Cartoon Critique: Washington Massacre Edition

Almost as horrific as the actual deaths are the editorial cartoons that follow mass shootings. In a sane world, the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard would be a relatively apolitical affair; it isn’t surprising, after all, that a military installation has a combustible mix — unsteady personalities and lots of guns — that occasionally result in spasms of gun violence. Even a nation with strong control would leave guns in the hands of the military; even a country that did a better job tracking the mentally disabled wouldn’t put them into prison preemptively. But try telling that to the cartoonists:


Nick Anderson
Nick Anderson of The Houston Chronicle says that wow, there sure a lot of mass shootings in the United States. Which means that we know exactly as much, or as little, after reading this cartoon as we did before. Speaking of which, here’s Tony Auth of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Tony Auth
So? And?
Steve Benson
Steve Benson of The Arizona Republic continues the reign of the obvious with the observation that Congress doesn’t plan to enact new gun legislation. Well, yeah, we knew that.
But what really gets me is schmaltz like this Steve Breen cartoon:
Steve Breen
Well, yeah, again. And guess what? It’ll happen in the future too. So? You might as well say the same thing about bad weather.
Mike Luckovich
Come on, does anyone really think the NRA is happy about mass shootings?
Jack Ohman
More obviousness. Yes, America has lots of guns. Sure does. Never mind, by the way, that the Washington shootings weren’t carried out using assault weapons. I’m betting Jack Ohman didn’t know that when this was drawn, but still.
Marshall Ramsey
Hey, did you know it’s sad when people die?


  • I understand your angst and anger, Ted. But what I don’t really connect with is your feeling that “someone should do something about it, because I am pointing it out!- I am identifying and telling people!” Yes – I agree – you are. Bill Maher, Steven Colbert, Jon Stewart and hundreds of others are shovelling the truth towards us. No one wants to listen much any more, and more than a lot don’t either care or are just trying to keep their heads down if they can make ends meet. Still worse, is that everyone seems to be headed off in different directions with different priorities. The only people that profit off this are the corporations and power sectors that have led us to this. A great majority of our “leaders” and elected ofishals are completley controlled by them – and they still want to have a prosperous future for themselves and their families. So – finally, I agree with you – shut it all down. Shut it all down until the people who up in arms about women’s rights, gay freedom, world warming, foreign affairs, debt ceilings, deregulation of financial affairs, taxes on the rich, minimum wage, etc. are all reduced to fighting for the common good to simply survive. I mean – really shut it all down – long enough to where people get real scared. This could be very hard to do, huh? In fact, faced with a world that may be able to absorb a US meltdowm, it could be suicidle. Do you think Norway or in fact, anyone, will come to our aid? :^) Remember, if this happens, it also means that you have no means of income either…

  • I love this feature — it’s by far, my favorite! The caustic acid is so bitter it’s melting me screen! Love it!

  • Also Ted: Here’s a great cartoon on HP about Millennials that your pal Bors would do well to read, in response to his own Millennial cartoon. I can’t post it there since he doesn’t allow comments, what a surprise.

  • Good point and good article Ex. While the explosion of media and its effects are mentioned, I do think that it may be understated. The Internet is a great source for information, but it is also a Tower of Babel – to a great extent.

  • Yeah, it’s a cartoon Matt Bors needs to read. Ted too.

  • Perhaps the NRA isn’t happy with mass shootings, Ted, but I don’t interpret Mr Luckovich’s cartoon above as saying so. What I think Mr Luckovich is saying here – and as a past president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, you probably know him and can ask – is that the NRA is doing its (un)level best to hinder sensible gun regulation in the United States, which might just have prevented some, if not necessarily all, of the more egregious mass shootings which have taken place in that country. Taking the toys away from the boys may not guarantee that no more mass shootings occur, but it would surely be a good beginning, as would dealing with the ever ongoing militarisation of the police. The problem, as I see it, is not that editorial cartoonists come with predictable cartoons when mass shootings occur, but that they don’t come with them – or at least not in significant number – when gun-control issues are debated locally, regionally, or nationally….


  • […] Following the fatal shootings earlier this month at the Washington Navy Yard, Ted Rall is critical of the responses from US political cartoonists. […]

  • Assault weapons is just a silly politician term that doesn’t mean anything but ‘scary-looking’ gun. And again these all look like they took so little effort and time. Why does anyone pay for these? How can anyone take seriously a few candles passed off as an opinion cartoon? Yeah to most of the media this is just another generic mass shooting. I’ll bet some of them are relieved they have such easy material to work with.

    ex and rikster,

    I’m not proud of my fellow Millennials taste for social media, new gadgets, bad music, and reality TV or their self-importance. That said, it wasn’t we who fucked up the country. And as even your silly article mentions, it was the Boomers who pushed the ‘everyone’s special’ crap. You guys just come off as the cliched cranky old people; the ones who since time immemorial have complained about the young generation. Old people always decry the degeneration of society and morality. You only need look back as far as the Victorian era to be sure of this.

  • The self-identified boomers fucked this country up beyond recognition, choosing rightwing policies and politicians for selfish gain, and then, in an act of supreme cowardice, began a pogrom of blaming everyone else for their behavior. Ironically enough, in order to do so, they literally have to ignore the vast majority of people younger than they: most people the boomers criticize would usually be categorized as “hipsters,” and most of those are white, trust-fund kids that have adopted the psychology of boomers: thus, the phrase “hipster” almost inevitably follows “douchebag” in modern parlance.

    The crime rate is going down because the boomers are finally dying off. Like a plague, their baneful influence has burned out and they literally can’t do any worse, though not for lack of trying.

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