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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Deciding how to respond when villain of our generation is killed

<ay night, the villain of our generation was taken down. For many Carleton students, it was difficult to know how to react to Bin Laden’s death. For most of our lives, Osama has been THE bad guy. We watched, stunned, as his orders were carried out on 9/11. From that moment on, he has been the face of evil in the world. He was the embodiment of terrorism. And then, last Sunday, like every good Western film, the forces of good triumphed and killed the villain of our story. On one hand, this is triumphing good over evil. On the other, it was murder.

It’s not a simple situation. Bin Laden’s death didn’t eradicate terrorism. We didn’t bring back all the people who died on September 11th, nor did we save the lives of all the men and women who died fighting terrorism in the Middle East. Bin Laden’s death doesn’t change the past ten years, but somehow, since Sunday, it’s changed a whole lot of other things.

For our generation, it’s almost impossible to know how to respond. President Obama gave the speech of a lifetime on Sunday night, but it’s incredibly unlikely that it was only that speech that boosted his approval ratings. It seems like as a country we can only come together as one to celebrate our country’s greatness when our soldiers defeat our enemies and our media broadcasts the story for all to see. (Example: the Somali pirates last year caused a swell of patriotic emotion). Is that really the only way we can love ourselves as a country? It’s so saddening that it takes the destruction of other lives for us to feel good about being Americans.

Here at Carleton on Sunday night there were many celebrations going on around campus. One on-duty RA asked a group of male students to take their open containers of alcohol out of a public hallway. Normally, students are fairly respectful of RA requests, but the killing of Bin Laden seemed to go to these particular students’ heads. “F@#$ off, Osama’s dead!” screamed one of the students.

Students of our generation seem to be entitled to celebrate his death. The moment of zen on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show was a college age student saying he was blowing off finals studying to celebrate. It’s incredibly upsetting how skewed his priorities are. His life and the world would be so much better if he studied instead of celebrating.

The editorial represents the views of The Carletonian editors.

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