TAMPA — The final meeting of a media analysis class at the University of Tampa on Tuesday was indeed serendipitous.
Instructor Donovan Myrie taught the class that examined the work of journalists, filmmakers and government officials on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Fresh energy spread through the class of more than 20 as the students discussed the death of Osama bin Laden — a surreal culmination to a semester of study.
Feelings were mixed on everything from how he died to the appropriateness of the reaction after the announcement was made late Sunday night.
"When I first heard about it, I thought he probably died a long time ago. But as the details came out, I thought even though he died, someone is going to take his spot," said Isaac Moreno, 23, a senior ROTC member from Clarksville, Tenn.
Moreno said his duty in the Army begins immediately after his graduation, and his ROTC training has taught him that the priority should have been on capturing bin Laden alive.
"He didn't tell the hijackers to go capture 3,000 Americans," said Alex Bass, 22, a senior from New Jersey.
Bass said he is in favor of releasing post-mortem photos of bin Laden, and also of the spontaneous celebrations that broke out nationwide Sunday night.
But releasing photos of bin Laden's body may start more fires than it extinguishes, said Zoe LeCain, a 22-year-old senior from Wayland, Mass.
"Is that even going to make stupid people stop talking?" she asked.
The students' overall concern was that people's actions following the death could cause more harm than good.
"We watched TV, saw them celebrating and said, 'They're acting like animals.' Why are we in the right and they are in the wrong?" asked Jenna McMahon, 23, a senior from Long Island, N.Y.
No answers came.
But then again, these were heady questions for people who were only between 9 and 16 years old when the towers fell.
Myrie said the majority of the class had been so sheltered from the imagery of the Sept. 11 attacks that some were shocked to see footage shown during the class of the World Trade Center collapsing.
Myrie said this would be the seventh and final year the class would be offered.
The 10th anniversary this fall should now be a lot less solemn than originally anticipated, the students agreed.
"The victory was bittersweet," McMahon said. "For people who knew victims of 9/11, this just rehashed the memories."