People hold up tributes to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting on Jan. 7 during a 1-minute silence in Bordeaux, France, in remembrance of those killed and wounded in the deadly attack in Paris. Gunmen killed 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in an apparent militant Islamist attack. MCT PHOTO
Graduate student calls Paris shooting an attack on freedoms
After three masked gunmen shot and killed 12 people at a Paris newspaper yesterday, a Ball State graduate student from France compared the shooting to the terrorist attack in America on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It happened and it’s very sad and very shocking to us. It’s our 9/11,” Laura Valandro said.
The satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, had published a caricature of the Islamic prophet Muhammad before the shooting.
French President François Hollande said the killings were a “terrorist attack without a doubt.” This is the deadliest terror attack postwar France has seen, according to the Associated Press.
Valandro said her friends and family on Facebook have mostly been expressing fear about the shooting. She said in the U.S, people seem to have been desensitized to shootings.
“I’ve been living in the U.S. for a while, so the thing I can see is, when it happens in the U.S., it’s like ‘again, shouldn’t we do something about it?’” Valandro said. “But in France, it’s like ‘holy s--t, this is not even something we can imagine.’”
To French people, shootings seem like “an American thing” or something that would happen in another country, she said.
“There’s always people with different opinions [on guns in the U.S.],” she said. “In France, it’s always the same opinion: We shouldn’t have guns.”
In France, guns aren’t legal to own except for hunting, and Valandro said there aren’t many people who have permits to own a gun.
Donald Gilman, a professor of French, said the French will not tolerate disorder and will be more severe in their solution than Americans may be.
“In the U.S., of course we take care of these sorts of situations,” Gilman said. “We have already had a certain amount of unrest. We had it certainly in the 60s and 70s and of course even more strikingly with 9/11. In France, I don’t think they have had the same amount of disorder.”
He said violence is much more a part of the American culture than it is in France.
“This is simply not something that’s done in France,” Gilman said.
Violence has become a part of global culture, he said, and this isn't just an isolated incident in France.
“It’s simply a part of the global picture,” he said.
Across Europe Wednesday, people gathered to show solidarity with those killed at Charlie Hebdo.
People held banners and posters with the slogan ‘Je Suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie). Valandro said her friends on Facebook and Twitter have also changed their profile pictures to the slogan.
She said one of her friends posted a status on Facebook, “12 dead, 66 million injured,” representing how big of an impact this shooting has on France.
The French motto is “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” and Valandro said the gunmen targeted the freedom of French people to publish what they want.
“It’s not just the shooting,” Valandro said. “It’s that these extreme people targeted the freedom of press, the freedom of French people and this is just terrifying to us because this is part of our motto - Liberty, Equality, Fraternity - and you just attacked the first one.”