Shortly after I posted my piece on feeling curiously un-thrilled about Bin Laden’s death, the following quote came across my twitter feed:
“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
I admire the sentiment. But something about it just strikes me as off, like that great Marx quote about the housing bubble that didn’t appear anywhere in Das Kapital.
I’ve found it best to assume that any quotation not attributed to a primary source is completely made up. In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, “The problem with quotations you see on the Internet is that it’s difficult to ascertain if they are genuine.”
Of course, those of us who know our Bible don’t need to make up quotes from Rev. King, because we know the exact same sentiment is captured in Ezekiel 33:11—“As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” But some of us can express our compassion for Bin Laden in our own voice, and don’t need the authoritative one of MLK or Ezekiel anyway.