The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The death of a terrorist is still the death of a human

Sunday night most of us were glued to our TV screens waiting for the president to officially announce the death of Osama Bin Laden. Thousands of people gathered outside the White House and Ground Zero in New York, waving American flags and dressed in their finest red, white and blue outfits, chanting “USA, USA.”

Sunday night was a night of celebration. When his death was announced, we cheered.

We look at his death as a terrorist being stopped, but at the end of the day, he was a human being.

Is celebrating the fact that we’ve killed other human beings American nationalism at it’s finest? Surely his death has brought us all together as one nation.

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There I was glued to CNN, excited and happy for sure, but once the news had set in, I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about how happy I was. It’s scary to think that the assassination of a man could bring us together.

I think back to when U.S. forces killed Saddam Hussein’s sons and the images of their dead bodies were broadcast on every news station in the country.

What right do we as humans have to celebrate the deaths of other human beings? They were not necessarily men feared and hated by the Western world. Quite honestly, at this moment I can’t even think of their names. Yet for some reason we all cheered when they were murdered.

How much is one human life worth and to what extent is it OK to kill others?

Basic democratic thought going back to John Locke tells us that we all have a right to life until we give up this right by committing such unspeakable acts as murder. This is where our justice system comes from; people go to jail because the bad things they did means they deserve to lose their freedom.

Is Osama Bin Laden less than human because of the deaths and horror he caused?

I can’t help but think yes. But typically, we bring people who do bad things to justice via court cases.

Bin Laden and Hussein’s sons weren’t given their day in court.

We justify it by saying that these were evil people, but this is not always the case.

One of Gaddafi’s sons and three of his grandchildren were recently killed by U.S. forces. And by grandchildren, I do mean children, all under the age of 12.

Yet the bodies of Gaddhafi’s grandchildren are not shoved under our noses. Why not? They were killed in the name of democracy, too.

Maybe it’s because Saddam Hussein’s sons were adult males dressed in traditional Arab clothing complete with bushy beards. They looked like Osama Bin Laden, therefore it was just fine that they were murdered.

How is it any different than the shooting we saw in Arizona in which the target was Gabrielle Giffords? Several lives were taken that day, and Americans view it as a tragedy.

It was a tragedy.

But would killing Jared Loughner, the man who shot Giffords, be considered justice? Would it improve American nationalism?

Not so much. Several human rights groups would probably call it murder. Nobody would break out their American flag socks to watch his execution.

Yes, the death of Bin Laden is a monumental moment for Americans and he did horrible, unspeakable things.

But there are other things that can bring Americans together as a nation than the death of an enemy. Aren’t there?

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The death of a terrorist is still the death of a human