Massacre in Paris

A crowd gathers in downtown Vancouver to hold a vigil for Paris' murdered.

A crowd gathers in downtown Vancouver to hold a vigil for Paris’ murdered.

As a writer, it’s difficult to sit here and form these words.

By now, you’ve likely heard of today’s tragic events in Paris. 12 people, 10 of them journalists with the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo and two police officers were gunned down, apparently over controversial cartoons the magazine had published.

I’ve had a number of different reactions and emotions throughout the day as news continued to pour in and the situation developed.

Two of them are clear.

As a human being, I am sickened.

And as a journalist, I am angry.

Regardless of what one thinks about the propriety, morality, or even strategic value of publishing material that is deeply offensive to some (a debate that rages hotly online already), the right to express unpopular opinions is enshrined at the most basic level of our democracies – it’s a part of what makes us who we are as a society.

And the idea that someone could ever, under any circumstances find it justified to kill someone over their thoughts, words, or expressions is terrifying – and unacceptable.

It is a brutal and dark way to start 2015.

From all of us here at Link, our hearts go out to the fallen staff of Charlie Hebdo, who now join the multitude of journalists world over who have given their lives in the pursuit of their craft.

Before turning to journalism, Simon dabbled in many things. He earned an honours degree in political science, and still treats elections as if they’re the playoffs. He nearly started a brewery, and remains a committed beer geek with a well-stocked cellar of vintage brews. He was a cycling activist, who co-founded East Van Bike Polo and once pedalled from Amsterdam to Istanbul. He was (okay, still is) a big ol' nerd who loves pulp film and science fiction. Now, he writes about these things and others. And he's committed to bringing you one fine magazine all year long.

midnightsimon@gmail.com