The Paris events were dreadful. Being assassinated for drawing cartoons is probably the most stupid thing that could ever happen. I am particularly touched by the death of Cabu, a cartoonist who, to me, has been part of the French culture forever. Whenever something of importance happened worldwide, Cabu was always there to draw it with a short, to-the-point cartoon that would highlight absurdity in the smartest and most hilarious way. When I was a kid Cabu was drawing stuff live in kid TV shows. It really feels like losing a soul brother who got killed for drawing smart stuff. Charlie Hebdo is purely about provocation and pushing freedom of speech to its limits, and Cabu was a genius for defusing tense situations by making everybody laugh. His cartoons went beyond just laughter, he really made you think twice about the topics at hand.
The aftermath was also dreadful. The manhunt, more killings, the hostage situation inside Paris. Every piece of news was worse than the previous one, until the police put an end to it.
Anyway, I did not go to the march. I would have wanted to but taking my kids to such a crowd would have been difficult to say the least. There are other ways to participate, like having a 2-hour conversation with my boys about what happened, why freedom of speech is capital to preserve our way of life, who these cartoonists were, and how some very stupid people can be manipulated in creating chaos, bringing the worst to themselves in the doing. When you read the third guy's conversations with his hostages and hear what he left in the video that was published after his death, you realize that you are not facing an extremist but somebody who probably has trouble making a complete intelligible sentence, let alone have a coherent train of thought. There will always be simpletons like him, but those who received military training should probably be monitored to avoid such things from ever happening again.
I am not scared. I believe nobody is scared in France of terrorist attacks. The most global reaction is sadness, and people appalled by such immense stupidity.
If I had to keep anything positive from these events, it is the unanimous worldwide reaction of horror that shook the whole world. Seeing all these marches around the planet made me feel all fuzzy inside. The world is a better place today than when I was born, and this is becoming visible. Feels like the whole planet has grown up. There are still some dark places left, showing we need more education than weapons. Hopefully that will happen within our life time.