I feel the need to explain why I use and support the use of the hashtag JeSuisCharlie.
I’ve seen a few examples of the material published by Charlie Hebdo and I don’t like it. I find it offensive. I wouldn’t retweet or repost any of their cartoons, not because I’d be in fear for my life, but because I have no desire to offend anyone. I’ve never liked that type of stereotypical satirical caricature cartoon. I think they’re of little to no value. I don’t like the being offensive just to be offensive mindset. I don’t like “pot-stirring.” I was in a reading discussion group and the author who ran the group picked at every thing I said and was constantly rude to me so I told her what I thought of her behavior and I left the group. She sent me a weak “apology” and said that she was intentionally abrasive and liked to stir the pot to get a response. I didn’t respond. I despise that type of behavior.
I also despise the behavior of people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, and the members of Westboro Baptist “Church.” Yet, they do have the right to spew their bile and I have the right to criticize and mock them. I do wish they’d shut up and go away, but unfortunately they’re not going to and we have to tolerate them.
I believe in tolerance even if you stringently disagree with someone. I believe that you can absolutely loathe some forms of speech without resulting to threats and murder. I believe in everyone’s right to speak freely without fear.
I’ve seen some appalling statements about “reconsidering free speech” and comparing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons to shouting fire in a crowded theater. I think this is a grotesque attempt at shutting down speech that some may find offensive and that we cannot allow that to happen because then it will be applied to more and more people and publications and more quickly than you can imagine, we will no longer have any freedom of speech.
So please understand that I do not agree in any way with what I’ve seen of Charlie Hebdo’s material, but I do support the rights of the cartoonists to express their opinions and I condemn all terrorism, from the murders in Paris to the bombing at the NAACP offices in the United States.
And please remember that a policewoman, a policeman and hostages in stores and businesses, people who had nothing whatsoever to do with Charlie Hebdo, were also murdered by the terrorists.