Most of us are not Charlie. Most of us are, like my colleague Frédéric Boisseau, simply going about our regular business until fate puts us in the path of angry people who have rationalized their anti-social hostility as being justified in the name of a higher calling.
Even those who perverted their faith to somehow rationalize that the victims who worked for Charlie Hebdo were somehow 'justified' because of the insult of the cartoons cannot pretend to believe that the others 12 killed during that brazen act were anything other than outright murders; and so their hypocrisy and inhumanity becomes even more clear.
While some may say that Charlie Hebdo employees knowingly (and even bravely) accepted the risks of engaging in acts that were considered provocative by those who were looking to find offense, others in the building had no warning and no inkling that they were in harm's way. Some did not even know that the Charlie Hebdo office was in the building.
The same goes for those people who were caught shopping the following day who found themselves hostages; and those who were killed. They, like Frédéric, were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time; when someone decided that it was time to mete out their own form of retribution.
This is nothing new. Most victims have nothing to do with the situation that inspires terrorists to act. They are the citizens and even tourists who were caught in the crossfire and bomb blasts during "the troubles' in the United Kingdom; the passersby who just happened to be within the blast zones during bombings of abortion clinics; the children who were in day care (rather than the IRS offices that was the 'intended' target) in the Federal Building in Oklahoma City when Timothy McVeigh set off his truck bomb, or those on the planes and in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, etc.
The expression, 'Je Suis Charlie' is a wonderful statement of solidarity for those who champion the freedom of the press, but I am proud of my company, Sodexo, for all that it is doing to help the widow and children of our fallen comrade. People joined the demonstration in Paris and messages of solidarity and the contributions to a fund set up to help the family are coming from all over the world, from thousands of people and families, from the highest senior leadership to our front line employees, from those who knew Fredo, and those who never met him.
We are also rallying behind the sentence and sentiment: 'Nous sommes Frédéric' (We are Frédéric) to honor his memory. At the same time, it reminds me that, while I stand in solidarity with those who fight for freedom (including freedom of the press) I am far more Frédéric, than I am Charlie. And going about our daily lives, most of us are as well.
Because of the nature of this post, and the sensitivity of the issues involved, I would like to make it clear that the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and do not represent those of any organization.