To show or not to show bin Laden death pictures, opinions differ

Less than 48 hours after his death, U.S. officials are being forced to deal with the growing mythology that the al-Qaida leader is somehow still alive. Officials are pondering whether to release the graphic photos of the dead bin Laden that they say show a precision kill shot above his left eye.

Grand Strand residents are divided over whether the pictures should be released. On NewsChannel 15's Facebook page, Carla Willis argued that, for the sake of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the pictures should be shown, "so it can definitely bring closure to the families by letting know for sure justice has been served."

Christi Wickliffe-bessinger commented, "I honestly don't care to see it, but if it will shut all the conspiracy theorists up, so be it!"

Others aren't so sure. Lisa Bayan of Carolina Forest told us, "I think that they've definitely identified who he is and I don't think that they need to see his face."

Joann Brown of Myrtle Beach said Americans don't need to keep seeing more images of bin Laden to prove that he's dead.

"I have faith enough in our government that they wouldn't tell such a spurious lie," Brown said.

Child and family counselor Christopher Galton said that if had to offer an opinion to President Obama, he'd say the pictures would have to be released to help those with conspiracy thoughts get over it, but he would want it done in a way that's respectful to children and adults.

He said it would be up to parents and teachers to help children understand the violent images.

"I think we as parents have a lot to do to help the children learn how to manage, discuss, work things out, and that we don't want them to feel violence is the right thing."

For younger children, Galton said he would encourage parents to point out that bin Laden was a bad man who did bad things to people and therefore got killed, as bad people do.

A philosophy professor at Coastal Carolina University said, out of respect for human dignity, officials should not release the photos.

Nils Rauhut said Americans may have an interest in having bin Laden dead, but not in seeing his dead body.

Rauhut said sometimes there could be justification for publicly displaying pictures of a dead criminal or dead enemy, if it would lead to the capture of other criminal suspects. But in this instance, he said the positive outcomes don't outweigh the negatives.

"It might, for example, be the case that publishing the pictures of a dead Osama bin Laden might be used by the enemies of the United States as a propaganda tool, to actually say, 'Look the United States does not respect human dignity.' "

Though from an American perspective, bin Laden showed no respect for human dignity when he ordered the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Rauhut said Americans should show that we're better than that.

"I think we want to show that our talk and our actions correspond with each other."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.