Growing up in the Cowboys and Indians-crazed ’50s, the name, “Geronimo” brings back vivid memories. I used to shout that infamous American Native’s name frequently, whether I was rushing a backyard fort or jumping off a high rock into the deep part of the river. It is sad to think that noble native’s name from now on will be linked to a global terrorist and mass-murderer.
I, along with many millions of Americans and freedom-loving people around the world rejoiced at President Obama’s news late Sunday that Osama bin Laden, killer of thousands on 9/11 and many more thousands, both Muslim and non-Muslim the following ten years, had been summarily dispatched by US Navy Seals and sent to his own version of eternal damnation. I felt (and still do) gratitude for ridding the world of his kind of evil, and making our society safer for my 3-year-old grandson, and your own precious little ones, to grow up and thrive.
But designating this monstrous “high value target” with the code name of “Geronimo” does insult to the real Geronimo, a true believer of Native American values and one of the most courageous warriors to have walked the earth. A code name is a code name and I should not be so picky, my fellow Writers on the Journey will remind me. But in many ways, Geronimo’s story changed my life as a youngster. His death, also at the hands of US troops, brought an end to a brutal and degrading chapter of Western American history. With all sincerity, I hope the “surgical operation” of May 1st, 2011 brings an end to the long war between the West and terrorist organizations that butcher innocent men, women and children while draping themselves in the shroud of Islamic martyrdom.
I guess there is some irony in this name association. Whether right or wrong, as a child Cowboy I dreamed of the chance to punch out Geronimo’s lights. I wonder if the Navy Seal who fired the bullets (he remains nameless today but will soon be known to the world), felt the same way about Osama bin Laden, just before he pulled the trigger and killed an unarmed man.
I guess human nature will not change any time in the near future.