Really, I thought, are we actually going to go there? Now? With this particular "victim"? It was enough to make me believe that madness can take many forms, including the calm and almost scolding tone adopted by those who seem to suffer from terminal psychoanalysis.
I think the spontaneous release of joy at the news of bin Laden's demise is proof positive of our collective humanity. Anyone who hesitated to bang the drum is just another victim of moral relativism, one of the most insidious and fatal diseases afflicting modern man.
The inability to comprehend the pure and unambiguous
righteousness of a bullet through bin Laden's temple is the direct result of a society that believes in giving second, third and even 20th chances. It's a symptom of confusion about the difference between compassion - which has its limits - and justice, which does not, even when it takes the form of retribution.
Those celebrations were natural - maybe even necessary - reactions, the other side of the coin of the parades that broke out in the Arab streets on 9/11.
Who can forget the images of the bearded men in Islamabad, Pakistan, raising their fists in victory, accompanied by the ululation of burqa-clad women in Somalia?
But while those expressions of joy were over the deaths of innocents, fans at the Phillies game, West Point cadets singing our national anthem and expat Americans weeping and clutching flags were celebrating the destruction of a man who represented evil incarnate.
And those who criticize them are nothing more than acolytes of a conveniently user-friendly God, certainly not the one described in Jeremiah 20:11: "But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior, so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fall and be thoroughly disgraced, their dishonor will never be forgotten."
Those who said they felt uncomfortable celebrating the madman's death are like that attention-seeking fellow who's written a book about the nonexistence of hell.
It's a nice way to get on the New York Times best-seller list to say that maybe hell is the figment of overstimulated imaginations (and I'm sure bin Laden would like to believe that Dante was making it all up), but for anyone with a real sense of justice, there's no question: Hell exists, and it just got a new resident.
And, frankly, I think we made that passage a bit too easy. Instead of giving bin Laden a burial that allegedly comported at least in some ways with Islamic tradition, we should've chopped him up into 3,000 pieces, one for each of the deaths on 9/11, photographed them for a nice display at a modern-art gallery (right next to the crucifixes in urine) and then tossed them on the scrap heap of history.
Burial at sea was far too easy.
Of course, there are those who'll say that we absolutely needed to show some respect for Islam to avoid any kind of wild reaction from the same Arab street that routinely burns American presidents in effigy. Given that history, I don't think this group needed an excuse to riot.
So instead of his swift and relatively painless death, maybe we should have taken him alive for a bout of some "extraordinary rendition," which many sensible observers are now saying provided crucial information in the hunt for bin Laden. (Thank you, Alberto Gonzales, and thank you, John Yoo, for those so-called torture memos. Apparently, they worked.)
And since I'm giving out thank-yous, we should send flowers to President Bush, on whose watch the intelligence and military framework necessary to execute this triumph was developed.
Also a high-five to President Obama, who showed great courage in pushing back against his liberal worrywarts and did the right (and politically astute) thing. Most important, we owe an immense debt, incapable of being repaid, to our military. They are the light to bin Laden's darkness.
But as for those uber-sophisticated folks who think it's appropriate to sneer at or downgrade this moment - and the enthusiasm of their fellow Americans, I have a different emotion . . .
Shock, awe and disgust.
Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer. E-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org. She blogs at philly.com/philly/blogs/flowersshow.