The overdue demise of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan Sunday generated worldwide reaction, most of it positive. Bin Laden was an unrepentant terrorist and mass murderer, the mastermind of 9/11, who finally met his fate at the hands of American Special Forces. To put it bluntly, millions are glad the man is dead.
If bin Laden’s ill-spent life teaches us anything, and there’s much that could be said, it is that one life matters, even an evil one. Osama bin Laden harmed thousands and influenced millions. Even beyond those who lost their lives as a result of his hatred for the West every person who’s ever traveled through an airport has been touched by this man’s (and people like him) evil. Throughout the world members of armed forces, security agents, and political leaders have altered behavior, considered thoughts, and took actions that in some way traced their origin to bin Laden’s actions, or at least the threat thereof.
In saying this I’m not trying to overstate bin Laden’s impact. Rather I cite him to illustrate how one person can affect the world.
We’re reminded anew that each individual matters. We may not exercise the extent of influence of an Osama bin Laden. Indeed God forbid any of us would emulate his evil reach. Nevertheless, we all possess a sphere of influence, a reach probably beyond what most of us acknowledge, much less imagine.
While we’re greatly influenced, limited or propelled, by Nature and Nurture no fates control our existence. We make our own way one choice at a time and our lives are the sum of those choices. Bin Laden made his choices. We make ours. And as he is accountable for his, we are accountable for ours. As he mattered, we matter.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
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