Photo: David Miller (Flickr)
After Sunday’s announcement that US Forces had killed Osama bin Laden, crowds gathered on Bloomington’s Kirkwood Avenue to cheer the terrorist leader’s demise. Many dressed in red, white, and blue, and chanted U-S-A until long after midnight.
It’s raised the question whether this type of behavior is normal for a civilized society. IU Health, Physical Education and Recreation Professor Kathleen Gilbert say it it.
“It’s the idea of vanquishing the enemy,” she says, “and he was a pretty central figure in everything that has gone on in our lives over the past nine years.”
Gilbert specializes in grief and resilience studies. According to her, the actions of the U.S. are minor compared to many other societies in recent years who have dealt with the death of an enemy.
“If you think about Italy after Mussolini was killed, people hung his body upside down and took turns beating it.”
Gilbert says America’s response may seem savage and inappropriate, but the response is not unreasonable considering what bin Laden represents.
She also says that after the atom bombs were dropped on Japan during WWII, Americans cheered not because thousands were dead, but rather that the war was over.