Playing like a loop in my head, was the fact that the shooting at the Paris office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was the act of absolute cowards. I don't wish to arm-wrestle religious debates mired in the history of Charlie Hebdo, and for those who feel that's unfair, I ask you, when was the last time a group of journalists attacked a church with machine guns and killed 12 people? I don't care about religious affiliations, they don't change my opinion. I do, however, care to speak about the freedoms that were so maliciously attacked Wednesday.
Has society taken for granted the fundamental right of free speech and expression that allows us to voice our opinions? When it comes to editorial cartoons in Canada, generally laughter is most often the goal, and while I have witnessed my fair share of cartoons that walk a fine line between acceptable and insulting, I honestly believe tolerance is only a page-turn or mouse click away. If you don't like it, don't look. To answer my own question, no... we have not taken this right for granted, we simply have created an inclusive, and open way of thinking here in Canada, and thanks to Russel Peters, Newfoundland, and the Toronto Maple leafs we can all "take a joke."
I endeavour for the most part in the cartoons I create to satirize and illuminate daily issues, and political tensions that are of interest to society. While I have on occasion received complaints about my illustrations, I've yet to encounter cartoons made by myself or anyone else anywhere in this country spurring individuals to commit violent acts. Does this mean we as Canadians are protected from demoralized or unethical content because we have stricter editors or publishing constraints?
As the popularity of print struggles into the iPad era, we as a society must come to terms with the fact that Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and the Internet are faceless, and carte-blanche open arenas for the masses. Canada, France or China, content streams at us unedited, and without consideration for even our most cherished beliefs. If we are to survive this new era, we must embrace social differences, not attack them. Our best human traits are not a result of prescribed doctrine, or social/financial/political/skin-coloured status. Human beings need to realize that we are all on this planet together, headed towards the same finality.
Violence against individuals who are legally exercising their rights is the touted terrorizing action of cowards.
BTW... If you don't like my drawings, allow me to offer you an honest, well thought out, carefully constructed "OH WELL" followed with a good ol' Canadian "SORRY."
VASILY MAXIMOV via Getty Images
Ukrainian journalists hold placards reading in French 'I am Charlie' in front of the French embassy in Kiev on January 8, 2015, in tribute to the twelve people killed the day before in an attack by two armed gunmen on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. A stunned and outraged France was in mourning today, as security forces desperately hunted two brothers suspected of gunning down 12 people in an Islamist attack on a satirical weekly.
A crowd holds signs reading I am Charlie in French at a gathering in solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, outside of the French Consulate in San Francisco. A handful of participants in the Wednesday night vigil in San Francisco's financial district are lighting candles that spell out "Je Suis Charlie," while others deposit bouquets of white carnations and red roses or leave pens by the consulate's door. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO via Getty Images
French residents in Japan offer prayers in silence at the French ambassador's residence in Tokyo on January 8, 2015 for the victims attacked by gunmen at the office of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris that killed 12 people on January 7. French security forces on January 8 launched a massive manhunt for two brothers suspected of killing 12 people in an Islamist attack on a satirical weekly in Paris, the deadliest attack in France in half a century.
Members of the French-American community of Los Angeles hold signs reading "I'm Charlie," "Je Suis Charlie," at a gathering in solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, outside of the French restaurant "Figaro" in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
DON EMMERT via Getty Images
Hundreds of people gather in Union Square January 7, 2015 in New York in memory of the victims of the attack on the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris. US President Barack Obama condemned the 'cowardly, evil' assault on a French satirical newspaper that left 12 dead, pledging US assistance to Paris to bring the attackers to justice.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
People gather at the Newseum for a vigil for those killed in the terrorist attack on Paris office of French magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' on January 7, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Wayne Taylor via Getty Images
A vigil is held for the victims of the Paris massacre at Federation Square on January 8, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. Members of the French community gathered at Federation Square for a vigil after an attack by masked gunmen on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine headquarters killed 12 people in Paris. (Photo by Wayne Taylor/Getty Images)
ERNESTO BENAVIDES via Getty Images
People gather in memory of the victims of the attack on the offices of France's satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, during a vigil at Kennedy park in Lima on January 7, 2015. Cities and towns worldwide staged vigils late Wednesday in solidarity with the French people after the massacre by Islamist gunmen in Paris against a satirical paper left at least 12 dead.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
People gather to show reactions against gun attack on the building of French magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' in Paris, leaving 12 dead, during the protest at Manhattan's Union Square in New York, United States on January 07, 2015. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
David Ramos via Getty Images
A woman holds a banner with a pencil painted during a gathering of people showing their support for the victims of the terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo, in front of the Consulate of France on January 7, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as two gunmen opened fire at the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez via Getty Images
A couple stand in front of candles outside the French embassy after people gathered to show their support for the victims of the terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Twelve people were killed, including two police officers, as gunmen opened fire at the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
Joseph Okpako via Getty Images
A small crowd gathers in solidarity during a vigil in Trafalgar Square for victims of the terrorist attack in Paris on January 7, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. Twelve people were killed including two police officers as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)
Carsten Koall via Getty Images
A man kneels in front of candles at a vigil in front of the French Embassy following the terrorist attack in Paris on January 7, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Twelve people were killed including two police officers as two gunmen opened fire at the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT via Getty Images
Womans hold a banner that reads in French, 'I am Charlie' during a vigil at the Old Harbor in Marseille on January 7, 2015, following an attack by unknown gunmen on the offices of the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo in Paris earlier in the day. France's Muslim leadership sharply condemned the shooting at the Paris satirical weekly that left at least 12 people dead as a 'barbaric' attack and an assault on press freedom and democracy.
People gather to pay respect for the victims of a terror attack against a satirical newspaper, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen shouting "Allahu akbar!" stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people, including the paper's editor, before escaping in a getaway car. It was France's deadliest terror attack in living memory. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)