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Santa Monica Reacts to bin Laden's Death  

By Jason Islas
Special to the Lookout

May 3, 2011 – Most people can remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news of the Al Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers.

President Barack Obama brought closure to many when he announced another historic moment Sunday night: the killing of the architect of that attack, Osama bin Laden.

People around the country reacted in a variety of ways, and Santa Monica was no exception.

Barney's Beanery on the 3rd Street Promenade was full Sunday night. Nate Irwin, a bartender from Santa Barbara was working at Barney's that night.

“People were engrossed,” Irwin told the Lookout on Monday. Then, “everyone was cheering. People were chanting 'USA'.”

“Personally, I think it's a good thing,” Irwin said of bin Laden's death. “But it doesn't ease the tension. We're still at war.”

In the Santa Monica Place, things were more muted, but no less celebratory.

In Pizza Antica, diners were watching the Mets play the Phillies when they saw the crowd begin to chant “USA.”

Santino LaGamba, a server at Pizza Attica said that there was “a whisper throughout the restaurant” as people heard the news, either from the TV or their cell phones.

He said that one of his tables toasted to the news. He added that he saw people wearing American flags walking around the dining patio on the third floor of the Santa Monica Place after the news had broken.

“At least something good came out of it,” LaGamba said referring to the conflicts that began with the attack on September 11, 2001.

Jennifer Lindsey, who works as a hostess next door to Pizza Attica at La Sandia, was at Finn McCool's on Main Street when she heard the news.

“My boyfriend was being sworn into the Army,” she said, so they were out celebrating. Most people didn't seem to notice the television, she added, except for her, the people she was with and the servers, so there was little interruption.

Annie Anderson, a manager at La Sandia, said that she went next door to watch Obama's address on the television. “Everyone was talking about it,” she said. She added that her cousin is a Navy Seal and that she was proud to hear the news.

Overall, the reactions have been positive. One Israeli tourist was brusk, but took the time to tell the Lookout, "I'm really excited for Obama. He needed it. I like Obama." She wouldn't stop to give her name, though.

A grizzled man in his 50s, enjoying an afternoon beer in the Britannia, a downtown pub, gave the most colorful response to the news. “The bastard's dead. I'll drink to that,” he said.


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