One of the victims of the attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was an economist, Bernard Maris. He wrote a column under the name Oncle Bernard.
I didn’t know Professor Maris. I never heard of him until today. His Wikipedia page shows him to be prolific and multidisciplinary – he’s written novels, stood for local office, worked at the Bank of France, been in films and engaged extensively with media. It was this last that got him killed.
Today’s outrage is an outrage not just for journalists or even satirists, but for all of us who comment publicly about anything. Stirring up trouble and challenging people’s ideas is a vital part of our work. Most of us, thankfully, are free to upset people without risking our safety. Maybe some of us don’t realise how close we are to danger.
Bernard Maris died from doing what I’m doing now. He and his colleagues did not deserve their deaths.