We the People: Coping with terrorism in its many manifestations

Two masked gunmen armed with AK-47s burst into the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, and killed 12 people, including journalists, cartoonists and two police officers.

The gunmen went inside and selected names off a list before shooting execution‑style the individual victims, according to Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman. He said a third man waited outside the building in a car. After the attack, more than 1,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed on the streets of France to find the killers.

A police and army dragnet quickly stretched around the City of Lights. Then two hostage situations were reported in two different locations outside of Paris. The two simultaneous hostage‑takings were linked and all the terrorists were connected by an earlier foiled plot to free a convicted terrorist from jail according to the office of the public prosecutor in Paris.

The three terrorists are said to have had training and support from Al Qaeda in Yemen. Several groups applauded the murders as proper revenge for the satirical treatment of Islam and its prophet by the newspaper.

The two masked murderers took a hostage in a printing shop about 20 miles northeast of Paris while a third terrorist took hostages at a supermarket just southeast of Paris. Now the three terrorists are dead and the hostage standoffs ended.

The rampage ended with more innocent blood shed by the jihadists: the terrorist who took hostages in the supermarket killed three hostages before being killed by the police. The concern of liberty-loving people everywhere should be how can we identify and stop individuals willing to murder in the name of religion. Why weren’t these individuals still in jail?

The French satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Brown) has offended religious, political and public figures, equally. It pushed the envelope of intellectual sarcasm so that no particular religion, ideology or individual was safe from lampoon.

A 2006 edition portrayed Jesus on a cross shouting, “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here,” a comic reference to a popular British TV show. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI was on the cover holding a condom. In 2011, Prophet Muhammad was on the cover declaring, “100 lashes for not laughing [.]”

The idea that serious things can be treated with humor is a bulwark against extremism of any kind. A questioning of religion or ideology cannot be done without some irreverence. Apparently Islamic extremists cannot permit discussion of faith or religion unless it is sanctioned or sufficiently reverent.

President Obama issued a statement condemning the attack. “[T]he French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended,” he said. He announced that he had alerted the administration “to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.”

There should be denunciation of these attacks from all people and from people of all faiths. Similar cowardly murderous attacks have occurred in London in 2013, in Canada in 2014 and in Sydney, Australia, last month. We have yet to see what is being done to stop them.

Locally, State Senator Marty Golden used $31,000 of reelection campaign funds to pay legal bills stemming from a probe into his campaign finances by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, according to the Daily News. The use of these funds while legal is deplored by good government groups. The U.S. attorney has yet to announce the focus of the investigation.

Senator Golden was a strong supporter of Michael Grimm, who resigned his Congressional seat after he pled guilty to tax evasion related to the operation of a restaurant he owned before his 2010 election.

However, Representative Grimm was also the subject of a probe into his campaign finances and one fundraiser pled guilty to election law violations before Mr. Grimm pled guilty to tax evasion. Mr. Golden is now under the scrutiny of a probe into his campaign finances which was the original source of difficulties for Mr. Grimm. There is an unrelated report that his office is experiencing extensive staffing changes.

Mayor de Blasio still needs to repair the rift he created between himself and the NYPD. He did announce that schoolchildren will now be allowed to bring cellphones to school. He failed to create rules to protect the privacy of teachers and students when fights, hijinks and other activities, genuine and staged, are uploaded to You Tube every day.

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