Rashard Mendenhall and Osama

So I was intrigued by the backlash directed toward Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers running back, after his Tweets of a few days ago. Specifically, he wrote:

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…

To begin with, I was thrown for a complete loss by the “We’ve only heard on side” line. I think we’ve heard both sides—every side—at this point, and when a man is responsible for so many deaths … for such a tragedy, well, what more needs to be stated?

That being said, I can’t help but agree with the words, “What kind of person celebrates death?” Like Mendenall, I was taken aback by the zest and vigor of the post-He’s Dead announcement. Believe me, I’m thrilled the U.S. finally got Osama Bin Laden. He was a terrible, Hitler-esque man, and he deserved to have cheese spread all across his body before being fed to the rats. But—and this is a big but—the level and stylings of the celebration really threw me off. In Washington, people were singing the “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey hey, goodbye …” chat. At Ground Zero, there was a similar mojo. It’s not that people aren’t justified in their happiness—I suppose they are. But there’s something about jumping for joy over death that simply strikes me as, well, weird. Even if it’s Osama. Even if it’s Hitler.

It looks weird. It smells weird. And it strikes me as a distinctly juvenile way to behave. Which leads me to point two—the people who were celebrating. If you watched closely, these were mostly kids. College kids. High school kids. Kids. Again, I get the happiness. But I really think a lot of these folks saw an excuse to run around, scream, get wild—especially during final exam season. I mean, how many 9/11 family members do you think were down there, hollaring and pumping fists? I’m guessing very few.

I’m not saying Mendenhall was right—his overall statement was severaly misguided. But when it comes to celebrating death, well, it’s not something we should celebrate at all.

At least not with a big party.

8 thoughts on “Rashard Mendenhall and Osama”

  1. When I saw people celebrating and chanting, my first thought was of images of people celebrating and chanting in the streets of Iran, “Death to the Great Satan”, in reference to this country. Perhaps someone can explain the difference between “us” and “them”, beyond the usual “we’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys”.

  2. If it was just the “celebrated” part, it wouldn’t be a huge issue.

    He also tweeted that he didn’t believe planes could destroy a skyscraper (I’m paraphrasing) which he later took down in the last 24 hours. Kind of insinuated the ‘truther’ view to many.

    He has the right to express himself obviously, but deserves pretty much the backlash overall in my opinion.

  3. Ted, it should go without saying that the difference between us and them is that we were cheering the death of a man who murdered thousands of civilians while they were cheering the very murder of those thousands of civilians.

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