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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Students Relieved but Cautious After Bin Laden’s Death
Here is another one of my great news stories. Enjoy...
Reactions at De Anza College are mixed, from elation to concern to apathy.
De Anza College students have had mixed reactions to the May 1 killing of Osama bin Laden, from elation that the terrorist is dead to concern of a possible retaliation to apathy.
Bin Laden, the founder of the international terrorist organization al-Qaida, was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. He had been hiding in a mansion in an affluent neighborhood in Pakistan, where U.S. Navy SEALs raided the compound and shot and killed the terrorist leader.
Franco Miranda, 20, a third-year computer science major at De Anza, checked his Yahoo email account on the night of May 1 and said he was relieved when he read in a news flash that bin Laden was dead. He also said he was ecstatic but surprised that justice had been finally served.
“I was extremely shocked but in the sense of happiness that Osama was confirmed dead, even though it took 10 years for it to happen,” Miranda said.
Unlike Miranda, 22-year-old Michael Jimenez, a second-year liberal arts major at De Anza, said he cannot sleep any easier because of bin Laden’s death. He said he fears the killing could incite a violent retaliation from al-Qaida.
“I am not relieved yet, because there are plenty of other terrorists out there that could severely damage us,” Jimenez said.
Although Jimenez is fearful of a possible terrorist strike against the U.S., he said he was confident that the American government would keep citizens safe at home.
“I think our intelligence is pretty top-notch,” he said. “I don’t think the terrorists would try anything here. Maybe they will go after American embassies in other countries.”
Ashkon Afsari, 21, a first-year business major at De Anza, agrees with Jimenez that an American embassy could be a potential terrorist target, but he does not rule out a retaliatory attack on American soil.
“I think retaliation is imminent,” Afsari said. “There are areas of high concentration that could be targets. I fear attacks on a U.S. embassy.”
Upon hearing the news of bin Laden’s death, some college students rushed to the White House and Ground Zero to celebrate, waiving patriotic signs and chanting “USA.” Sylvie Belinga, 27, a fifth-year journalism major at De Anza, decided not to celebrate, she said, because it is not her nature to outwardly cheer for someone’s death, even if it is the man responsible for 9/11.
“I did not celebrate, because I am not that much of a party person,” Belinga said. “All I wanted to know was how to get more information of how he was killed and how it unraveled.”
On the night of bin Laden’s death, President Barack Obama told the world that the U.S. killed the terrorist leader in Pakistan.
“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” President Obama said during a televised statement.
Although the president assured the world that bin Laden was dead, Afsari was not entirely convinced.
“I started with thinking of how the United States needed something to boost morale,” Afsari said. “That, along with the conspiracy theories I’ve heard and the concealment of the body, made Osama’s killing seem not real.”
While some De Anza students said they felt relieved or concerned about bin Laden’s death, some students are apathetic.
Megan Kemmer, 27, a first-year photography major at De Anza, is flying to New York soon and said she does not feel scared or excited about bin Laden’s death and its impact on her trip. Nonetheless, she will remain aware of her surroundings.
“I’m not fearful, but I am cautious,” Kemmer said. “I never doubted our security when he was still alive, nor now that he’s dead. I didn’t have any change of heart when I found out the news.”
Still, Kemmer said she understood the significance of bin Laden’s killing.
“History has been made.” Kemmer said. “Our children will be learning about this one day in history class.”