On Jan. 7, the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was targeted by two Islamic extremists. Given the ideology of many terrorists and their recent attacks, Americans have questioned whether they are prepared for a future threat.
In prior publications Charlie Hebdo has produced artwork and statements that have poked fun at various political parties, public figures, and religions.
In 2011, the magazine’s cover depicted a cartoon rendition of the Islamic prophet Muhammad making the comment, “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”.
A total of 12 people were massacred at the hands of the two Islamic terrorists in Paris before being shot dead in a standoff with police forces. The extremists, who also were brothers, had told local media that they would die “martyrs” deaths according to BBC News.
These militant actions overseas sent shockwaves throughout the United States, raising the question, “Is the U.S. prepared for a similar terrorist attack?”
Political Science Professor at Lewis and Clark Community College, Jeffrey Schulz believes the United States takes security as a number one priority, and that the country is as best prepared for an attack as possible.
“We are probably as safe as we can be. Americans do not like being restricted in our travel, nor do we like having our personal space searched. We could, of course, institute a police state, but citizens of this country would never tolerate such an intrusive government,” Schulz said.
Schulz’s viewpoint is not in short supply. His fellow L&C Political Science colleague, Tracey Riordan shares a similar stance.
“I think that the vastness of this country and the multiple entities that could be targeted make it virtually impossible for us to be 100% assured that something won’t happen here at home,” Riordan said. “The best that I think our government can insure is that another major incident like 9/11 doesn’t happen again.”
European countries like France, Britain and Germany are in discussions within their own governmental systems on possible ideas to further prevent such attacks from occurring. These countries reportedly have the idea of a more strict and censored internet for their citizens.
This includes identifying and removing any type of hate speech online that is targeted at groups that may agitate violent action. Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron suggested ban all Internet services that do not allow the government to view all chats and calls.
One week following the Charlie Hebdo attack, French officials arrested 54 individuals for “hate speech” according to The New York Times. Shrinking America’s First Amendment right is not something Schulz sees happening.
“The best way to prevent harm is to treat others the way you would like to be treated. That being said, there are those who hate us for not being a society which embraces certain values. We will never manage to be friends with everyone – there are too many ideologies in the world to bring an end to all violence, prejudice, and discrimination,” Schulz said.
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