WASHINGTON, May 6, 2011—Ever since the announcement came late Sunday night, the media has been awash in stories about Osama bin Laden and what his death means for this country. On every station, journalists ask everyday Americans what bin Laden’s death means for them, and if it makes them feel any safer.
Does it make a difference?
As a new mother-to-be, my answer is no, it does not make a difference. His presence or absence on this earth is not going to change how I raise my children, or what I worry about. There are still extremists out there that are plotting against this country and others, but we lived with these ever-present threats for almost a decade. There have been more successful school shootings than terrorist plots in this country since 9/11.
Each year we hear about thwarted attacks on our country, and while it indicates that there are plenty of people still active and involved in trying to harm us, it also illustrates how safe we are.
As a new parent, I’m not going to be thinking about these potential threats from abroad, whether or not bin Laden is at the helm of Al Qaeda. I’m going to be worrying about the everyday dangers and threats. I’m going to worry about being in a car accident that might injure my child. I’m going to worry about SIDS, a largely still-mysterious condition that the American SIDS Institute says claims the life of 2,500 in the US every year. I will worry about high fevers, and the possibility of severe allergies. I will worry about every knock to the head, fall, and bump my child gets.
I will worry if I’m being a good parent.
The things I worry about will change over time, as my child ages. I will worry about bullying and whether she is having trouble making friends. I will worry about her grades and her future. I will worry, not about me getting into an accident, but my daughter driving. I will worry about her getting drugs while she’s out with her friends, not whether or not the mall will be blown up.
What I will not do is worry about the unseen threat of extremists, just like I didn’t worry about them last week, or last month. Our nation and its security forces did a pretty good job since most of the world learned Osama bin Laden’s name on September 11, 2001, and I don’t expect that they will stop doing their job now.
Someone will rise to take his place, there will always be anti-American sentiment, but as a new parent, I have more mundane things to worry about.
Follow Brighid on Twitter at @BrighidMoret and receive updates on when new columns post on Facebook. Read more about first time parenting issues in Parenting the First Time Through at The Communities at The Washington Times.
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