me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Death and victory, celebration and contemplation

My last post, on the death of Bin Laden and the celebrations it prompted, got so many comments here and on my Facebook page, that I thought I'd respond in a new post instead on the comments pages.

It's a hard topic. I'd hope I'd be bigger than to celebrate death in any form, the death of anyone, but the death of Bin Laden isn't something I can be ambivalent about. I'm glad it happened. Yes, there will be unintended and unforseen consequences, as in the Chinese story about the farmer and his horse (see Laraine's comment #13, last post) but there always are, even when you walk out of your door in the morning. That can't be and never was an excuse for inaction. Whatever the implications for the future, you have to take some sort of action in the present. Also, the first responders at Ground Zero, cheering, waving fists -- ask me, those people can do whatever they want. They get a pass, because they were there, and they lost so many.

What I was reacting to were the TV clips in that hour and a half between the first news bulletin and the President's statement. The frat party atmosphere in DC and Times Square, the surfer handsigns, the U! S! A! chants -- you couldn't have told it apart from a street party after, say, an Olympic soccer gold medal. That was in the context of the fiddle-while-Rome-burns atmosphere here at home over the last ten years, while we've had young people fighting and dying in two wars over there.

Some of you made very wise comments here and on Facebook. And I do want to say that the mood at Ground Zero appears to have been different, more subdued, people leaving flowers and notes on the fence. (What will we do when that fence is gone?) A lot of people I've seen interviewed, too, have been expressing the same reaction I, and a lot of you, have had: a complex set of emotions involving the return of what we felt on Sept. 11, and over the time since. Complex, uncomfortable, but people seem to be facing it and trying to sort through it.

So while the street-partying still bothers me, I'm thinking now it was, as a couple of people pointed out, kids blowing off steam; and the country as a whole seems to be reacting to this news with more relief, thanks and thinking than celebration.

So: thank you, military: thank you, Mr. President; and thank you, fellow citizens, and all you guys here, for reacting like grownups.

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