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Lee Judge cartoon sparks outrage

Lee Judge cartoon sparks outrage

A Lee Judge cartoon published in the Kansas City Star nearly a month ago has sparked outrage after going viral last week. The cartoon depicts a grave site with a headstone labeled, “American Sniper” with a caption that reads, “If only there had been a good guy with a gun around.” The cartoon was a response to the death of a Navy SEAL and a friend by an individual who is alleged to be a war veteran with mental illness. The caption is a reference to a comment by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre who said “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Derek Donovan of the Kansas City Star wrote the paper’s response:

Before I go further, I need to address the completely unacceptable tenor of the majority of the early messages The Star received. Most of them were profane and many directly threatened violence to Judge or his editors. That type of vile conduct demeans the sincere and rational objections that sane and civil readers can rightly have to such a pointed piece of commentary.

Back to the cartoon. There’s no question that many people objecting to it misunderstood Judge’s point. Some thought it was implying that Kyle was one of LaPierre’s “bad guys” himself. And some people were unaware of LaPierre’s statement so they simply interpreted the grave and headstone as a stark reminder of Kyle’s violent death.

But many understood and just plain disagreed. The prevailing sentiment from many civil readers I spoke with was articulated well by Courtney Anderson: “Doing this so soon after the death of Chris Kyle is just insensitive. There’s a time and place for it.”

Community Comments

#1 Terry LaBan
March/6/2013
@ 3:25 pm

Not sure I get it myself.

#2 Donald Rex Jr.
March/6/2013
@ 4:02 pm

The cartoon doesn’t show the cold, dead hands.

#3 birdie Birdashaw
March/6/2013
@ 5:52 pm

A good political cartoon should upset people. Especially these days with the discussions about gun control and the second amendment.

#4 Mike Peterson
March/7/2013
@ 3:57 am

I also thought the timing, and the fact that it related to a well-known person, was a little dubious. But, beyond that, I think the response to every shooting should be “If only he/she/they had had a gun.”

It points out the absurdity of the NRA’s contention that more guns equals fewer deaths, or their Walter Mitty fantasy that these situations can be solved by shooting back, when the reality is so starkly and obviously different. If only the rare, rare cases when it works are pointed out, the Wyatt Earp wannabes will win by default.

#5 Drew Litton
March/7/2013
@ 11:53 am

The Good News Is: I feel like so many editorial and sports cartoonists are at the pinnacle of their careers doing their best work ever, like Lee Judge.
The Bad News is: There are so many Newspapers who could care less.

#6 Mark Streeter
March/8/2013
@ 11:39 am

Seems obvious to me
The caption: “If Only There Had Been a Good Guy With a Gun Around” is a take on the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre mantra.
The point of the cartoon: The ‘American Sniper’ WAS a good guy with a gun.
Bravo, Lee Judge.

#7 Gerry Mooney
March/11/2013
@ 12:31 pm

“If only the rare, rare cases when it works are pointed out”

I don’t think it’s ever worked unless you’re talking about a trained peace officer. The demented fantasy that a civilian gun owner will draw down and prevail in a high-pressure situation is just one more sign that gun ownership is a mental-health issue.

And also, good cartoon but maybe slightly obscure to the casual reader.

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