Saturday, May 7, 2011

I got half yo back, Rashard Mendenhall

Everyone knows where they were on September 11. It is, in many ways, this generation's JFK assassination. The shock, devastation, and hopelessness stirred in each of us as we were glued to our television sets all over the nation. I, for one, will never forget the images of people jumping to their deaths from the top floors of the World Trade Centers to avoid being burnt alive. Then, naturally, these feelings of despair gave way to rage and a call for justice against those responsible.

Osama Bin Laden became the face of the attacks. And now, in 2011, nearly a decade after 9/11, Osama Bin Laden is dead.

People's reactions ranged from fans chanting "USA" at a Phillies/Mets baseball game to citizens parading the streets in pure gleeful celebration.

Rashard Mendenhall, the starting running back of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was not so amused. In a Twitter barrage that has ended up costing him his Champion endorsements and countless fans, Rashard voiced:

  • “What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side...”

  • “We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”

  • "I believe in God. I believe we're ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge."

  • "For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn... I ask how would God feel about your heart?"
I must admit that I have no idea how to react to the news of Osama's death, but the backlash against Mendenhall is incredible. While he later posted a blog entry to apologize and attempt to clarify his tweets, I don't see how there's anything to apologize for other than his conspiracy-theorist quip about 9/11. While there are many out there, myself included, who don't think we know the whole story of what happened that fateful day in New York City, this was neither the time nor the place to question it, and Mendenhall should have known better.

With that said, I wholeheartedly agree with his statement regarding the celebration of Bin Laden's extermination. Ask anyone who knows me -- I love this great nation to my core -- but the overwhelming hatred and uncontrolled cheer was truly frightening. I think what irks me most is how many times the word "justice" has been thrown around.

A decade ago, President George W. Bush had promised that "we will find these people and we will bring them to justice." Then, this past week, President Obama, during his announcement to the masses concerning the covert Navy SEALs operation, said, "...on nights like this, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to Al Qaeda's terror, justice has been done."

What is this "justice" we are speaking of, and is it our job to carry it out? And does this justice serve any purpose other than making us feel better? Does Bin Laden's death eradicate all the pain and hurt that he has brought upon so many American families?

Like Rashard Mendenhall, I too believe that only God can judge. All in all, I'm just glad that it wasn't me who had to make the decision to carry out the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden, as I am still struggling through the ethics of the entire situation. Yes, I do understand that he was the leader of Al Qaeda and probably plotting to do more harm to Americans, but, without going into too much of a tangent that would likely lead to discussions of capital punishment, I'll just say that I'm not entirely sure it is man's authority to "bring them to justice."

I will leave you with these follow-up thoughts from Mendenhall: "I wasn't questioning Bin Laden's evil acts. I believe that he will have to face God for what he has done. I was reflecting on our own hypocrisy. During 9/11 we watched in horror as parts of the world celebrated death on our soil. Earlier this week, parts of the world watched us in horror celebrating a man's death."


2 eprops! Rashard has guts to speak out and tweet something on the minds of many!

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