Around The Hoop

Act like you've been there before, America

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenMay 3, 2011

In an act of supreme valor, U.S. commandos wiped the smirk off the face of global terrorism on Sunday.

Justice finally arrived for the orphans, widows and countless Americans who lost loved ones on Sept. 11.

The death of Osama bin Laden is a triumph for this nation and the world is no doubt better off for it.

While the tizzy in the streets that's followed is certainly understandable, it's also bad form.

This isn't the first time the United States has been victorious on the battlefield. Let's act like we've been here before.

Dancing in the streets and waving flags conjures up many of the same images of terrorists and their supporters in the Middle East who are all too quick to revel in death and despair, although usually the flags they hold are burning.

America shouldn't stoop to their level. It will only fuel more hatred for our denizens and our ways.

The celebration of bloodshed can only beget the celebration of more bloodshed. It's a cruel, vicious cycle.

The frenzy, of course, hasn't been limited to outdoor public places. Indoor public spaces — namely social media sites like Facebook and Twitter — have been flooded with mangled and misattributed quotes. Literary mayhem, if you will.

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure” is a fine statement but not one that ever came from Mark Twain's pen. Rather, the famous ACLU lawyer Clarence Darrow in his 1932 autobiography "The Story of My Life" wrote: “All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”

Another quote that went viral immediately after President Obama's announcement is this one: "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." It was attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Megan McArdle, a writer for The Atlantic, correctly points out that the first sentence is not Doctor King's. The rest of the righteous passage, however, can indeed be found in the 1963 M.L.K. Jr. book “Strength to Love.”

Finding the strength to love a man like Osama bin Laden is a hard pill for most of us mortals to swallow.

He was a mass murderer who has inspired other mass murderers.

His fate is now sealed.

It can be difficult to find the proper words and actions to commemorate this historic event.

So let us salute the brave men and women who put their lives and careers on the line to make it happen.

But we must not forget: Even though bin Laden is dead, terrorism is not.


comments: 1 Comment on "Act like you've been there before, America"

Boo – May 04, 2011, at 7:00 a.m.

Beautifully stated... My feelings exactly...

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