In Westchester, Harry Waizer, a survivor, paused nearly a minute before he began to speak when reached by phone.
“If this means there is one less death in the future, then I’m glad for that,” said Mr. Waizer, who was in an elevator riding to work in the north tower when the plane struck the building. He made it down the stairs, but suffered third-degree burns.
“But I just can’t find it in me to be glad one more person is dead, even if it is Osama Bin Laden.”
Asked whether he felt any closure, Mr. Waizer said, “I’ve said for years I didn’t think there would be, but I’ll probably need to think about that more, now that it actually happened.”
“You know, the dead are still dead,” he added. “So in that sense, there is no such thing as closure.”
He expected the reaction from surviving families to be varied. ”Many of them will be grateful he has finally been brought to justice,” Mr. Waizer said. “But many of them will feel that whatever the justice of this, it won’t bring back the people they lost.”
Not all survivors of 9/11 are viewing Osama’s death as celebratory. I’m really struggling to understand how bin Laden’s death can truly be viewed as closure. While I’ll agree that it is the end of a “chapter” — one that bin Laden opened, GW Bush facilitated, and now Obama has ended — I don’t see this as the real end to anything other than the life of a leading terrorist. I fail to see how fighting death with more death solves the very real root problems of terrorism. We have not defeated evil itself, for it exists within every human being. We have not defeated terror, for more will surely come after this, perhaps even worse than what we have seen thus far.
While I understand and agree that bin Laden was dangerous, and that there exists substantial intelligence indicating his responsibility for 9/11, I cannot celebrate his death. I understand special forces attempted to capture him, he resisted and was killed in the process — this makes me feel somewhat better knowing that it wasn’t a sniper initiative. So, he died in struggle. But to *celebrate* this? That’s distasteful to me. He was an enemy: few would argue with that. But I would wish *none* of my enemies dead. Justice has a different meaning and manifestation in my view, a view which I think Mr. Harry Waizer — the 9/11 survivor quoted above — shares with me.