When the media (both social and mainstream) kicks into “breaking news” gear, it seems best to suspend any serious consideration of the subject at hand for several days. Coverage of the murders at Charlie Hebdo unfolded in typical fashion, and probably the first truly cool-headed thing I read about it came almost three days later: Unmournable Bodies, by Teju Cole:
Heresies against state power are monitored and punished. People have been arrested for making anti-military or anti-police comments on social media in the U.K. Mass surveillance has had a chilling effect on journalism and on the practice of the law in the U.S. Meanwhile, the armed forces and intelligence agencies in these countries demand, and generally receive, unwavering support from their citizens. When they commit torture or war crimes, no matter how illegal or depraved, there is little expectation of a full accounting or of the prosecution of the parties responsible.
Repression of the press by our elected Western governments isn’t as grizzly or visible as a massacre in a newspaper office, but the outcome is infinitely more threatening to our freedom.