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Now what? Local residents ponder a world without bin Laden

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Darryl Enriquez
May 3, 2011

Rock and Walworth county residents interviewed Monday seemed satisfied that Osama bin Laden, the man who changed all of our lives, had been killed, but they weren’t sure about the impacts of his death.


Bin Laden, the millionaire son of a Saudi Arabian businessman, developed and funded al Qaeda. The organization was held responsible for not only with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon but also was connected to the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole.


U.S. officials say Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan on Sunday by U.S. forces.


Here are the thoughts of some area residents:


Bob Webster, Fontana: “It’s unusual I’d be happy of hearing of someone’s death, but Bin Laden is an exception. We’ve heard for years he’s been living in caves, but he’s in a multimillion-dollar mansion. I’m sure the world is better off without that man.”
Barbara Petersen, Janesville: “I think it might give closure to the families of the victims of 9/11. But it’s sort of like the mafia—you can knock off the king pin, but another one will step up—only the names change.”
Adam Nebgen, Delavan: “9/11 was a major tragedy—I went to church and mourned for those people.

“And I can understand that people are happy that he’s gone. But I don’t think that solves the problem. When I saw it last night—you know, with Americans celebrating—it looks the same to me when an American gets killed there and they celebrate.”


Janesville Fire Chief Jim Jensen: “I really don’t know what the effect will be. It’s a good thing, but how many other people have been trained by him that can rise up and take his place?

“He certainly changed our world. Some of the stuff we train on today, we never would have thought of that 15 years ago. We didn’t know what WMDs were.”


Janesville Fire Capt. Jody Stowers: “I was happy, of course, when I heard. But my son is in Afghanistan, and I thought, ‘Oh boy.’ I worry that things are going to pick up there.”

Stowers’ stepson, Matthew Brown, is a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic.


Janesville Police Chief David Moore: “I’d say it brings a part of the 9/11 chapter to a close. It shows the value and importance of the intelligence community. But I don’t know how it’s going to play out.”
Al Rohde, Sugar Creek Township: “I’m glad he’s dead, but I hope nobody takes his place. Maybe we’ll get a little peace in our country.”
Tammy Wilber, Lake Geneva: “I don’t think that there’s anyone who is sad about his death because of all the bad things he’s done. There is always hope that we can get out of Afghanistan.”
Whitewater Fire Chief Brent Connelly: “Right now I have mixed emotions, it being the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I think that the majority involved in the fire services are glad that that part of it is over. But I’m afraid that somewhere along the way, al Qaeda will step up and say that we live on, and I expect some kind of retaliation attacks.”
Rebecca Blatter, Lake Mills: “It’s been 10 years, but we got him. It’s a good thing. We’ve got to show people what we’ve got. ”
Rob Blatter, Lake Mills: “I’m glad that the president 10 years ago—President Bush—had the nerve to stand up to him.”

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