False dawn:
I shall start this melancholy piece with a pleasant memory.  Many years ago I went to a photography camp.  I was totally enamored with the idea of making pictures and having complete control of the medium.  Now that this has become quite feasible with digital photography and computer manipulation of images I find I do not do it much.  I think it was the equipment that seemed so alluring at the time.

One of the interests in the camp was taking pictures showing the effect of light.  I did not come up with an interesting effect until so many years had gone by that I was no longer in touch with anybody.  And yet there was an effect right at hand the whole time.  I just never noticed it until quite early one morning I was sitting on my porch (http://www.authorama.com/fables-19.html).  This is what I saw:

I went out into the yard for an unobstructed view.  Alas, I evidently was unsure about what was level and lined up with the palm.  As you see, the windows of the houses are dark.  Yet their reflections in the still water are very bright.  The reason for this is that there is a hill behind the viewer.  The windows of the houses seen from the camera location reflect the dark hillside.  But from the surface of the water looking up at the houses, the windows reflect the bright sky of the false dawn above the hill. 

The false dawn is the brightening of the eastern sky before the sun actually comes up.  It is not actually false.  The sun does not go back down again.

However, in my present campaign, there have been many a true false dawn so to speak.  I have often thought that the light would break only to see it fade. 

In 2001 I thought I was going to have an opportunity to place my information before the mighty of the earth, but the tragedy of September 11 changed things.

Then only a few months ago it was clear that the interest in the subject had sparked sustained, low but exponential growth in the number of visitors to the site.  The revolution in Tunisia and subsequent restlessness in the Arab world proved far more interesting, and the growth rapidly reversed.

Now I am in the process of trying to release the product of about three years of focused effort.  I expect to tell you about it some day, but it seemed – indeed it still seems – very promising. 

And now Navy Seals, under orders from the president, have killed Osama bin Laden.  There is much rejoicing.  He was a bad man who killed a large number of innocent people.  The timing may not be good for me, but I can have another chance – not so for the victims or even bin Laden himself.

The voice I have heard that strikes me as about right is that of the Pope.  I understand that he said it is never proper to rejoice in the death of another human.

But I am puzzled by my own reaction.  I am bothered.  I am not quite sure why.  I can see arguments on both sides of what was done, but one reaction seems to stand out above the others.

I am not sure of this, but I suspect it may be that having lived so long in the South that I am very sensitive to anything that sounds like a lynching.  To say that this was American policy duly prescribed by the proper elected official does not relieve that.  “So the sheriff was involved.  That doesn’t make it better.” 

We have laws.  The man had obviously done what called for the most severe punishment those laws can mete out.  But in the case of a crime, there are rules for establishing what the facts are.  Do we really have such little faith in our laws that our politicians decided – and that decision has found broad support – that this issue is above the law?  If so, it is very sad. 

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