Some people go mad with hate and plot to take over the world, destroying anyone in their path. At the same time, the worst circumstances can bring out the hidden strengths in people, reframing their lives forever.
There is little America can do to disabuse the conspiracy theorists of their delusion that it was all one big lie. This is significant in Pakistan, where the doubters are an emboldened lot with recent history on their side.
On the front lines and the headlines, the fight against terror plays on from Ground Zero to Islamabad. Bin Laden's death merely punctuates a narrative of self-justifying war that keeps us not only terrorized but mesmerized.
Al Qaeda remains a threat in the world. But it is diminished, discredited, and faces more competition than ever before. It will eventually be replaced by ideas and causes that are more aligned with the realities of the twenty-first century.
I spent the years following 9/11 reacting to the discrimination of those around me. Bin Laden's death is at least, for now, some comfort that my dark decade -- and that of my nation -- has finally come to a close.
Obama declared that the past week "has been a reminder of what we're about as a people." It was a week in which our nation puffed out its collective chest and took deep satisfaction in one man's demise.