Perhaps it is easiest to start with the conspiracy theories, and then work my way into the core thoughts. First off, that there are different accounts, different details, and different stories all swirling around actually makes more sense than not. Remember a lot of the senior folks were watching this real time from video feeds. I've been in the legal field 12 years, I've done my fair share of trials, and I can tell you just how easy it is for a group of people to all see the exact same thing and come away with different recollections. All this different stories aren't official, they're just from unnamed senor officials. A lot of them probably are privy to the information, probably might have even watched it real time. They just saw things differently. If it was all a hoax and a fraud, I doubt there would be nearly as much discrepancies. You also have to weigh the political risk of claiming Bin laden is dead, at the hands of US Navy SEALs, only to find out that he is not. There is simply too much political baggage. Remember, no one knew this was happening. There would be no reason for it to make the news if it failed. So, whatever your conspiracy theory may be, I ain't buying.
On to the crux of what I feel. I feel neither elation nor sadness at Bin Laden's death. I think a lot of that is because I have spent the last 12 years or so in litigation. I have had very just cases. Cases in which our client was severely harmed by the defendant, and we ultimately won. Justice prevailed. But the harm, once done, can never be undone. Justice is righting the scales. It means that someone is held accountable, it means that there are consequences for the harm someone has suffered; but it cannot simply undo the harm.
I believe the action we took against Bin Laden was justified. I will not shed a tear for his demise. But is death cannot erase the loss of the victims of 9/11. It certainly won't roll back all the liberties we've sacrificed on the alter of Almighty Security; nor does it make us that much safer. So what is there to truly celebrate?
I don't just mean celebrate as in be happy, I mean take to the streets en masse with fireworks singing patriotic songs celebrations. For... what? Because a single man, 12,000 miles away, isolated from the world, is dead? We're a nation of 300 million! There was never a chance that he could truly hurt us. How many Americans are killed every day by distinctly American means? Car accidents. Smoking. Guns. Obesity. Drugs. The fact is, from sheer statistics, no one is better at killing Americans than Americans. Perhaps even more importantly, that's the way we want it.
There was a fear that came to the US from 9/11, but I think it is misplaced as physical fear for oneself. After all, we live in a country that has mass shootings. Regularly. In schools, FFS! How scared of sudden violent deaths can any of us really be?
I think the fear instead was a psychological one. One of our traits as Americans is to be very inwardly focused. 9/11 reminded us that not only is there another world of people out there, but that there were a lot of folks in that world who hated us. Hated us and actively wanted us dead. And now, they actually had.
So that's why i think for a lot of people Bin Laden's death has been so visceral. He was the face of that hatred, and he is now dead. But just as irrational as that fear was, so to is it to think that somehow the world isn't still filled with people who hate us. It always had been. It always will be.
So we have a choice. We can acknowledge that there are people who want us dead and accept that they are very, very unlikely to achieve it. Leastways not before we succumb to one of our idiosyncratic deaths. Or we can continue to fear for our safety, and sacrifice our liberties in the hope that the only thing standing between us and another 9/11 is the TSA. (And that without groping our six your olds, or turning checkpoints into instant home porn, they're not up to task.)
I made my choice. I acknowledge that Bin Laden committed atrocious acts and deserved to die. I'm OK with my country being the ones to pull the trigger. But I do not accept that he ever had the power to truly threaten myself, my family, or the people I love, any more than they are threatened by the modern life we choose to live. I will not choose fear.