Jobs can be dangerous. Some carry obvious risk, like working for a fire department. Special thanks go out to all our local firefighters in Kenwood, Glen Ellen and the Mayacamas who went out multiple times over the holidays to handle fallen trees and power lines.
Journalism can be dangerous too, as we have recently seen in Paris. Who thought being a cartoonist could get you killed? In countries like Russia, North Korea, Iran, China, and Cuba, you're free to be a journalist as long you write what the government wants. Those who don't get thrown in jail or disappear.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” - George Orwell
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” - Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her 1906 biography of 18th century writer and philosopher Voltaire.
“You have to defend the horribles.” - Constitutional law professor William Ray Forrester, speaking of Nazis marching in a parade in Skokie, Illinois, in 1977.
Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of democracy, and countries who enjoy the benefits of free speech are blessed. This even means allowing speech that offends others. We should all be soldiers in the war to defend freedom of speech, because when it comes to freedom of speech, either you have it or you don't. When you start picking and choosing, and engaging in the exercise of not allowing something because you don't like it, then you're headed down a slippery slope, and where does it end?
As always, when terrible things happen, like cartoonists being murdered, good rises up, as witnessed by the march of hundreds of thousands of people in Paris. Both average people and world leaders were present, including British Prime Minister Cameron, German Chancellor Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Renzi, Turkish President Erdogan, Palestinian Authority President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. At least they all agree on something. And we should, too.
Je suis Charlie - I am Charlie, and so are you.