The news came just a little before midnight on March 1: Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the devastating terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was dead. After a decade of eluding capture by America’s and its allies’ forces, the al-Qaeda leader was killed in a U.S. special forces attack on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
“Justice has been done,” said President Obama in a press conference announcing the operation and its outcome.
The announcement has sent shockwaves across the world, eliciting myriad reactions, questions about the circumstances of bin Laden’s death and burial at sea, and even conspiracy theories. Here, area residents and organizations share their thoughts on the matter:
Tyner Bethea, 37, interior designer, Northwest Baltimore
“Initially I would say it gave me a sense of peace or retribution, but then, there were the after thoughts of what kind of retaliation is there going to be because for such an organization, I can’t imagine that there won’t be. So, I guess it’s just a wait and see kind of thing.
As far as how they handled it, I’m a firm believer that we never really know what goes on within the government…So the story that was on the news today about how they made sure no civilians were harmed and so forth, I question that because it’s no secret about the tactics of the U.S. government.”
Alphonso Willingham, 24, Fed Ex employee, Central Baltimore
“I think it’s going to make it worse, actually, now that he has people under him that are going to actually step up. You know the Muslim Brotherhood is kind of crazy, so I guess it’s going to make it a little worse. It might make it better… we just have to wait and hear what they say about it. I don’t think too much of it. I wish the war was over.”
Linda Hollin, 60, state office worker, Central Baltimore
“You had two generations, father and son, who started this mess with the oil and it’s been 10 years and they didn’t have an inkling where he was. It took a Black man to find him and that’s because Obama is not only book smart, he’s street smart…But I would have never shot him in the head and killed him. If it was me, I would have taken him to some secret place…and he would have told me something. I would have had him like Aretha Franklin, he would have been singing for respect.”
Roy Moore, 71, retired army sergeant, Northeast Baltimore
“It doesn’t mean anything to me because it’s not going to bring back the people that died …. I agree with the father that lost his son in that building on 9-11. He said that he can’t bring back his son and that bin Laden did what he thought was right; even though it was an evil thing, but he thought it was right. And there are a lot of bad things that happen in this world and I’m not one to judge or jump up for bin Laden or jump up for jubilation based on what he’s done. I think it’s tragic.
Shanika Monroe, 29, city worker, West Baltimore
“I don’t really care. I feel like the media is adding fuel to the fire. Granted he is gone [but] he had people that were following him, so who’s to say they won’t try do to the same thing he did?”