End of Terror?

Making sense of mayhem and mass murder

Sunday, May 1, 2011, at 11:35 p.m., American president Barack Obama addressed the nation from the East Wing of the White House with these momentous words:

“Good evening. 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, the leader of al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”1

The moment was euphoric for many, but what was there about one man’s death that compelled a presidential midnight announcement, and such scenes of rejoicing thereafter? What’s a …

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