Response from students and faculty to the killing of Osama bin Laden has varied widely across campus, ranging from jubilation to skepticism.
Dr. Neal Coates, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science said bin Laden’s death is a victory for anyone who loves freedom.
“My first response is relief that a mass murderer is off the scene,” Coates said. “When you see people waving flags, they aren’t celebrating someone’s death, they are celebrating that an opponent of freedom who has committed great atrocities will no longer do that. This person is no longer able to kill people who want to be free.”
For Tanner Agee, junior agriculture major from Cedar Hill, bin Laden’s capture is also a big relief. Agee said he found the response from social media particularly interesting as news of bin Laden’s demise broke late Sunday.
“It’s interesting that Twitter gave us more information initially, even though most of it was wrong,” Agee said. “But I’m really proud that America was able to finally accomplish something they set out to do.”
Zach Freed, sophomore psychology major from Abilene, said he did not believe bin Laden’s capture would be a major victory in the war on terror. He said he believed another member of al-Qaida would rise up and take his place.
Freed said he was particularly disappointed in the way Christians were responding to bin Laden’s death. He said celebrating his death could trigger intensified response from members of al-Qaida. He also said he was disappointed that no glory was being given to God.
“I find most Christian’s reactions to his death kind of heartless. No glory is being given to God; it’s all going to the U.S. military,” Freed said. “People are bringing up the death of Herod and other oppressors of God’s people, but in the Bible it wasn’t a celebration of one person’s death but rather of the liberation of the people. That’s not the way people are celebrating bin Laden’s death.”
Scott Adrian, senior political science and communication major from Los Angeles, agrees with Freed. He said Christians should not be rejoicing in bin Laden’s death.
“As a Christian, I don’t think anyone should ever rejoice in another creation of God dying,” Adrian said. “So I was a bit disgusted with how many people were happy because they were cheering for violence which puts us on the level with the people we were fighting. People are blinded by their patriotism; they should see their Christianity first.”
Sunday evening, President Obama addressed the nation, saying the killing of Osama bin Laden should help bring closure to the families of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
College Democrats president Rebecca Dial, junior political science and history major from Lexington, S.C., said the president delivered a good speech that appealed to Americans.
“President Obama spoke about what Americans wanted to hear instead of what they needed to hear, as this event helps bring closure to many, many Americans,” Dial said. “I don’t think this will end terrorism by any means though.”
Young Republicans president Aaron Escobedo, senior history major from Lamesa, said the president’s speech should bring comfort to many of the families victimized on Sept. 11.
“It was a good speech given at the right time. It’s good that we know that bin Laden was killed and we knew he was dead,” Escobedo said. “It wasn’t anything super spectacular; I’m glad that he did echo some of the things that happened on 9/11 as far as remembering those families.”
Dr. David Dillman, professor of political science, said the capture of bin Laden was a political victory for the president, but likely would not create any long-term political harmony.
“I don’t think it’ll generate unity. It will be a temporary uptick in Obama’s approval rating, but there are too many other issues out there to generate much unity,” Dillman said. “Even after 9/11 the unity didn’t last too long. There’ll be some euphoria, but its temporary. It’s certainly not a bad thing for Obama. It’s good political news.”
For Dillman’s colleague Coates, Obama’s speech Sunday was right on target. Coates said the President indicated there was still work to be done.
“The president hit a triple if not a homerun with his statement that justice has been done,” Coates said. “It’s a statement that supporters of George W. Bush can appreciate and supporters of Obama can appreciate. It’s a statement that people in Middle East can also appreciate. Two underlying virtues of Islam are peace and justice.”
Comments are closed