By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
The unexpected news on Sunday night that terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden was dead, killed in a firefight with American commandos in Pakistan has brought mostly rejoicing across the United States. Street rallies, honking horns and overnight public opinion polls suggest that the death of Bin Laden was widely welcomed.
An informal survey along Garden Grove’s Main Street brought similar opinions, along with concerns about possible retaliation and the effect on domestic politics.
“I’m thankful we finally got him,” said Robert Alexander, 56, one of the hair-cutters at Main Street Barbers. He’s not especially worried about the possibility of a terrorist attack, but adds that killing Bin Laden won’t be a fatal blow to Al Qaeda.
“He’s just one of many,” he said.
The immediate effect of the raid, said Alexander, will be political. “I think it will make [President Barack] Obama look good.”
Doug Coleman, 49, co-owner of Doug’s Downtown Grille, recalls that he was in an Asian restaurant in Long Beach, and the television there was showing “America’s Funniest Home Videos” before it cut away to the President’s speech. “The place went wild,” he said. “There were a lot of cheers.”
Personally, said Coleman, “I’m glad it’s over. It’s just one step in the war against terrorism, but it’s good for morale.”
A different reaction come from lunch customer, attorney Michael Gilmore, 59.
“We should have beheaded him and stuck his head on a pike, and displayed it at Ground Zero,” he said, referring to the site of attacks on the World Trade Center.
“It’s a celebratory time for all Americans,” said Alan Trudell, 61, who is the public information officer for the Garden Grove Unified School District, “and for any people who enjoy living in a country where you are free to exercise your beliefs.
“All the credit should go to the many people involved, from the persons who carried out the raid all the way up to the President,” he added.
“I have mixed feelings about the issue,” said Tricia Mathis, 31, who works for the Garden Grove Boys and Girls Club. She cited a quote about not rejoicing in the death of an enemy.
“It’s a great success,” she added, noting that the celebrations that followed might be perplexing to young ones. “I think we need to explain to children what happened, because otherwise they might be confused.”
“I’m glad we got him,” said Al Soper, 70, but is worried that retaliation is coming. He feels that Obama is a weak leader who terrorists don’t fear, and cited the President’s ban on “enhanced interrogation” such as waterboarding as one reason why Bin Laden hadn’t been caught or killed earlier.
If retaliation happens, he suggested, Obama would turn to the United Nations or NATO for help, instead of making a swift American response. “He wants that New World Order.”
His wife, Phyliss, 67, agreed. “I wish it had happened during Bush’s term,” she said. “Obama doesn’t care anything about the United States; he wants to throw us under the bus.”