Locals speculate on Bin Laden

Russell Anglin

Surprise, uncertainty and speculation marked the reactions of two Mesalands Community College employees to news of Osama bin Laden’s killing by U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistan, which was announced Sunday night.

Ray Shafer, an account specialist at the college, said he was not previously sure whether bin Laden would have ever been found.

“As long as it’s been, it’s been almost 10 years and they hadn’t found him by now, then they probably weren’t going to or he could have even died someplace and they wouldn’t have necessarily known,” he said. “That was kind of a shock because over the last few years there have been stories where they’ve said, ‘Well we think he’s over there,’ and ‘We know he’s over here.’ I basically figured it was sort of a wild goose chase because, like I said, with somebody like that, if he would have died somewhere and nobody knew about it … I mean he had his underlings that would work for him and probably continue doing what he was doing and maybe cover up his death so that way his followers would still follow.”

Shafer said he was uncertain how this new development will affect the United States’ image abroad.

“I think (conflict with al-Qaida) may kind of die down a little bit. There may be some kind of peaks and valleys, like at first there may be some kind of retaliation type thing from al-Qaida because the SEALs got him, but on the other hand they may lose some of their followers that will become less zealous because their figurehead is gone,” Shafer said. “I kind of have mixed feelings. We’re probably going to have to wait and see how they respond to it. They say they just want peace, but you can’t get peace by going out and killing people.”

Jack Dominguez, a history and social sciences instructor at Mesalands, said he was mostly interested in the political consequences of the news. He said he thought bin Laden’s killing was a calculated move made by President Barack Obama well in advance.

“I don’t want to say that he waited … he’s such a shrewd politician. We’ve never had … in my time, the last one that we had that probably was as smart a politician was Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt. We haven’t had that kind of politician since. So that’s the only thing. I’m glad that it happened but I think Obama waited until the most opportune time to tie it in to the campaign. that’s just my thinking,” Dominguez said. “This is just a very convenient thing for Obama. He’s probably secured (the 2012 presidential election), because they don’t have anybody to run against him. Think about what he did the first time out. He beat the Clintons … he’s really just a shrewd politician. That’s where his abilities lay. It’s very advantageous. I think he could have done it six months ago, but I think he waited until he felt it was time to begin the campaign for 2012.”