So, this past month has been crazy busy. Just last weekend two of my favorite people got married. No, I'm not talking about Kate and Will. Two of my dearest, Patt and Jaileigh, tied the knot with humor, grace, and delicious desserts. Other than the coughing fits, I went to be quite blissed out that night. I saw the single most powerful force in the world at work: human connection. Joy. Laughter. Love. I'm not saying this to gush, I'm saying something I truly believe - being able to connect to someone else, to empathize, to share tears and laughter, to talk, to unabashedly be with one another ...these are powerful things.
I'm glad that I have a coffee mug and some pictures to go with the memories of Saturday night's festivities because over the course of these past days, I've seen a lot of ugly things spreading about the internet.
Rage is a strong drink. There are several brands on the shelf, some more potent, more distilled than others. Thing is, though, that no one is a happy drunk when imbibing rage. Rage makes us all ugly. Just look what it does to your face. It twists it about, scrunches you up. If you're crying, you get all red and puffy. Rage is never a pretty thing. Sometimes, though, it is necessary. And it's natural. It's part of being human. Cut deeply enough and you'll get rage from someone: anger, passionate vitriol, sadness all mixed into one cocktail.
For more than 10 years, Americans have put a particular name to some heinous crimes committed against ourselves and against others in the world. We've put a specific face at the bullseye of our dartboard, blaming him and him alone for the horror of one Tuesday. We were hurt that day, as a country, when 3000 innocent people died. When first-responders were buried in rubble. When we watched live footage of people jumping to their deaths. Since that day, more people have died to find those responsible, to try to undo what was done, to make sure it never happens again. I have friends who have served. All have come home, so far, and goddammit, Matt Tydings is coming home, too when all is said and done. Some of my friends missed years of their children's lives. Some left a piece of their soul over in the desert. All of them sacrificed something to bring justice to the world.
That man we've named as the architect, the man cursed by so many is now dead.
There is relief in that statement. There is hope that my friend Matt and his brothers in the service can come home and stay here, hold their families and live with joy. There is hope that now, 10 years after the event itself, we can rebuild rather than tear apart the Middle East in an angry man-hunt. I would be lying if I said that a part of me didn't take a bit of wrathful glee in knowing that this hateful fucker has finally (FINALLY) been brought to justice.
...I'm seeing something that scares me more than conspiracy theories or zombie scenarios. I'm seeing good people go the way of the mob. I'm seeing my Facebook and Twitter feeds flooded vile sentiments like, Pics or it didn't happen. Why did we give him a proper Muslim burial at sea? He didn't give that respect to his victims, why should we give it to him?
First of all....do you know what happens when someone is shot in the face with a high powered firearm? It's not fucking pretty. It's gruesome. What you're asking to see isn't some special effects make-up, computer imaging or a scene from last week's episode of CSI. It's real. It's the honest, ugly truth about what happens when physics meets flesh and bone. I've never seen such a thing and I am thankful that I haven't. I'd like to keep it that way. What good would it do for you--Joe Schmoe who works in a cubicle farm in the middle of Indiana with a wife and two dogs--to see the postmortem photos of a jackass genocidal fuckhead? You want proof he's dead? Fine, grab a scuba mask and head for the Arabian Peninsula. Otherwise, I'm wondering if all you want to see is some blood and guts. You want that? Take the place of any man or woman in the military and you'll get a similar view.
And why give him the respect he couldn't give his victims? I'll tell you why. Because we're better than him. Because we aren't the monsters we're fighting. He may not have respected others' religions, cultures, lives...but we--the same people who boast that Superman fights for the American way, the same people who believe we are the voice of reason on this planet--we say that we believe everyone has a right to choose how to live. We say that people can worship as they will and that we will honor that. Sure, our hypocritical nature is showing in that we don't give that same respect to our neighbors, but we'll give it to our Most Wanted felon...but if we forget for one second that this poster boy for terrorism was a man with a mother, a father, children...if we forget that Osama bin Laden was a human being, we join him in his ideology.
Come on, guys. We're better than this. The bickering over who got the job done, Bush or Obama? Navy SEALS got the job done, let's just go with that, okay? The conspiracies that he's actually still alive and this was done to boost Obama's numbers and provide an excuse to interrupt the latest episode of Celebrity Apprentice...the lists of how Obama screwed this up, too...the dancing in the streets singing "Ding Dong the Dick is Dead"...the bloodthirsty throngs wanting to see photographic proof (which would then, at the very least, be scrutinized as photoshopped)...just stop. Please?
Let's not spend a moment longer glorifying that bastard with airtime. Take his picture down and erase his name. Let him serve as a lesson of what NOT to be because he embodies what is sick and twisted in humanity, not as a lesson of what happens when you "mess with Texas". Let's move on, heal and take care of our wounded...the men and women who have been working so hard for these past 10 years. Let's take care of each other and the challenges we have at home. I dare you to do better. WE need you to be better.
Seeing the news these past few days is enough to drive anyone to drink. It's hard to find something pure and good to hang onto. Thankfully, I have that coffee mug to remind me of some of the simplest, most powerful joys. I have a husband, daughter, and friends who laugh often. I have enough around me to remind me that humanity is greater than the lowest common denominator. There's more to life and the world than some dead terrorist.