But Me No Buts: Je Suis Charlie

Some responses to the horrific events in Paris last week were sadly all too predictable. On the one hand, politicians speaking warm words about defending freedom of speech, while at the same time saying the police needed even more powers; and on the other, people saying “yes to freedom of speech, but…” No. But me no buts. This was cold blooded murder, and no qualification can ever justify it.

To say this suggests that the journalists asked for it, deserved it even, and that the violence meted out to them is entirely understandable. The journalists should have been more responsible and not provocative. This is shameful, and demonstrates the stupidity of such people. It’s up there with saying a woman deserved to get raped because she was wearing a short skirt. No.

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right that must be protected. Protected from governments using terrorism to justify further erosions of civil liberties, and from the morbid sensitivity that is now so widespread: the easy readiness to be offended and demand that things you don’t like are banned. Allowing this to happen does the terrorists work for them. People need to wake up.

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