I've never read Rushdie but recently began reading The Satanic Verses due to the assassination attempt on his life because of that book. Two chapters in and I am now a Rushdie fan. The way he wrote about the people falling from that plane in the first chapter was mesmerizing enough. The way he builds characters is great. No wonder he's such a celebrated author.
Much of the literary community is vocalizing their support for the literary tradition of writing what you want without fear of violent repercussions. Criticism is fine, but violence is not. I'm hopeful that this terrible event will encourage many to continue to push the boundaries in writing and expressing themselves without fear of violence.
The honorable response is to say that we are all Rushdie now, and that America’s failure to protect him is a collective shame. In the face of this thuggery, Rushdie’s work should be read publicly, and his name thrown in the face of apologists for the regime that once ordered and offered to pay for his assassination. (In 1998, in an effort to normalize relations with the West, Iran canceled the hit but made clear that if some freelancer wanted to get him, Tehran would not be displeased.)
But we are not all Rushdie. And in fact the past couple decades have led me to wonder if some of us are more Khomeini than we’d like to admit.
One of the greatest aspects of writing is honesty. If we cannot be honest, then who are we writing for? It's certainly not ourselves. Salman Rushdie is an inspiration.