I lower the flag to half mast today with the second heaviest heart I have ever felt upon doing so. I did not feel this way on 9/11. I felt this way on the day they bombed Boston – because that was my home.
Today, our home was attacked. I don’t mean France. I don’t mean Paris. I don’t mean Charlie Hebdo. I mean our freedom of expression. Ours.
A group of lowlives attacked and killed at least twelve people at the offices of a satirical magazine for no other reason than they disliked its sense of humor. They believed that their religion trumped anyone’s right to mock it. They believed that their umbrage meant that they had the right to take the life of 12 people who participated in mocking it.
And therein proved that their interpretation of their religion was entirely, utterly, without merit, and worthy of being mocked.
I do not single out Islam as worthy of disdain and mockery. I feel that way about all Abrahamic religions — and I would likely feel that way about all other religions, if I learned enough about them. If you want to practice your religion, by all means, go right ahead. You can believe in a flying spaghetti monster, or a zombie Jesus, or anything else you like.
And dammit, I have the right to mock you for it.
Not because I am right. I may be dead wrong. I fully accept that if I ever die, I could be called before some supreme being who will be utterly fucking pissed at me — and if he exists, he damn well should.
Because I mock him. I mock his followers. I mock lots of things.
As we should be able to.
Does that bother you?
Are your beliefs so fragile, so meaningless, so utterly without merit, that they cannot stand in opposition to mine?
If your supreme being is so weak that it requires you to commit acts of violence against other people because they mock him, then your supreme being is not worthy of any respect at all — let alone immunity from mockery.
If your God or your prophet can not take being mocked, then fuck your god. Fuck your prophet.
Against this backdrop, we now have Charlie Hebdo. I do not use the term “hero” loosely. But, Charlie Hebdo has been bombed before. Those who worked there knew the risks. They accepted them. And today, 12 of them died because they believed in something far more important than any fairy tale.
They believed in freedom of expression.
“Hero” is the right word.
We are only the sum of our thoughts. If the powerful or the fanatical can stop us from expressing them through coercion or violence, we are less human. We all achieve less for being here for the brief time that we get to exist on this rock.
When we got attacked on 9/11, we responded by changing who we were. We responded by curtailing our own liberties, all in the false name of “security.”
But there are worse things than being killed by a terrorist.
Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier once said: “I would prefer to die standing than to live on my knees.” Today, he died standing.
He died standing for something.
He died standing for freedom of expression.
I very much doubt that these lowlives’ friends will follow up and come for us. But, as every slave stood and said “I am Spartacus,” we now stand and say “Nous Sommes Charlie.”
The correct reaction to terrorism is to do exactly the opposite of what the terrorists want you to do.
I would not normally re-publish these pieces of art. I don’t particularly care for them. But, if these terrorists wanted to take that right away from us by making us afraid, they have sorely failed in their attempt.
When I decided to publish this post, and Charlie Hebdo covers mocking Islam, I wanted to do it on behalf of my law firm. We believe deeply in freedom of expression. However, I realized that doing so would raise the possibility of someone coming to the office to do us harm.
So I decided that I would not do so unless everyone in the firm agreed. I had the vote taken outside of my presence, so that nobody would fear any retribution if they disagreed.
I am tear-jerkingly proud to say that not a single person affiliated with Randazza Legal Group objected.
With that, I give you what these barbarians tried to take from us.
Fuck your prophet.
Nous Sommes Charlie.
If you would like to sign your name to this post, I invite you to.