Is the First Amendment worth dying for?

Firefighters in after the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo Newspaper in Paris from

On Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo Newspaper in Paris, leaving 12 victims of the incident dead. Five more people were killed by the terrorists within three days of the attack. Four of the victims from the newspaper were cartoonists: Jean Cabut, Bernard Verlhac, Georges Wolinski and Stéphane Charbonnier, the editorial director of the newspaper. “The police organized an enormous manhunt across the Paris region on Wednesday for three suspects they said were involved in a brazen and methodical midday slaughter at a satirical newspaper that had lampooned Islam,” said writer Dan Bilefsky from the New York Times.

Freedom is a right that the United States has fought for since the Revolutionary War. Part of that freedom is having the freedom of the press. Throughout history, people have died for this right, including the journalists who died on Wednesday. They were not afraid to take risks and write political cartoons about the Islamic religion. These journalists wrote about a controversial topic that they believed in, and they made the ultimate sacrifice for it. The question is: was it worth it?

“Michael J. Morell, a former deputy director of the C.I.A….called the motive of the attackers ‘absolutely clear: trying to shut down a media organization that lampooned the Prophet Muhammad,” said Bilefsky in his article “Terrorists Stike Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris, leaving 12 Dead”. Without using their freedom of press, the journalists would not have been able to publicly ridicule the Prophet Muhammad. Obviously, Charlie Hebdo Newspaper had a choice in publishing this so-called “attack” on Islam culture, but they chose to write what they believed was the truth. No one deserves to die for that, but if people chose to play “scared” all the time, then the United States could still possibly be under British rule.

President Obama addressed this issue: “Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended.” The First Amendment is definitely worth defending, fighting for and dying for. Our Founding Fathers put this in the Bill of Rights because it is an essential right that all citizens should stand up for and protect.