Students and faculty react to the assassination of Osama bin Laden

By Nika Madyoon

The topics of Senior Prom, Advanced Placement exams, and pending summer vacation plans were joined Monday by debates about an issue of much greater historical significance: the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

After President Barrack Obama addressed the nation Sunday night to announce bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. Navy Seals,  Facebook was flooded with students updating their statuses. There was a resounding enthusiasm and sense of triumph surrounding the matter, with occasional hints of skepticism and a few appeals to human nature asking whether any death is cause for celebration.

“I was in a restaurant at the time, and everybody started applauding,” Amy Weissenbach ’12 said. “On the one hand, I think it’s a good thing because he was obviously an enemy and a bad guy, but I think there’s something gruesome about celebrating death.”

Head Upper School Librarian Shannon Acedo wondered what the implications of bin Laden’s death will be. Acedo described her feelings as a mix of relief, satisfaction, concern, and curiosity.
“There’s some triumph there, [after] all this effort,” she said. “It’s not over now. What does this change, if anything?”
The news took many by surprise.
“It was really shocking,” Jasmine McAllister ’11 said.

McAllister was watching “60 Minutes” at the time, and recalls that a story about a horse race was on when the program was interrupted with the announcement.

“It was a too-good-to-be-true type of thing,” she said.

Some students said that bin Laden’s death is not as significant as many believe it to be.

“I think it’s a big accomplishment, but I don’t think it will actually do that much since I think someone else is going to step up as leader [of Al Qaeda],” Ryan Blackwell ’12 said.

Patric Verrone ’13 viewed the situation in a similar way.

“I just don’t think anything that important really happened, unless this is the start to the ‘end of terrorism,’” he said. “Killing him is just an execution. We have to see what happens.”

History teacher Drew Maddock was relieved.

“My first response was ‘Finally!’” he said.

Maddock was surprised to hear that bin Laden was hiding in a suburb in Pakistan, and noted that it took a long time for bin Laden to be located.

“It’s not an area of the world that we have that much access to,” he said.

Maddock said that students in the future will see the assassination of bin Laden as “an inevitable outcome.”

“They will hear about 9/11, and the next line will say that the man behind it was found,” Maddock said. “But there’s no of course in history.”