So he’s dead…now what?

We turned on the 10:00 news last night to listen to the weather…and found that the station was doing a special report on the death of Osama bin Laden. (Never did get the weather…)

There have been lots of thoughts running through my mind since hearing that stunning news.

He has been the force behind much evil in the world–and while I would hope that his death would stop some of it, I’m not so sure it will. There seem to always be others to step into a dead leader’s place…and who want revenge.

He needed to be brought to justice. But is what happened justice? Or our revenge? And is that really going to change anything? Or have we just created more danger for more innocent victims?

The last couple of nights we’d been watching some episodes of West Wing–when the president’s daughter has been returned to her family after her kidnapping. It’s not clear yet who kidnapped her–but her mother is convinced that it was in response to the president’s signing of an executive order giving the go-ahead for an assassination of a terrorist head of government–a decision that was supposed to have been kept secret, but had just recently been exposed.

And now this…with bin Laden. We’ve cut the head off a snake of terrorism–but what have we opened ourselves up for?

Violence is not the answer to violence–although it’s a tempting and quick response. But until–and unless–we are willing to do the hard work to help change the conditions that create situations that people like bin Laden can exploit, killing only begets more killing.

It’s not going to be easy. Peacemaking–true peacemaking never is. There will be some who will never want true peace because it robs them of their power. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

I don’t envy government officials. There are hard decisions they have to make–and it’s always easier to second-guess than to have to make the initial decision.

But I do wonder. He’s dead…now what?

I think we would all be wise to be praying for wisdom to find new ways of living with each other–and courage to take those steps.

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