This week’s appalling acts of violence in Paris have so far claimed the lives of at least 20 people including the staff from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, patrons taken hostage at a kosher supermarket, and a police officer.  One suspect remains at large.  And as the French authorities probe links associated with the terror suspects, the possibility of another attack – or several – lingers.

Throughout the world, leaders have decried the violence.  As French President Francois Hollande emphasized in his statement: “Today it is the Republic as a whole that has been attacked.  The Republic equals freedom of expression; the Republic equals culture, creation, it equals pluralism and democracy.”

He was speaking to his constituency.  But his words leapt across international boundaries.  We agree with President Hollande.  What he calls out – freedom of expression, pluralism and democracy – matters to all of us.

Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the French people.

We stand with you.

Some of us here are journalists. Some are law enforcement officers.  Some have served in our armed forces.  But all of us are dedicated to protecting the freedoms we often take for granted until a tragedy like this happens.

In the words of those in solidarity with the victims and the resolve to protect our way of life: Je Suis Charlie.