ORLANDO – To Sonny Buoncervello, watching the news coverage of Osama bin Linden’s death was exciting and overwlemingly positive.
“The first reaction you have is it was absolutely phenomenal,” said Buoncervello, a Realtor in Celebration. “There is anothing else to say but phenomenal. We’ve waited 9 ½ years for this.”
But to Mark Schmidter, an Orlando businessman and Libertarian activist, the news left him feeling frustrated, and he eventually decided the Obama administration had made a serious mistake in killing the terrorist leader of al Qaeda.
“Do we go by the Constitution — or not?” Schmidter asked. “The more I think about it, the more I think we did the wrong thing. They shouldn’t have killed him. I think we could have gotten a lot of knowledge about what he’s been doing for the past few years. Then he would have gone into a world court and the world could have seen we are a Repulbic — and a nation of laws.”
The reports that bin Laden was killed by a Navy SEALS unit at a compound in Pakistan brought about cheering crowds across this nation, has given President Obama a boost in his job approval ratings, and left many to conclude that justice had finally been achieved following the tragic loss of life during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., which were masterminded by bin Laden.
A typical reaction came from Peg Dunmire, the chairman of the Tea Party of Florida, who said she was “thrilled” at the news.
“I am thrilled that we finally got him,” said Dunmire. “I think it is just a real tribute to our county’s perservernce for bin Laden to be in Pakistan, literally a mile away from their version of West Point. And for Pakistan to have repeatedly said he was not there really puts a tremendous strain on our relationship with Pakistan. But I’m glad they got him.”
Still, Dunmire said she wouldn’t celebrate for long, because she has a lingering fear that bin Laden’s death would spark more violence by Islamic terrorists.
“We don’t know what that will bring in the future,” she said. “They have created this cancer in the world, and there will be many other leaders who rise up, so we cannot take our eye off the goal of eradicating this evil, and I do think we are now going to be subject to an increased reaction to the death. This is war.”
The death brought a sense of relief, even justice, to some. Former Congressman Alan Grayson of Orlando said, “I am looking forward to enjoying our peace dividend,” while Congressman Allen West, a South Florida Republican, put aside partisan politics and issued a statement saying “Congratulations to President Obama and his National Security Team for the capture and killing of the world’s most dangerous and evil criminal mastermind, Osama bin Laden. Our appreciation and gratitude goes out to General Petreaus and the brave men and women in theater. Our Special Operations team executed a flawless, cross border operation, proving once again, our American Armed Forces are the most skilled, organized and highly trained forces in the world.”
But like Dunmire, he cautioned that the war on terrorism wouldn’t end with bin Laden’s death.
“Although this is a time of exuberance, rejoicing and healing, America — as well as our allies — must be vigilant and on guard for retaliatory attacks from the extreme Islamic world,” West said. “What strongly concerns me is that bin Laden was not found hiding in a remote cave, but in an urban area of Pakistan where the Pakistan Army’s premier training institution operates. This is a war that is no where close to being over.”
Dunmire agreed, saying, “I saw young people being interviewed who were out celebrating, and they said ‘Now we can bring our troops home.’ But no, we can’t. He was the mastermind, and it’s certainly symbolic and we’re glad it happened, but this is not over. We absolutely need to be on guard for this. It gives us a renewed reason to go ahead and beat terrorism. People need to understand, the terrorists’ mission is to kill us, and this gives them a new reason to kill us. Americans really do need to wrap their heads around how these radicals think, and whether or not we killed Osama bin Laden does not change their basic belief that they need to be killing us.”
Schmidter took a different view, and said the United States had failed through this mission to live up to its own Constitution. He cautioned that the decision to kill bin Laden would make the terrorist leader a martyr and would only spur more violence against this nation.
“The bad ones will now go ahead and say, ‘Look at what America does, they don’t even follow their own laws, they just go and kill whoever they want’,” he said. “That’s happened in the past – anytime they lose one of their leaders, he becomes a martyr, and this is just another reason to fight. We also lost the example that we’re a Republic, that we’re not vigilantes. We have a nation of laws, and everybody has their right in court.
Now that we’ve killed the guy,” he added, “we can’t figure out how he was there for five years. We’re not going by our own Constitution, and we’re really not at war with Pakistan, so we shouldn’t have been invading them.”
Buoncervello, though, said anyone who remembers the destruction of the World Trade Center after terrorists flew two planes into the twin towers has to feel a sense of justice in bin Laden’s death.
“When you start to reflect again on the firemen and the policemen and the thousands of employees and their families and the servicemen in New York – there’s no many aspects that come to mind — you can’t help but be excited that we did this,” he said. “Last night when I started to see everybody in such great happiness in every city, as they filled the streets, I also had the terrible realization that there were people in other countires that will grab an American flag and start burning it. As we were being happy about what happened, they will be rallying for the opposite reason. So we have to be cognizant to both sides of the coin. But we should be showing our happiness and our emotions, mainly for the families – so many thousands who have been affected already.”
Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.