Over the top

So by now, even my cat knows that Osama Bin Laden is dead.

Every news outlet has been falling over themselves in the roughly 24 hours since the news broke to cover every possible angle to the story, to the point that if there hasn’t already been a story by the media about the media covering the story, there will be within the next six hours. Honestly, I don’t understand why they insist on doing that kind of story–it’s the most vulgar form of navel-gazing possible.

The commentators, opinion writers, politicos, politicians, and bloggers (yes, I fall into this category) have been giving their spin on the story since they got it.

Rush Limbaugh managed to put the inane stupidity of some media outlets on display by sucking them into his own ruse of “praising Obama,” but only proved that that media just reads the transcripts to his shows, instead of actually listening to his ever-grating tenor.

Twitter announced that when the news broke, a record number of sustained tweets cleared through its system.

Fans at a baseball game chanted “U-S-A” when they heard the news. Groups of people spontaneously congregated at “ground zero,” the White House, and elsewhere to do virtually the same thing.

All of this for what?

Oh, believe me, I know that it’s more than just justice, or revenge, or a precise military operation, or closure, or even murder, or the easy solution. Some are already spouting off that this guaranteed Obama reelection because he achieved something no one else could. Some are claiming that the lack of pictures of the body, and it being buried at sea make it an unbelievable act meant solely to prop up a severely lagging country, government and/or president.

The problem is that it doesn’t really mean anything.

Well, it means something, symbolically, of course. The man who everyone blames for the attacks of September 11, 2001 has been killed. But I hope that people really aren’t naive enough to believe that just because the leadership is gone from Al Qaida that the organization is going to fold up and go away. Al Qaida isn’t a military, built on discipline and leadership: it’s built on fear and anger and hatred and misguided beliefs and a great deal of selfless devotion to a cause, not a person.

For the very short term, yes, the world is a safer place. But in the longer term, you have to assume that somewhere, somehow, there will be brutal retribution. I know that people, especially in this country, have been waiting for that opportunity to let out that sigh of relief and then move on with their lives. And maybe for a moment, that’s a good thing. But being to singularly focused is a chronic problem we have as a society: we see Bin Laden dead and don’t give the rest of the organization he headed a single thought.

I know that tomorrow, the news will still be hunting out every possible angle they can find on the story: perhaps what kind of car was in the driveway of the house, or answer the “boxers or briefs” question, or actually get to the bottom of the real story here: how could he be hiding almost in plain sight without someone from Pakistan saying word one to us?

Ah…That one’s the real question: we’ve always wondered which governments have supported the terrorists. Now we know that one must have done something to help. And they’ve got nukes.

See? Now I’ve got your attention…Just think this thing through for a minute: what we need is no jubilation or deeper fear, just caution.

See you tomorrow.