything multi-faceted is to explain the situation from as many sides possible, pause to let that sink in, and then follow with "I wonder what you think about that." That often makes the conversation pretty wide open and inevitably includes them asking me what I think about it so I know they are getting my interpretation but hopefully not in a way that influences theirs. I make sure they know they are allowed to hold whatever view they think makes sense to them and reassure them that views can change over time.

"I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." - Mark Twain

Zumpie,
I think we are on the same page. As a fellow NY'er, I can say justice was finally served. I am happy the douche bag is dead. One terrorist down, many more to go.

Oh, FUOSAMA, we most definitely are. I can only hope this brings some small amount of closure to his many, many victims across the globe.

As for "passionate about his beliefs"--again so was Hitler, so are white supremacists, so are serial killers. My compassion does not lie with them, but with their victims and the victims' families.

Here's the thing. When Hitler died he was still very much in charge of his sinking ship. People poured into the streets not for his suicide, but a week later, when the unconditional surrender of his army meant the troops there would soon be coming home. But this nightmare isn't over. It seems callow to celebrate an individual death, even of this monstrous man, especially when this war is not over, and might never be. I'm saving my cheering for when/if our men and women come home.

Um, anona---actually we were still fighting Japan (and continued to do so--Hiroshima???). Who not all that long afterwards became our staunch ally (continuing to this day). Of course terrorism may well never end and of course there are plenty of others to take Bin Laden's place (just as our WW2 alliance with Stalin empowered the Soviet Union, so that they would be our new enemy in a few very short years).

But this offers closure for many Americans. It may well be the watershed moment that will propell our country back to optimism and economic stability. It's HUGE.

I was touched by the conversation with her son that this blogger relates: http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2011/05/complications.html

Zumpie, I quote myself, with emphasis: "the unconditional surrender of HIS army meant the troops THERE would soon be coming home." VE day was marked by massive celebrations around the world, three months before VJ day. People were celebrating the end of war in Europe, and they had every reason. They weren't just dancing on one man's grave.

Thanks for writing this article. I felt the same way when I found out he was murdered. It's still the end of a human life, however evil. I just don't understand partying over it. It seems wrong and leaves a pit in my stomach. I'm happy his reign of terror is over, I'm glad he was captured, and I hope someone else doesn't take over in his place. it just reminds me of when 9-11 happened and video overseas showed people cheering in the streets. It all is so inhuman. Can't we just hug each other, be thankful, etc. Without partying in the streets? To each his own, I guess.

So, is this acceptable?
"Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. 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. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence and toughness multiples toughness in a descending spiral of destruction." MLK Jr.

I think there is a difference between the role of the state and that of the individual, an individual may choose pacifism, or not. The pacifist route has been chosen by many people and is a noble and respected road.

But the state has a duty to its members, who look to it for their protection and security. Bin Laden was the leader of a terrorist organization that is responsible for killing thousands of innocent people around the world. He has openly vowed to kill Americans wherever they are. This in no way excuses the dancing in the streets and other blood thirsty displays demonstrated after the fact, but it does explain why the state, and President Obama, as the sworn protector of that state against all enemies chose the course he did. You live by the sword; you die by the sword.

Why does everyone assume that everyone is dancing in the streets because he's *dead*? Is it so hard to think that most of them might be dancing in the streets because he will never again orchestrate an attack on innocent people here or anywhere else in the world? Would there be any less dancing if he had simply been apprehended and was now in a cell awaiting trial? I don't think so. I wonder, if this man had been a serial killer, rather than a mass murderer, and had been gunned down by police while resisting arrest, rather than special forces, would the families of his victims still be inundated with MLK JR. quotes if they expressed some sense of relief or satisfaction that it was finally over?

Perhaps it was all the of the people interviewed saying they were out there dancing in the streets because he was dead?

Ok, I understand why people are so happy after hearing the news. But, such a strong reaction on our part just makes this guy look more important. Let's just treat him for what he was - a criminal. Let's thank the military for the job well done and stop talking about the bad guy, unless you want his name to become a sort of symbol for the rest of the bad people out there.

"We put those who do evil things on trial not so much for them (though we do do it for them because, unlike their view of us, we see them as human), but we do it for ourselves. We do it because we are civilized, we are a free people, we believe that everyone has a right to their day in court, even the worst persons. We believe in the rule of law even if they don't. That makes us strong, stronger than them, and we will defeat their evil through our open and just society. If we behave like them, we will eventually become them. I do not believe in an eye for an eye. The Nazis started a world war in which some 40+ million died. Yet we gave them their day in court, just to show them that WE ARE NOT LIKE YOU. And to show the world the evil deeds they did. Unfortunately, to put bin Laden on trial would have been problematic because he used to "work" for us in the 1980s when we trained, armed and funded his rebels in Afghanistan. Too much might come out about this Frankenstein we created -- and who would then come back 20 years later to murder 3,000 of our citizens."

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