Students react to Osama bin Laden’s death

Osama bin Laden, the infamous leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaida was killed on Sunday, May 1, 2011.

This event stirred emotions for many Americans because of the massive loss of life during the September 11 attacks, which were orchestrated by bin Laden.

Bin Laden’s death was the result of a U.S. military operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, at a compound where bin Laden had been hiding. After months of gathering information, President Barack Obama had decided that the U.S. had gathered enough intelligence and authorized an operation to capture or kill bin Laden. The operation was carried out by the elite and elusive special forces group known as SEAL Team Six. Bin Laden was buried at sea and received all proper Muslim burial rites.

Students on campus have different opinions of the news. Some are relieved while others say that the conflict with al-Qaida is far from over.

Organizational communication graduate student Ann O’Connor, who lived and worked in bin Laden’s native country of Saudi Arabia as a nurse at the time of the 9/11 attacks, stresses the importance of what role bin Laden played in the 9/11 attacks.

“The death of Osama bin Laden brings an end or conclusion, to the events of September 11, 2001 for the American people,” said O’Connor. “However, it must be understood, bin Laden was not the master-mind, but merely the chief financial officer and public relations director of a movement to evoke fear in those with Western ideologies. My concern is for what retaliations are to follow, and who their anger and hatred will be directed at now.”

Student Government Association President Luke Holloway, who spent his childhood in Saudi Arabia, has found relief knowing justice has been served and the country can move forward. His family still currently lives there, and though he worries, he knows they love living there, and are cautious about their safety.

“They are being very careful to make sure they don’t put themselves into any compromising situations,”  said Holloway. “They are really just trying to stay safe and make sure they think about their decisions.”

According to FBI field office New Orleans media coordinator Special Agent Sheila Thorne there has been no specific threats relating to bin Laden’s death at this time.

“The FBI and its partners are strengthening effort to gather and analyze intel,” said Thorne. “We recognize that bin Laden’s death may create the potential for some to react against the U.S. or U.S. interests. Every step is being taken to mitigate the threat.”