Today, as I was picking children up from school I listened to three 12-14 year-olds discuss in detail the death of Osama Bin Laden. They told me how our soldiers shot him right in the head multiple times as well as how they killed the two women who were with Bin Laden. They explained the types of bullets and guns that were used, argued with each other about where he was dumped in the sea and how far the soldiers threw him, detailed how “we” beat him up and tortured him before he was killed because he deserved it, and joked about the amount of blood Bin Laden must have lost throughout this process. And it broke my heart.
I feel we have failed these kids. They have grown up in a society that glorifies hatred and violence. Every other word out of their mouth is about hurting someone or how much they hate something. But how can we blame them when that is what surrounds them? Our country has so many issues, and most of them come from the inside, not the outside. It is important we stand together, but what about standing together to make sure every child has an equal chance of succeeding, no matter their socioeconomic status? What about standing together to reduce the number of homeless people in our communities by providing more resources and support? What about standing together to eliminate human trafficking? Can we really claim to be the "Land of the Free" when people are forced to sell their bodies for sex and labor within our borders? What about standing together to reduce the violence in our communities? What about standing together to make sure every child feels the love and appreciation they deserve? We give up almost instantaneously on those "bad, disobedient children" in our country, but search the world with vigor and dedication for years to get revenge on one man.
I don't know if all or any of the things I heard about Bin Laden's death from these kiddos are true, and frankly I don't really want to know. I do believe it is important to protect and stand up for our country and I admire those people who dedicate their lives to do so. However, I think our focus should be on the future, not the past. There is nothing we can do about what is behind us. All we have is what is ahead.