Friday, January 16, 2015

We are Charlie

Generally I stay on topic of occupational heath and safety, technology, workers compensation, and the staffing industry. I do inject my humor because that is who I am and I found over my many years of doing this, it is an effective way to convey my message. I try to be as politically correct as possible, but I will NOT let me be swayed from defending  human rights (occupational heath and safety falling under that) OR speaking what is TRUTH.

As a blogger, I bring you this copy of the cover of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine whose headquarters was attacked for exercising freedom of expression. This magazine in many ways is far from my personal beliefs.  Today I stand – and I ask you to stand - with my brothers and sisters who have been brutally murdered for artistically expressing themselves.

There are two reasons that I provide the information that I do: that is freedom of the press and freedom of speech.  That concept was so important to America’s founders that it is embodied in the 1st Amendment to our foundational documents:
“Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
It is a guarantee that you can express your thoughts in any form including speech.

That free speech not only applies to the press, which is supposed to keep our politicians and system honest, but to speech which includes artistic expression. It applies to books, drama, art, painting TV, movies, and to satire such as William Shattner’s satirical TV lawyer Denny Crane. That extends not only to Internet news sources, but to bloggers and those who post comments to those blogs.

Today elements in the world are trying to control what you can think through threats, fear and murder. If you express something they don’t like in any way they want you to believe they will kill you.  They act in order to scare us. The president of France called the murderous attack on Charlie Hebdo “an act of war.”

The president of the United States, through his spokesperson Josh Earnest, rightly said on the 12th  “that the publication of any kind of material in no way justifies any act of violence.” That’s good. But then Earnest went on to encourage the media to use “responsibility” and to discourage media outlets from publishing the Charlie Hebdo cover or other materials that could create a dangerous reaction.

 But the president stopping the free expression of ideas – in the art of satire or in any other fashion - is not in any way the same thing.

If you run from a bully the bully will pick on you more. This is a lesson many of us learned in elementary school before political correctness subsumed reality. Standing down in the face of a threat from the Middle East is interpreted by its mindset as weakness.

There are those of you who may question this conflicting with my commitment to safety by potentially inviting the threat of violence. As I mentioned here and in other posts, my commitment to safety is guided by higher principals, namely the US Constitution and human rights.

While we have the duty to provide a safe and healthful work environment, we are limited by the US Constitution. Examples include disabled employees, polygraphs, and physical exams post offer. Employees and employers have our rights protected by the Constitution as well: fraud and whistleblower protections.

In the spirit of protecting our rights, I write this post. I do not expect that all my readers agree with this, as is your right. You are free to express your point of view as well.

Finally Let me credit and thank J Dale Debber, publisher of Cal-OSHA reporter for the inspiration behind this post. His post today titled: "We are America We are Charlie" inspired me to stand with him and others who enjoy our rights to safety and freedom of speech.

Thank you for reading.


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