Bin Laden's death spurs spread of fake Martin Luther King Jr. quote on Facebook

May 03, 2011|By Luke Broadwater

Shortly after posting yesterday on my Facebook page, "The most evil person in the world is dead. Enjoy hell, bin Laden," a slew of quotations starting popping up on my friends' posts that appeared to undercut this sentiment as barbaric or not Christian. 

Several of my Facebook friends posted a variation of the following quotation, allegedly from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the great champion of civil rights. 

Their posts said: 

‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." - Martin Luther King Jr. 

Dozens of people immediately "liked" this quotation on Facebook.

There's just one problem: The quote is fake

Think about it. What could MLK Jr. have been talking about? Why is his quote so perfectly applicable to the present moment? 

Here's The Atlantic on the fake quote: 

"What's fascinating is the speed of it. Someone made up a quote, attributed it to MLK jr, and disseminated it widely, all within 24 hours. Why?" the Atlantic reports. "Perhaps they only wanted to say this thing, and knew that no one would pay attention unless it came from someone else. Or, perhaps they are getting a gargantuan kick out of seeing people repeat their lie ad infinitum." 

I don't feel bad about being happy that Osama bin Laden is dead, even if I'm going against a fake Martin Luther King Jr. (who is one of my heroes) quote. 

I respect the sentiment behind the quote, but personally disagree with it in this specific case. Bin Laden was probably the last person on Earth it was OK to hate. There is no mitigation with bin Laden. The guy launched murderous attacks against Americans again and again and again. He was unremorseful. He pledged to kill again. You're allowed to feel happy he's dead. You're allowed to feel joy in the revenge the Navy Seals enacted on him. You're allowed to feel that killing an evil man is the embodiment of the phrase "Justice served."

In this case, it's OK to celebrate death in the streets. It's all right. It's bin Laden. He was evil. And it's OK to celebrate his demise. 

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