In the Wizard of Oz, the Munchkins rejoiced when Dorothy’s house fell on the Wicked Witch. Their suffering was ended, so they they were jubilant. Last week we got the news that Osama bin Laden took one in the head, and there was great rejoicing outside the White House, with chants of “USA! USA! USA!” as if the US Water Polo Team just beat Lithuania.

As a result of this celebration, all sorts of analysis has been going on, as this AP story illustrates. Such reflection suggests there is something wrong with whooping it up after a scumbag like bin Laden gets his. Dennis Prager ran a clip of some goofy psychologist worrying about the signals it sends to children. Prager, being a sharp dude, rightly understands that children are relieved when monsters are destroyed. The fact is, so are adults. There is a marked difference in the comfort level of people in general to find a really bad person was executed as opposed to merely locked up, where, despite the level of probability, a chance at escape or release exists. Sure, a cretin might be locked in a maximum security prison, but that just doesn’t feel the same as the cretin being dead and totally unable to cause any further harm. Ever.

So is it wrong to celebrate? Hell no. The death of bin Laden insures his evil intent will never again manifest. It’s the ultimate closure for the survivors of his horrors and for those who fear what he might do next. By now, he’s shark poop being fed upon by lower life forms at the bottom of the sea. What a perfect ending for one so evil.

But is that attitude unChristian? Well, of course, no one should celebrate the death of another. Back when John Wayne Gacy finally was put to death for his heinous crimes, a Chicago talk radio host (unfortunately a right-winger) wanted to host a party outside the prison where he would meet his end. That’s wrong.

But at the same time, justice being served is worthy of celebration. It’s not such bastards being put to death that should provoke rejoicing, but what their deaths mean that deserves rejoicing. Justice served and evil stopped. Fear alleviated and a message sent. Those are good things. The worse the criminal, the greater the celebration. So hoist one and throw the glass to the hearth! The witch is dead!

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