2015/01/img_1276-0.jpgYou’ve heard about this today; there’ll be more over the next few days (primarily from European news outlets – I don’t hold out much hope from American news outlets. They’d rather report that Malia is going into her father’s golfing business.)

But twelve people were executed for having the audacity to ridicule. Please note that the French magazine was an equal opportunity ridiculer. Nobody got a break if they didn’t deserve it. If I looked hard enough, I could find evidence of them satirizing themselves, which really should be a prerequisite.

You can find plenty of examples in history of underdogs and overlords mocking the other. Usually it’s the former case, as it’s an outlet for expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo. Without satire, there’d be a lot more fighting. Unfortunately, satire can escalate discord as well.

It’s almost a childish game. ‘Doing the dozens’, I believe it was called a few decades ago. One kid would make a smarmy comment about another kid’s (looks, habits, family, etc.). They’d take turns, until one kid either came up short of insults or would have their feelings hurt and perhaps escalate to fighting.

To put it down on paper, or graffiti a wall, or blog it on the Internet is different only in longevity. Freedom of speech is not a universal liberty, no matter what we may think. In 21st century America, there’s more than enough people trying to shut others up.

It’s one thing to blatantly lie about someone, another to publish it as truth – that’s libel. It’s wholly another to express an opinion of someone or something. We the sheeple tend to allow our governments and businesses to set the rules on this. If two sides have a serious problem with statements, bring it to court.

Only problems with that are a) both parties have to agree with the arrangement and b) both sides should have the same tools to argue their position. Not always a fair battle, as those with the money make the rules, and laws can (and have) been bought.

Hopefully I edit this before publishing, because it’s getting a little disjointed as I tap it out.

Point I’m going for is that as individuals, we place civil limits on discourse in order to get along. As groups, we gain anonymity and also surrender control to groupthink. From the other end of the spectrum, large entities argue that their statements are more right or correct, by virtue of their size. They justify that as long as the individual goes along, the individual will get along.

The thugs that committed this atrocity in the name of a larger entity went too far. Had they simply matched wits against the publication, they could have brought more people to their way of thinking. Instead, they’re facing an evermore resolute group of people – much larger than can be imagined – that will continue to mock and ridicule the standards the criminals purportedly ascribe to.