The editors at Charlie Hebdo did not see it coming. During a regulatory editorial meeting on Wednesday Jan. 7, two men entered the room and opened fire.
The two men shouted in Arabic, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad! God is great!”
The shooters, Cherif and Said Kouachi, drove away, leaving an aftermath. Twelve people were killed in the Charlie Hebdo building. The twelve included eight journalists, two police officers, a caretaker, and a guest.
The car of the Kouachi brothers was found abandoned and the search was on to find them.
On Jan. 8, a lone gunman shot a policewoman dead and wounded a man in southern Paris. The incident seemed unrelated until French authorities confirmed that the two attacks were connected shortly after. Later the same day, the Kouachi brothers robbed a service station, leading the police on a chase.
Jan. 9, police took refuge in Creation Tendance Decouverte, a printing firm, and surrounded the Kouachi brothers.
Later, explosions rose from the printing firm, and the brothers emerged, shooting at police to accept their martyr death for Allah. (BBC News Europe).
The events surrounding Charlie Hebdo have encouraged further questions about terrorism, free speech and security.
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at John Brown University, Edward Ericson III, said, “If you have a war of worldviews, you can’t win it on the battlefield.”
The attack on the Charlie Hebdo building concerned worldviews of the Kouachi brothers.
Robert Moore, assistant professor of history, said, “This is a long tradition in Islam, but not universal. A lot of Muslims teach you not to create an image of the prophet because that might lead to some veneration of that image.”
For some university students, the event happened closer to home. David Carlson, a missionary kid from France, said he was moments away when the attack took place. Carlson was very pleased with how the authorities responded, “I’m proud of the French. They all stuck together and supported their free speech rights.”
Carlson also recognized that the Charlie Hebdo event might have been in France, but soon such events could happen elsewhere.
“I think it’s important for everyone to back France up, because this isn’t something that’s only going to happen to France, it’s going to happen all over the world,” Carlson said.
Caleb Crawford, a missionary kid from Germany, captured the gravity of the event, and said, “It’s totally possible that something like that could happen in Germany and near to people that I know. It seems like nothing is out of the question anymore.”
Andrew Heldenbrand, a missionary kid from Spain, sums up the role of terrorism: “I think the really important thing for everyone is not to panic. That’s all they want. They’re called terrorists because terror is what they do, it’s what they want, it’s what they specialize in, and if we give into that then we’re just playing into their hands.”