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Is Seeing Believing?

I was walking on the treadmill and watching some insipid reality television when the news of Osama bin Laden's death broke. I stayed up late that night in my sweaty gym clothes watching Barack Obama's speech, hanging on his every word. I could not believe that after all these years, bin Laden was dead. But I did believe it.

I heard that there were indeed photos taken of a deceased bin Laden and at first I couldn't decide how I felt about said photos being made public. Part of me wanted to see them. Out of morbid curiosity. Out of a desire for an image to corroborate the surreal announcement of his passing.

When it was announced that the photos wouldn't be released though, I found myself more than relieved. In that moment, I realized that I really didn't want to see the gruesome depictions of the dead man. I felt, and strongly, that Obama had made the right call; That publishing the photos would only incite more hatred, trouble, and trauma.

It seems that many people do not agree with me. They want proof. They want to see that the man who terrorized our nation and so many others is in fact dead. And this leaves me wondering about the connection between seeing and believing? Do we need to see something to believe it?

I don't think so. I think so much of belief has to do with faith. With trust. With instinct and intuition.

I believe that Osama is dead. And I am thankful that there aren't images of his lifeless person being splashed across all my screens. That's just me.

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How do you feel about Obama's decision not to release photos of a deceased bin Laden? Are you able to believe something without seeing it? As a society, how dependent do you think we are on photographic evidence of historical happenings? How has bin Laden's death affected you (if at all) in recent weeks?

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