As you will have no doubt heard, one of the most high profile criminals in the world has been killed in Pakistan. Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda and the man behind the deaths of hundreds of innocents, was shot dead in his compound during a US raid on his home. When I first heard the news yesterday morning before work, I felt some grim satisfaction about it. The world can heal a little bit more now that there is one less madman killing in the name of some ill-placed ideal and expert manipulation. However, as the news broke through the day as I was listening to the radio, I felt a different grim sickness in my stomach.
Yes, Osama bin Laden was a vile, evil man with no compassion for fellow human beings. Yes, he killed without hesitation. Yes, he made many many lives miserable. But is his death really a cause for celebration? A lot of people, most of them being American, seem to think so. The raucous cheers of joy from the streets of New York and the noise of jubilation was something akin to a street party. Is it really right that we celebrate the death of another human being? People have been saying that justice has been done, but wouldn't a better practice of civilised justice be to bring him to trial in a court of law, to judge him in front of millions and hold him accountable for his crimes? It was good enough for Saddam Hussein, why isn't it good enough for Osama bin Laden? A lot of people seem to believe that making him stand in court would be too humane, but wouldn't it be a better example to him? Why should we stoop to his level and regress to barbarians? We should be better than that. We are better than that.
I have said this a lot to people in the past 24+ hours, but it still holds true to me - death should never be celebrated. Death should never be "right". Sometimes necessary, but never right.