The Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris brings to mind the question: Why do we refer to some of humanity’s most violent fringe as “extremists” of any religion?

They are no more than a swarm of damaged and rudderless adolescents, psychopaths and sociopaths hiding behind masks and a hijacked religion. Such primitive and misconceived life forms are not “extremists” of anything; their creed and behaviors reflect the very core of what and who they are.

Although I do not subscribe to any organized religion, the people who do, and who do so in honorable ways for honorable purposes, warrant far more respect than to be associated even remotely with such cretins. People of honor and devotion do not hide behind masks and weapons and assault any who fail to obey their ridiculous and twisted edicts, including children, the unarmed, and those too old or disabled to function as slaves or sexual toys.

They are no more defenders of their alleged faith than Charles Manson could be considered to be a theater critic.

Civilization will prevail, as always, but it will be a hard fight to win without sacrificing the principles that give it value in the first place.

Jeff Marsh, Shawmut

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