Bin Laden’s death – a historical demarcation point
The public memory of historical epochs is marked by major historical events.There are many examples which mark historical shifts: Luther’s posting of the 95 theses, the peace of Westphalia, the declaration of independence, the stock market crash of 1929, the death of Hitler, the appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, Niel Armstrong setting foot on the moon and of course the 9-11 attack on the World trade center.
These historical demarcations are often one event amidst a series of changes. These events did not singularly cause the changes they have come to represent. They do coincide with the epochs they demarcate but they are often only one of a series of shifts. Over time the provide us a means for categorization and closure allowing the public mood to move into a new epoch.
I believe the death of Osama Bin Laden is one of these demarcations. It will become a point where we can say terrorist threat that began on 9-11 (although this also is only a demarcation point, the threat had already been present) has now entered a new era. The public mood has shifted considerably over the past 10 years. However, it had no prominent marking point close the chapter. With the death of Bin Laden the public psyche now has an official demarcation point to allow itself to move on.