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Locals react to bin Laden death: ‘Bittersweet’ victory

Community: It's a ‘Bittersweet’ victory

Posted: May 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Rudy A. Acosta would have turned 20 the day Osama bin Laden was killed by American troops in Pakistan.

“You know, I kind of wish this would have happened a little sooner,” Dante Acosta, Rudy’s father, said Monday. “Maybe things could have been different for Rudy.”

Dante Acosta said he began to weep Sunday night when he heard the news about bin Laden, remembering his son, a U.S. Army specialist, who was killed in Afghanistan on March 19.

Acosta, 48, said news of bin Laden’s death was like a “birthday present.”

But while he was happy to hear the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States had been killed, the news could never ease the pain of losing a son, the Canyon Country resident said.

Saugus resident Bob Slocum, 56, said he was “blown away” when he heard the news.

As it started to sink in, Slocum said, he recalled raising his son — and he too wept.

Lance Cpl. Richard “Ricky” Slocum was 19 when he died Oct. 23, 2004, in Abu Ghraib, Iraq, in a vehicle accident.

“Our son’s death is not in vain,” Slocum said. “I hope our son is looking down with a big thumbs-up and saying thank you to the military for what they did.”

Slocum said he hoped bin Laden’s death could prevent future service men and women from being killed in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s bittersweet: We’re glad they got (bin Laden), but nothing is going to bring back our son,” Slocum said. “But maybe killing Osama will bring back a lot of U.S. soldiers.”

News of bin Laden’s death, announced late Sunday locally, elicited a range of emotions from Santa Clarita Valley residents on Monday: Some said they felt a sense of closure after the attacks that sent America into a war against an enemy without a nation; others said they were indifferent when they heard bin Laden had been killed or were suspicious of the reports.

Jessica Feivou, 32, said she was at a Valencia Indian restaurant with her husband, Blair, when they received a text message from a friend saying bin Laden was killed.

Soon after, employees at the restaurant gathered around television screens as news about the terrorist leader’s death was announced.

“I think it brings a lot of closure for the things that happened 10 years ago,” Feivou said Monday.

Feivou said she and her husband fell asleep watching President Barack Obama’s speech about the events that led up to bin Laden’s death on television.

But, she said, they recorded it.

At a popular Valencia coffee spot Monday, Agua Dulce resident Terry Speer said he believes bin Laden’s death will have little effect on wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, nor will it change his opinion of Obama, whom he did not vote for in 2008.

The 69-year-old said there are more pressing issues that affect his life directly.

“I’m far more concerned with gas prices than Osama bin Laden being killed,” Speer said. “I’m a nuts-and-bolts guy. Osama bin Laden’s death won’t have a practical effect on my life.”

Luke Graham, 17, said he was happy to hear bin Laden had been killed, but he wondered if the military had killed him weeks before and kept the news secret.

Amber Hickman, 19, said she was suspicious that bin Laden’s death was announced on May 1, the same day in 1945 that it was reported Adolf Hitler had committed suicide.

“I thought it was really weird,” Hickman said.


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