Update 12:55 PM EST: News is that there were two separate hostage situations, one involving the two original gunmen and then a separate gunman who was allied with them. It looks like both situations ended in shootouts, there may be hostages killed. Not good. Not at all good...).
I had posted this barely more than a year ago. A quote from a political essayist nicknamed "Junius" as he wrote back in the day of limited speech rights in 1770. I found it while researching the topic of religious and political intolerance, and it resonated with me on a personal level.
An honest man, like the true religion, appeals to the understanding, or modestly confides in the internal evidence of his conscience. The imposter employs force instead of argument, imposes silence where he cannot convince, and propagates his character by the sword.
I found it relevant whenever I recoiled from the violence employed by anti-abortion shooters and bombers, and it remains particularly relevant today against the terrorists both in France - against a satire paper Charlie Hebdo - and here in the USA - where a man tried to blow up an NAACP office in Colorado.
Every attack of terror is by a group - a rather small minority of haters among millions of honest believers - aimed to impose silence, all because the haters cannot accept or understand. All because the haters know they cannot appeal or convince with understanding. All because they have no modesty about their place in the world, preferring to rule and ruin by fear and death than co-exist in hope and life. And the haters may not actually use swords in this day and age, but the metaphor of being a weapon of death and finality remains apt.
The proper response to all of this? Well, for starters finding the haters and arresting them so they won't hurt any more people. The other thing to do is stand up and cast aside the fear they seek to impose on us. Not to fight back, but to stand and speak your mind and keep the peace.
Victory here is not counted by bullets or bodies. Victory here is counted by rebuilding, repairing, restoring. Victory here happens when we move on and stay alive.
There are a billion Muslims in the world, and they are not all at war with us or themselves. It's just a very few, very violent group of angry guys. There are a billion Christians in the world, and they are not at war with us or ourselves. It's just a very few, very violent group of angry guys. There are millions of Jews, and they are not at war with us or themselves. It's just a very few, very violent group of angry guys. There are a billion Hindus in the world, and they are not at war with us or themselves.
Peace out, peace in, peace be with you.