Monday, May 2, 2011

Let There Be Peace — Not Hatred

Late last night, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in his Pakistani compound following a daring nighttime raid by Navy Seals.

The Seals rappelled over barbed wire fencing, entering the compound and searching bedrooms for the mastermind of the worst terror attacks in U.S. history. Those Sept. 11, 2001 attacks have changed this country forever.

Finding him, they ordered, "Surrender! Surrender!" When he refused to do so, he was shot twice in the head.

Last night around midnight, President Obama announced the raid and Bin Laden's death, saying, "Justice was done." Today during an afternoon press conference, Obama declared, "is a good day for America."

I am a Solitary Practitioner of Wicca. As such, I believe that all life is sacred — not just the good people, but the bad ones too. I am profoundly grateful to the Seals who risked their lives in the raid, but also that they gave this international criminal an opportunity to surrender.

Our country is founded on the democratic concepts of due process, and equal treatment under the law. We base those laws on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, not the Sectarian Law that is confined to the dogmatic limits of a specific religious sect or denomination.

Thus, the U.S. does not practice "an eye-for-an-eye," if we did, we would be no better than the terrorists we fight. I also oppose the death penalty.

Bin Laden was buried at sea, following Islamic Law. I would imagine that choice was also made so that there would be no grave to become a shrine for other terrorist-religious extremists to visit, thus making Bin Laden a martyr to their cause.

To those in Americans who celebrated the death, I urge you to be more reflective. Every person carries a spark of the Goddess within, so rejoicing in the killing of anyone may have unintended Karmic consequences. It is also a tenant of Wicca to respect all faiths.

We should also remember the thousands of Muslims that have died as a direct result of Bin Laden's outrages, not to mention everyone who had died since in the armed conflicts.

As a Wiccan, my faith can be summed up as:

"Bide the Wiccan laws ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust...Mind the Threefold Law ye should – three times bad and three times good...Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill – an it harm none, do what ye will."

I hope this will be another turning point in this country: Toward peace.

I pray it is the beginning of the end of the longest war in this country's history, as well as the on-going war in Afghanistan, which has been the stronghold of al-Qaida.

I also hope that we will begin to overcome religious hatred toward Muslims, finally understanding that it was not the faith that killed thousands and continues to threaten to reign mass destruction on the U.S. and our allies, but radical extremists/fanatics who work outside their own religion's precepts.

On a very personal note: I had the honor to be working with the New Jersey state law enforcement agency on that fateful Sept. 11 morning — which was brilliantly sunny and cloud free. In its aftermath, my agency provided backup assistance to New York City police and fire companies, and also to families and friends who lost loved ones in the cowardly attacks.

State police escorted me to Ground Zero about two weeks after the attacks, before it was reopened to civilians. We went over in a small boat. As we crossed New York Harbor from New Jersey, the Statue of Liberty on my right, I saw the burning face of the new skyline directly before me. Lady Liberty almost directly opposite that shameless brutality.

Recovery efforts were still underway, and the Twin Towers were still burning. I met exhausted first-responders, and aid workers who had come from around the world to help.

I talked to one New York police officer who refused to stop working. She was sleeping in one of the burned out buildings adjacent to the site. The triage centers had set up areas for workers to shower, worried about the contamination that we now know caused even more deaths in the months and years that have followed. Someone had donated the use of a large ship which was docked nearby, to allow workers to eat en masse, and also to rest.

The statuesque woman appeared to be in her 20's, with striking red hair, and hollow eyes. She told me that she was a fourth-generation New York City beat cop.

She had been on patrol that horrific morning near the Twin Towers, and saw the planes hit. Without a thought, she ran at full speed TOWARD the devastation — rather than away from it. She managed to pull some people out before she was beaten back by flames and ever-worsening smoke.

"They attacked my precinct," she said, then repeated it over-and-over-again, until she gradually fell silent.

I exchanged glances with a few other officers who were also her friends. Her post-traumatic shock was so palpable that it was excruciating to see. They shook their heads, silently telling me that they could not convince her to leave, or to get help.

When I got to the actual site, I saw workers in full-gear collapsed in exhaustion, many working 18-hour shifts hoping they still might find a miracle survivor. One firefighter described the work to me. He was from Australia, which had sent a full contingency to help!

Eventually, I went to the edge of the crater caused by the Towers' collapse into the underground. I spent some time in silent prayer before returning to my group.

Afterward, I went to the center my agency had established in New Jersey to help the victims' families and friends. Most had the same hollowed eyes that I had seen on the face of the female officer.

At the center, family and friends posted collages-memorials of their loved ones. Eventually, those were carefully preserved, and will end up in a 9/11 museum.

Later, we all learned that the thick dust that clung to everything and everyone at the attack site was pulverized cement, combined with the ashes of the dead.

I see the faces of those I met often, as well as what the devastation looked, sounded and even smelled like in detail. I will carry them until I am dust. Nonetheless, I still believe in due process and not simply retribution. We are not a cruel, angry, vicious mob — we are America!

— Danu's Daughter


  1. I have the honor of working with several ex-Navy Seals. I also from time-to-time interact with active duty Navy Seals in my work. They are some of the most disciplined people I have every met. If they told Osama Bin Laden to surrender and he had obeyed, we can be certain he would not have been shot. Even though in all likelihood those men probably would have preferred to end the drama right there.

    Personally, I do not understand the relief so many find in this evil man's death. I only find relief in his removal from the freedom to commit more harm.

    Is Still Here

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful post. I agree with you completely. The excessive celebration, even if you don't look at it from a moral view, will only enrage his followers even more to enact additional acts of terrorism.

    Again, thank you so much for you post.