Having no formal responsibilities (such as, a job) equals having a lot of free time during the day. Having a lot of free time, unfortunately for me has always equaled having a lot of thoughts. My mind is the most powerful weapon I will ever own. It analyzes, it creates, it manipulates, it twists, it turns, and it exaggerates. When I have time, I tend to over-think a lot of things. I tend to read, to investigate, and to dig deeper. I do, in fact, possess that “curious about the world,” characteristic that Columbia looks for in a student. And lucky for me, I have free time now that I am unemployed, and because I have so much time, I have been reading, researching, and watching a lot of material on Osama bin Laden.
I’m not sure if it is just my curious nature, or my over-analytical brain that is thinking this way, or if anyone else is feeling this way, but now that this man is dead, I really want to know more about his life. Most of all, I want to learn why, in this world, someone could hate Americans so much that they are willing to try to kill as many of them as they can, including some of their own. That is the biggest, most unanswered question I have right now, and I’m sure (at least, I hope) there are many others feeling the same way.
The way I am trying to see it is from this seemingly (to me) neutral standpoint: perhaps he, and his followers, see us (“Americans”) as we see them. We see them as evil, as terrorists, as killers. We are a diverse nation. We are the land of the free, and most importantly, as displayed on Sunday evening, the home of the brave. We are the land of opportunity. We run on a democracy. We are a free nation. We are allowed to speak what we wish, think what we wish, and praise God, write what we wish.
We are divided, too, because we all have different political beliefs. We are Republicans. We are Democrats. We are independents. We are Jewish. We are Atheists. We are Mormon. We are Christians. We are Muslim. We are Buddhists. We are executives. We are CEOs. We are politicians. We are custodians. We are engineers. We are social workers. We are restaurant managers. We are train conductors. We are unemployed.
But we all, as Americans, all agree beyond the shadow of a doubt: terrorists are wrong. Terrorists are evil. Terrorists must be destroyed. Terrorists must pay for what they’ve done to us, for trying to take away our freedom, to shake our foundation, and to attempt to exterminate our ways of life. Even those that once served our country, put their life on the line for our freedom, who somehow turned on their country and bombed an innocent office building killing over 100 people, must die for what they’ve done. We all agree with that, no matter our religion, our political stance, or our economic “class status,” that terrorists are the face of evil and that they must pay for what they’ve done.
So maybe, in the world that Osama bin Laden grew up in, or in the Muslim community, or maybe in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, or just in his household, he was taught to view Americans as we view terrorists. More than anything else that we say, do, or believe, we are Americans and that is what he hates. More than anything else, he is a terrorist and that is what we hate. So as we are taught to hate terrorists, he is taught to hate Americans. Make sense? That’s the only way I can begin my research on this “organization” or group of followers; to view his way of life basically as the opposite of mine, and with an open mind, despite what I’ve been taught, know, or believe. Because I am curious to know, more than anything, why he hated us so much that he was willing to sit in his caves, compounds, wherever he was from time to time, and literally think of how he could shake our foundation literally to the ground. I don’t understand it, believe me. I don’t know if I ever will. That very man, his very brain, his very followers, tried to kill my own father. They wanted my father dead so badly that they were willing to volunteer themselves and their lives to kill him. Praise God that they did not succeed in killing my father, but there are 3,000 others in this country who cannot say that. His plans to end their lives because they were Americans succeeded in that sense. But I pray that those families who are left felt justice on Sunday, because finally, what we all as Americans agreed on completely, fully, with every fiber our beings, happened: he paid his price for taking so many lives.
Stay tuned. I have many more thoughts and things to share. And if you have a comment, or a conflict with what I’ve said, please feel free to voice your opinion. I am truly open to all sides and thinking regarding this topic.