A letter to the editor, The Globe and Mail, January 12, from Pamela Pastachak, Niagara Falls, Ont.
Here we are in Canada trying to figure out how harshly can we punish a few immature men for offensive words on a website. Some people were “hurt” by them. Then Paris happened, and now I am starting to get whiplash looking from one side to the other trying to figure out why words hurt some of the time and why “freedom of expression no matter how offensive” is a right worth dying for.
For some, the wannabe dentists have erred so enormously that wiping out their planned careers and futures is barely enough. At the same time we weep for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, who were just expressing their right of freedom of expression while publishing jeers and taunts at any target they wished.
Which is it? Do we ignore it when people say offensive things to us? Should we pick up Kalashnikovs or (as in Canada) destroy their futures? Or grow up and define ourselves by our actions and lives, not by what others say about us?