John Bressler-050611Listen to John Bressler read his column about Osama bin laden.
The death of one terrorist tells us a lot about ourselves. There will be those who say, "Who cares?" Others may respond, "Retaliation is not an answer." Possibly some may ask, "Won't this result in more terrorist attacks?"
My first reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden was, "Our brave and highly trained military team did what had to be done."
The facts are: evil is very patient, does not compromise, does not negotiate and does not listen to reason. Evil definitely takes note of persistent resistance and warnings backed up by decisive action.
My second reaction was, "We took lives! Life is precious and the decision to terminate any living being is not to be taken lightly."
My final reaction was and is, "I am not an innocent bystander, and I must take responsibility for my government's action."
It is far too easy to simply "curse the darkness" and wait for time and a sunny day to erase a bad memory and hope things will just go away. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke for America when she clearly and forcefully announced to the world of terrorism, "You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us. We will never waiver. This is America. We get the job done!"
More must be said. Exodus 20 clearly states, "Thou shall not kill." This is expanded to be sure the reader understands that premeditated murder is not only forbidden but that the life of a murderer will be forfeited. Exodus 21 not only mandates capital punishment but also warns kids that death is the punishment for hitting one's mom or dad and that also applies for cursing them. Whoa! There must have been a lot of dead youngsters back in Old Testament days. In fact, way before the Lex Talionis, the famous 'eye for an eye" rule, God stated in Genesis 9:6 "The punishment for murder is death."
I cannot celebrate the death of anyone, even the death of a known and vicious criminal like bin Laden. I can and must celebrate life. That means to me that I am responsible to do whatever is necessary to help others to live in a safe environment where they can be productive and appreciated, loved and cherished, honored and valued. I am not talking about a Utopia as there are always sacrifices to be made, options to be considered and tough laws to be mandated and enforced. On this debatable point, I agree with my lawyer friends, "Laws are not made to be fair. Laws are made to be just."
As God's people, we will always be called upon to make choices. To assume that making choices should be left to others is to ignore or excuse our responsibility. America's history has taught us this: freedom comes with struggle, democracy is more than a political statement and we exist through our strength of awareness, purpose and sacrifice.
Our nation has made and will continue to make difficult choices. Terrorism will not succeed because we will not allow it to survive. The world may begin to respect our right to exist and our determination to back up our words with appropriate action.
We have spoken loudly. Some are beginning to listen.