Like every other American, I was stunned last Sunday when I learned that Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy Seals in a military enclave in Pakistan.
I felt relieved that we had finally run the admitted mastermind of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks to ground.
I was glad that our military and intelligence members had stayed the course in a long road to get justice for the victims and their families. I don’t think Americans would ever have felt right about the last 10 years without killing or capturing him.
People were understandably elated by the news but I think the street celebrations that ensued did not show our country in the best light. As a Christian I was a little ashamed that so many were taking such delight in the taking of a human life, even such a monster as bin Laden.
The other surprising thing about the raid was that a native New Mexican would be inserted into the center of the takedown.
No, I don’t have inside information on the identities of the Navy Seals but Geronimo (born in New Mexico) sure got caught in the middle after it came to light bin Laden’s code name was Geronimo.
Right after I heard the code name and long before Native Americans began complaining about associating Geronimo with Osama, I was amazed at the parallels between the two.
Both were driven by vengeance to acts of terrorism. The U.S. government expended lots of blood and treasury trying to track them down and they each used international borders to their advantage until the government started disregarding those borders when it came to these individual criminals.
Both had multiple wives and several phases to their lives. Each also learned to trust no one but those closest to them. They also both stymied U.S. military efforts by employing tactics they weren’t familiar with and would struggle with combating effectively for years.
Both Geronimo and Osama wound up killing even more people of other nationalities than Americans but it was left to the U.S. to bring them both down. Geronimo spurred lots of cultural animosity against his people just as bin Laden did against Muslims.
While both were originally seen as brave warriors, they were eventually seen as too radical by even their own people. They became loners and dead-enders.
Native Americans definitely have a compelling case to make with much of the discrimination they claim. But where Geronimo is concerned I think they may protest too much. He crossed the line of human sensibility too often.
With all that said, I can almost bring myself to the conclusion that Geronimo was justified as a freedom fighter. I can definitely admire his bravery and his independent spirit.
I can’t relate to bin Laden’s mindset at all and I don’t think I ever will.