We're all Charlie. Now what?

The Reno News & Review stands in solidarity with the murdered staff members of the weekly French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Making jokes is a non-violent act, and responding to non-violent acts with violence is beyond morally wrong. It’s insane.

So while we’re saddened and disgusted by the murder of those people, we acknowledge that insanity happens. It’s beyond horrible, and we don’t want to be on the other end of a gun, but there are 2.08 billion Muslims in the world, and 2,079,999,997 of them did not commit that insane act.

That’s why much of the reaction to the murders is just as disturbing as the murders themselves. All kinds of hypocritical groups are trying to take advantage of the fear that surrounds acts of insanity.

Much of the commentary regarding the murders focused on Islam, the religion of the perpetrators. It’s often an unrighteous effort to gain an advantage against a minority group using nationalism, fundamentalism and racism to get a leg up.

When a doctor who offers abortions is gunned down, we don’t blame all Christians. It’s likely that the person who bombed the NAACP office in Colorado on Jan. 6 will have connections to an extremist right-wing group, and many American right-wing groups consider themselves Christianity-based. Just go to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website, www.splcenter.org, and get informed.

Did you see the hypocrites in the coverage of the solidarity marches?

Reporters Without Borders, a group that tracks murders and imprisonments of journalists, didn’t miss the “leaders from countries where journalists and bloggers are systematically persecuted such as Egypt (which is ranked 159th out of 180 countries in RWB’s press freedom index), Russia (148th), Turkey (154th) and United Arab Emirates (118th).” There were 96 journalists and support staffers killed in 2014. Get informed at http://en.rsf.org.

The Obama administration has been a clear enemy to press freedom. Remember how this administration tapped the phones of the Associated Press and Fox News? Even before Obama, remember those U.S. and Reuters journalists killed by the U.S. military in Iraq? The Obama administration’s relentless pursuit of whistleblowers denies the public information it needs. Efforts by the administration to force revelation of journalists’ sources seek to reduce information reaching the public. The president didn’t even bother to make sure the U.S. was represented at the march in Paris against the Charlie Hebdo attack.

The bigger chill is not from some religious nuts going after a newspaper staff that intentionally mocks their religion—and every other religion and sacred cow that came under their purview—this is the government in the land of the free. Which action is more likely to chill the free flow of information—the journalism our democracy depends upon—the murder of cartoonists in France, or the U.S. government’s systematic spying on U.S. citizens, including journalists? How does a journalist ethically promise to have an off-the-record conversation in this country when we know that virtually all of our electronic communications are being tracked and filed?

The calls that the French government should have known in advance of the attacks are already being made. It’s sadly ironic that the deaths of these journalists whose lives were symbols of freedom of speech will be used to undermine that freedom.

Yes, wous sommes Charlie. We all are. But maybe not in the way it’s generally understood.