I was just finishing up the opening meeting of the conference I am attending when I heard one of the attendees tell another participant the news of bin Laden’s death.
When I checked my rss feed last night (and again this morning) it was of course dominated by the news.
I don’t think I am going to dwell overly long on this at the moment. The death, like his life, was an enormous wildcard in our world culture. His actions sparked wars and a new security environment that will persist long after his day, because of not only his influence, but the influence of the organization he founded (which kept only the top 10% of the people they trained and seeded the rest into the many like-minded organizations, thus building their voice).
We have no idea what this death “means.” It will be analyzed into the ground and many with aims of their own will try to spin it in many ways, but only time will tell us what, if any, influence his death will have, and whether it was greater than his life.
However, one interesting impact it may have is on the conversation about hell currently raging in the blogosphere. One thing that hell is very useful for on our part is as the threat of punishment or the thrill of punishment for someone bad. “He is rotting in hell,” is a gleeful comment I have seen posted in many places. Turning the other cheek, loving our enemies, and not rejoicing in their fall is something that is still difficult for us today. I will confess that I struggle between the exultation of justice served and the sadness that a soul has been lost forever.