Laughter, hoorays, shouts of joy. Fireworks, even. The sounds of sweet revenge.

So that's it. America's most dangerous enemy is dead. This must mean that I'm supposed to feel happy, right? Relieved? Safer, perhaps. But in all honesty, I don't. Years ago, as a little girl—when I saw the world in black and white—I would have been giddy with excitement over the news. The villain of the story is finally out of the picture, and all is just as it should be. My younger self would have rejoiced with unwavering pride in America's great accomplishment and the seemingly bright future that lies ahead of us. But today, as I look at the world through the eyes of an adult, I realize that everything is grey and messy. 

Truthfully, the news of Osama Bin Laden's death has not made me particularly joyful. In fact, I feel anxious. A distinct unease has grown inside of me since late last night when my roommate, eyes glued to the computer screen, informed me that the notorious leader of al-Qaeda had been killed by American soldiers. The disbelief in her voice made its way into mine as I questioned her shocking discovery: "The Osama Bin Laden is dead?" With a single nod, she confirmed that it was true. I wasn't quite sure how to react at first, so I smiled. It isn't every day that an evil terrorist gets what he deserves, I thought. But my positive feelings about the situation faded as quickly as the depthless grin on my face, and uncertainty began to take over. I can't say that I wasn't glad to hear that the man responsible for so many deaths would never harm anyone again. But for reasons that are difficult to explain, watching my fellow Americans surround the White House in triumph after the news broke did not give me peace of mind; rather, it seemed to add to my distress. As did the part of Obama's speech when he proudly exclaimed, "Justice has been done." With all due respect, Mr. President, did you mean to say "vengeance?"

I don't fully understand why I'm not elated about this so-called American victory, but I know that I'm not alone in my confusion. Regardless, those of us with opinions that stray from the conventional perspective will most likely be criticized for any inkling of expression. At worst, we will be seen as "anti-American" or unpatriotic. But this isn't true. I love being an American, and I only want what's best for my country. I can't even imagine how many innocent lives have been taken by Bin Laden and how many more lives will be spared because of our brave Navy SEALs. Like everyone else across the nation, I desire justice for every single one of his victims, American or otherwise. But this act of "justice" that we're all thanking God for—this "eye for an eye" mentality that we're encouraging—does not strike me as an achievement to commemorate. Yes, the U.S. forces did what they felt they had to do, and I respect their courage and determination for keeping our country safe. But rejoicing in the name of death, no matter who's death it is, seems terribly wrong. And I cannot ignore the emotional discomfort that arose within me as Americans everywhere praised the Lord for the end of Bin Laden's life.
Say to them, 'As I live,' declares the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.' | Ezekiel 33:11
I'm sure that after reading this, many people will believe me to be either ignorant or naive. And I admit that I may not be "in the know" about such high-intensity government operations. I don't often follow current events (even though I wish I did), and I wouldn't call myself an extremely political person, by any means. But the knowledge that I do have, accompanied by a few personal beliefs, have given me insight to my own thoughts and opinions on this controversial matter. You may disagree with them, and that is completely fine.

But this isn't the only thing that's troubling me. Putting the morality debate aside, I can't help but wonder what the effects of this whole thing will have on America (and on the rest of the world, even). Although the assassination of Osama Bin Laden appears to signify a step in the right direction—a step towards peace, many would argue—my gut instincts tell me that nothing good will come out of this. That our celebration will be short-lived. Whether I sound completely ignorant or just paranoid, I can't seem to shake the indescribable feeling that something bigger is brewing here, something that we cheerful Americans might not anticipate just yet. But my mind keeps asking one question. Could we possibly be experiencing the calm before the storm?

Photo by Trent Yarnell.