By Zeke Willcox
On Jan.7, in Paris, an avoidable tragedy took place.
The headquarters of a satirical magazine headquarters, known as “Charlie Hebdo” was attacked by two armed, masked Muslim gunmen. The perpetrators, brothers, managed to kill a room full of staff members and cartoonists, including the main editor.
Within 10 minutes of the attack, the brothers escaped and drove away. They fled north, stopping only to shoot and kill a Parisian police officer walking down a sidewalk.
Overall, the gunmen succeeded in killing 12 people that day.
Over the course of another two days, another five hostages of the gunmen were killed. Finally, the gunmen were killed by the police.
What was the cause of the all the upheaval and violence?
Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine which prints an exuberant amount of political stories and cartoons.
These stories and cartoons show contempt and ridicule the issues which make up the daily news.
Back in 2006, Charlie Hebdo encountered several controversies, mostly regarding comics mocking the Muslim faith. There were violent responses, yet nothing as severe as this month’s bloodbath.
In the satirical magazine business, the object is finding the foolishness of the world in news, and cleverly discovering a way to poke fun at it through conniving wit and insight.
Is this acceptable?
Many would agree that Charlie Hebdo is exercising its right to freedom of expression protected by the Constitution of the French Republic.
As Americans, we also are blessed with this privilege of freedom of expression. However, do we abuse it?
Personally, I think expression of an individual or an institution is welcome and necessary. However, I believe it should be done within reason, with discretion and in a way that shows self-dignity. In regard to freedom of expression, if it is not done carefully, it can easily become disrespectful, inappropriate, and detrimental.
Charlie Hebdo may have taken this freedom of expression too far. The cartoonists at this magazine were characterized by creating illustrations which were seen as offensive and often sacrilegious by those of the Catholic, Muslim, and Christian faiths.
Charlie Hebdo does have the right of expression, but they abused it. They printed cartoons which ultimately incited the actions of the murderous, fanatical gunmen.
I believe it is crucial to use the freedom of expression for the betterment of mankind. As a Christian, that betterment is found in leading others to Christ.
However, I need to be considerate of what other believe and think. I simply cannot cram Jesus and the Bible down a disinterested person’s throat.
When people express their opinions, it should be conducted in a thoughtful manner. It should be tactful.
Regardless of any particular situation or circumstance, it is commonplace for people to disagree.
Careful words and actions should be the response. That person can be above reproach, according to how he or she handles their words or actions.
Let us not abuse this gift of expression. If we make a habit of abusing the gift, it might not be around much longer