Monday, May 2, 2011

On the Tails of Bin Laden.

Being in New York, I couldn’t not go down there. On the heels of Obama’s national address, something stirred inside of me. Tears for the unnamed, for those I never knew.
A man was killed today, and we celebrate. An act of both justice and as Kristof suggests, deterrence. Somehow I can’t find it in myself to buoyantly celebrate the death of a man, no matter how heinous the crime(s). And yet, I find myself relieved. Have we returned to the code of Hammurabi? I know it’s not that simple.
Justice. Deterrence.
It’s a madhouse at Ground Zero. Cars are honking, flags are waving, the crowd is cheering. Chants of ‘USA!’ prevail, with variations of ‘Yes we can!’ and ‘Yes we did!’ thrown in for good measure. The mood: jubilant. Obnoxious at times, what with the drunken revelers, but mostly celebratory. An overwhelming sense of pride ripples.
I’m for the most part, overwhelmed. Silent & observing, it’s with mixed feelings I find myself playing the role of citizen journalist. I’m sombre. Sober. Except to crack a smile upon hearing “na na na hey hey goodbye.”
There were those who once cheered when the twin towers fell.
And now there are those who pop champagne in the streets when a man is killed.

This worries me.
Two people drape a flag at Ground Zero out of respect. A reporter approaches the man for an interview, and he declines. My heart is warmed. In memoriam.
A firefighter reflects.
I’m more moved at the sight of this, than by the 30 minutes of revelry I have just witnessed. At a distance, I pray for him and the friends he must have lost. And then I head back.
Two attendants sit in the Cortland ticketing box. A woman sweeps the subway floor. A homeless person sleeps on the Queens bound N train. A rat scurries across the 34th Street platform.
And life goes on.

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