|French rallies in support of Charlie Hebdo|
Source: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
And more violence from these same men ensued as the French went after them to bring them to justice, and the whole situation is really just terrible. It brought people together - on Twitter, often considered the bellwether for tracking by-the-minute societal thought evolution which simultaneously serves as a platform for rapid idea propagation across the world, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie skyrocketed out of solidarity and sympathy for those affected by the attack - it means "I am Charlie." The public outcry after the tense 3 days leading to the death of these terrorists led to huge rallies in the streets. Today, the first new issue of Charlie Hebdo is out since the attack. Their 3 million copies sold out within minutes, despite having printed several times more than their usual run.
It's a very easy wave to be swept away in: bad guys did a bad thing to people who didn't deserve it, so now we all band together and show the bad guys that they can't just do bad things like that without consequences, and also free speech is the greatest thing ever invented and we need to protect it no matter what people are saying. Keep in mind, that is a ridiculous oversimplification which I devised on purpose to illustrate a point, but I can't help but feel that there are probably quite a lot of people out there who don't know anything about the character of the parties involved and, consequently, are ill equipped to analyze and judge the media narrative for themselves. My purpose in this article, therefore, is not to rail against Islamic extremism or champion free speech or anything like that. I want to give you some insight into what Charlie Hebdo represents (I went almost a week having no idea until I finally looked up some of their material today) and consider whether it's something that you want to proudly identify yourself with by wearing a "Je Suis Charlie" t-shirt or whatever.