Some heard the news late Sunday while watching television, while others found out as they picked up Monday’s newspaper or turned on the radio. Reaction toward the death of Osama bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. forces in a covert operation, was quite similar among a wide range of South Florida residents. No matter their age or background, the majority of respondents to a Miami Herald/WLRN query were relieved to hear the news, but even more of them also expressed concern over a possible retaliation by al Qaeda.
A smaller group mentioned they hoped bin Laden’s death will mean U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq can return home. Some also expressed skepticism over the operation, and whether or not it was worth the trouble.
Here’s a sampling of what members of the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their insights, had to say:
Kirsten Llamas, 53, Miami
I fear we have cut off the head of a Hydra. No telling what other fanatics will emerge to take his place. I fully expect we’ll hear from Bin Laden from the grave. Why don’t we bring home the troops? Get out of the basically Islamic war and stop putting ourselves up as a target. Put our troops to work keeping our borders safe. I have 2 nephews who have fought in Iraq and are now in Afghanistan. Nothing has changed since we have been there. Come home and stop throwing our economy down the military drain.
Jose Torres, 27, Miami
It means we as Americans fulfilled our promise to bring him to justice for the horrible atrocities al-Qaeda has committed during bin Laden's leadership, more specifically for what happened on 9/11. It took longer than most people thought it would but at last, justice has been served. It was only a matter of time before bin Laden would finally be forced to pay the ultimate price for all the evil he has done.
David Harris, 61, Fort Lauderdale
For some reason I woke up around 1:00 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I turned on the TV and saw the news. Well then I was wide awake, and my cheering woke up my wife. It ends the frustration that I have felt for almost 10 years. I wondered how the most sophisticated military and intelligence apparatus could not track down a guy who is basically a tribal warlord. So the open wound that would not heal is finally closed. I always thought they were capable of getting Bin Laden, just didn’t understand why it took so long. As far as Al Qaeda, I fully expect they will attempt some kind of retaliation. The scale of the attack (or attempt) will tell us a lot about their current capabilities. My biggest concern is if Al Qaeda has possession of WMD.
Antonio Perezcastillo, 38, Fort Lauderdale
As former member of Armed Forces (Marines), it means a lot. A closed chapter of those families’ victims of the 9/11 and all death of my brother in Arms I know that was not in vain. I always thought the military would catch him one way or another. Government finally started listening to intel, and in respect with Al Qaeda we should not stop here and take a break. We should continue with a stronger security and try to bring them all to justice.
Hans-Juergen R. KLEMM, 65, Miami
It was DUE, showing the world that the USA is not weak and un-efficient against terrorism acts of any kind. No reason for excitement, victory or revenge feelings - the death of any person requires respect. It was important to accomplish this mission and now we need to get out of it immediately. This is not our playground and we have more important problems to resolve within the homeland USA and with our allies.
Manuel Diaz, 72, Miami An iconic figure of our enemies has been defeated. But this is not the end of our fight against terrorism, and we have to keep our security measures increased in order to protect our country. There are too many more Osama bin Laden’s out there.
Ingrid Sheyn, 65, Miami First, let me tell you that I do not rejoice in any man’s death. Saying that, OBL’s death made my heart soar like an eagle because it meant to me that good triumphed over evil. My concern for our future is that we maintain our constant vigilance. OBL’s death is significant, but he is only the tip of an iceberg.
Notgon Atelya, 42, Virginia Gardens
It means another successful US mission completed. The beginning of a safer world as it was before 9-11. It reaffirms America’s might, power, and determination.
Luis Luciani, 54, Sunrise
Once the president confirmed bin Laden had been killed by U.S.A. I stood up and cheered loudly, went outside and hollered bin Laden is dead really loud and saw that my neighbors also were outside cheering. It gives me a sense of security and comfort that our government is making strides and winning the war on terrorism. We must not let up. Thanks to the President and Commander in Chief for persevering.
Bruno Giambroni, 24, Miami
My teenage years and adult life have been influenced by him and our country’s reaction to his actions more than almost any single occasion or person. What his death means for me, and probably everyone my age, is the end of an era. His death has galvanized what almost every American has wanted to some extent since September 11, 2001. Justice. That bin Laden is dead now leaves what can only be described as a hole where our collective animosity was directed. Where there should be jubilation, there is only a stunned disbelief, with the quiet rumbling of closure giving way. I think we’ve accomplished something which we have been trying to do for 10 years. This doesn’t change Al Qaeda as a threat, they are more splintered, more insulated from each other, and, arguably, more dangerous. It’s a long road that we’re still on.
Julio Giraldo, 34, Plantation
I like Obama, but Obama should have made the order of bringing the guy to a public testimony since the US has already a fame of a violent country, just to let the rest of the world know we are politically correct when dealing with International Terrorist.
David Pinsky, 17, Weston
I was in my room watching television. I smiled like I’ve never smiled before. America is winning the war on terror. I have more respect than ever for the US.
Chris Hufford, 35, Miami
I’m extremely grateful to the military.
Ricardo Bran, 43, South Miami
It means absolutely nothing. Will it lower my taxes? No. Will it lower the price of gas? No. Will it stop terrorism? No. Will it stop TSA from the senseless airport security checks? No.
Betsy Skipp, 60, Miami
A terrorist has been killed - a man who went to the dark side, who had such hate for people who did not agree with his ideas and ideals. However, I fear his death will be considered murder by so many around the world. Nothing has changed for me. We do what we have to do to keep the US and like minded peoples safe and free. I do not agree with US intervention if we are not directly targeted. Sadly, Al Qaeda will continue.
Maria Carmen Regalado, 70, Miami
It means that the President is very American and that the troops are very brave and now I know that the Navy Seals have big guts. We must be very careful, we have enemies all over, like Castro, Chavez, Daniel Ortega, etc., they can do a lot of damage. They have created a front in America based on envy to the United States. Do not forget months before 9/11 when Castro came out of Iran and Chavez out of Lybia, Castro said: “Together we will bring the United States to their Knees".
Caryl Zook, 57, Pembroke Pines
I understand it might bring closure to the families of his victims. But bin Laden is not the only one who is angered to the point of violence at US foreign policies. This is a great opportunity to withdraw our troops from around the world and focus on intelligence instead of combat. We need to build schools and hospitals instead of bombing populations to get their oil. It’s a new century; we need to use 21st century tactics.
Kyle Johnson, 22, Miami At least something has come of this war. This doesn’t signal the end though. It doesn’t change my views. We still spend way too much money on our military. That money should go to education, transportation, health care, etc.
If you’d like to become a HeraldSource for our Public Insight Network and share your insights on issues of importance to you, go to MiamiHerald.com/insight to join today.