I have delighted in the deaths of Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan during my lifetime(to name only 2). So I wasn't 'shocked' by the celebration of Osama Bin Laden's death. I was taken aback though, at how universal the celebration was, and the nature of it- It was positively jovial. Then I remembered the crazy dead people Christmas the Central and South Americans(and their diaspora in North America) celebrate.
The character of Day of the Dead is markedly different. Participants celebrate how their dead loved ones lived, by enjoying the foods and drinks they enjoyed, and offering anecdotes and short poems about their time while alive(and much more). It's considered a happy time; A celebration of life with bad ass candy skulls and Mezcal. The celebration of Bid Laden's death among most was a celebration of his killing- not his death. I expected the reaction to his death to have been more like quiet relief.
I wasn't outraged. How a any person deals with death is trifling. My parents said I was too young, at the age of 11, to attend the funeral of the only grandfather I remember. I only offered to go, because I thought it was expected of me, and was relieved that I didn't have to. I don't intend to go to any funeral in the future. I will grieve in my own way which is, and has always been, quiet contemplation. Others may grieve with celebration, anger, or sadness; but I don't invest any special reverence to death or dying.
Death is not always a bad thing. Many times it's a neutral thing, and it can be a good thing, when it is synonymous with relief . One of the only people to put fourth that idea in popular culture, is one of my heroes, the extremely courageous and ingenious Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
His surreal and awesome 'right to die' campaign from 1987-1999(ending in his imprisonment) challenged the world to consider death as it really is- a stop to life. It's not an end to life. Osama Bin Ladens life ended in a gunfight. His life stopped with a bullet to the head. And however you feel about it is fine.
Dr. Kevorkian is still alive and well and was released from prison in 2007. Death lives. Today I have decided to celebrate his life by mentioning him in this article. When he dies, I will celebrate his life, and those who believe in the 'culture of life' will celebrate his death. Go figure.
Blog posts on Bin Laden's death that are great and inspired this one: