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23 cartoonists enlist in campaign to end gun violence

An organized campaign by over 900 mayors across the US to support gun control efforts in Washington has launched a video featuring 23 cartoonists who are supporting the effort. The video is called Cartoonists Demand Action to End Gun Violence.

Participating cartoonists include:

Lalo Alcaraz, Bill Amend, Ruben Bolling, Jim Borgman, Steve Brodner, Roz Chast, Jeff Keane, Rick Kirkman, Peter Kuper, Mike Luckovich, David Mazzucchelli, Stephan Pastis, Mike Peters, Lincoln Pierce, Dan Piraro, Ted Rall, Dave Roman, Jerry Scott, Art Spiegelman, Raina Telgemeier, Tom Tomorrow, Garry Trudeau, and Mo Willems.

Ruben Bolling, who speareheaded the effort to enlist the cartoonist wrote more about the video on his blog:

For myself and many of the contributing cartoonists, this was a unique experience, shedding our badges as humorists, satirists and storytellers, and creating artwork as unabashed advocates. But fighting gun violence has become a singular issue, and I was deeply gratified that this group of incredibly talented artists joined me at the drawing board to demand action.

When I asked cartoonists to create artwork the this project, I was shocked at how enthusiastically and passionately they agreed. And when I thanked them for helping, I was amazed that so many thanked me for organizing the project and for including them.

He also notes that all the artwork (except Spiegelman) are originals drawn specifically for this video. that?s what struck me was how well the cartoons flowed together. Well done.

Maybe we?ll see the list of cartoonists on the NRA?s blacklist grow.

Community Comments

#1 Donald Rex Jr.
April/22/2013
@ 11:56 am

It is an emotional video, but I think only a rhetorical ‘one for our side.’

Gun violence and gun proliferation are two separate issues, neither of which lend themself to an easy or ‘acceptable’ political solution.

I see the worse problem in them stemming from the national distraction those issues cause from more important ones that are within the scope and theoretical function of goverment; specifically reaching agreements on budgets, spending, appointments and international agreements etc., on their merits in a non-partisan manner (HA).

#2 Dave Stephens
April/22/2013
@ 4:39 pm

I cannot imagine a single criminal changing his/her ways because of any campaign or law – so then I have to assume this campaign is to reduce non-criminal gun violence. But since law-abiding citizens are, by definition, not violent in terms of guns, I have to assume they are somehow trying to communicate with the actual GUNS. This makes no sense at all. Unless I replace the word, ‘communicate’ with the word, ‘eliminate.’ Then it makes sense. They may as well gather together to eliminate the rising of the sun… Guns are permanent. Stupidity is permanent. Criminals are permanent. Since all these things are permanent, maybe we should work on new kinds of guns – new kinds of stupidity and criminals will continue organically…

#3 Rich Diesslin
April/22/2013
@ 7:58 pm

I kind of get a kick out of cartoonists demanding things. Cartoonist against things like terrorism, makes some sense, but it is a cartoon in and of itself having cartoonists demanding things. Look out or I will draw you a new one … ;)

#4 Carl Moore
April/22/2013
@ 8:03 pm

If there were a button labeled “Press this button and all guns in the U.S. would disappear except for police and military,” I suspect most of the above cartoonists would press it. I would too.

But guns in America are never going to disappear. And assault weapon bans, magazine limitations, and background checks are not going to change anything either, except to make liberals feel like they’re actually doing something effective. They’re not. But it feels good. Maybe it even allows them to feel a little superior to those knuckle-dragging gun nuts out there, eh?

Their time and effort would be better spent not demanding action on guns but demanding action on mental health. These awful massacres such as Newtown, Aurora and Virginia Tech., were committed by psychologically ill people. Since the ’60s, Ken Keysey’s book and the movie, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” our mental health hospitals have been closed down and people most susceptible to these kinds of atrocities are not institutionalized and getting the help they need out of a misguided notion that they’re not really sick or that their sickness is best dealt with outside an institution. This is nonsense.

These cartoonists’ efforts would do much more good if they focused on mental health rather than the politically-correct gun crusade.

#5 Keith Brown
April/22/2013
@ 8:52 pm

I think our fetishism and religiousity about guns, along with our selfish demands that weapons designed for combat with the capacity to hold massive amounts of ammo be available at Wal-Mart qualifies as a mental health issue as well , don’t you think?

#6 Donald Rex Jr.
April/22/2013
@ 9:36 pm

“If there were a button labeled ?Press this button and all guns in the U.S. would disappear except for police and military,? I suspect most of the above cartoonists would press it. I would too.”

Why exempt police and military and limit this to the US if stopping oppression and injustice is the goal?

Life is a cabaret ol’ chum.

#7 Mike McKeenan
April/22/2013
@ 10:11 pm

This site used to have thoughtful comments by legitimate cartoonists. Clean it up, Alan.

#8 Jim Lavery
April/23/2013
@ 10:30 am

I demand that these violent guns just knock it off!

#9 Mike Lester
April/23/2013
@ 1:07 pm

This would have the same effective (and let’s face it -be funnier) if they’d titled it “CARTOONISTS DEMAND ACTION”.

#10 Dave Stephens
April/23/2013
@ 6:27 pm

Mike McKeenan, if thine eye offends thee… Oh, I dunno, shoot it or something. But not violently. That would be wrong… But seriously, your comment appears to be the least thoughtful – how’s that working for you?

#11 Donald Rex Jr.
April/23/2013
@ 8:55 pm

All the cartoonists I admire are bastards and thoughtful.

#12 Anne Morse Hambrock
April/24/2013
@ 7:24 am

The Boston bomber is being charged (rightly) with using a weapon of mass destruction.

I would make the arguement that today’s assault weapons and high powered ammunition are no longer simply guns. They have become WMDs.

#13 John Auchter
April/24/2013
@ 11:24 am

If the point of this was to draw attention to the unacceptably high levels of gun violence in the United States and rally support for measures to reduce that violence (and I believe it was), then I think this video is very effective.

If the point of this was to provide a target to snipe and parse in order to turn the discussion away from actual solutions for gun violence, then I think (sadly) it is effective for that, too.

Either way, making the effort is infinitely more admirable than “nothing can be done.”

#14 Donald Rex Jr.
April/24/2013
@ 12:35 pm

Expanding on my ‘serious’ response to this video (@#1), I would point out that the named target (Legislation) is ill conceived, and it has very small chance of affecting a reduction in gun violence through legislation.

This is not to say the project is not worthwhile, but I think the focus aduience should be one that could be affected by the cartoonists message.

I suggest that changing the title to “23 Cartoonists Challange You To Think About This While Cleaning Your Weapon.” may better spur the intended results. That result might be of individuals NOT commiting violent gun crimes, a far superior result to passing toothless, feel-good legislation. Although results of both propositions are essentially unquantifiable, The truth of the former would ironically support the latter.

Come to the cabaret.

#15 Rick Kirkman
April/24/2013
@ 2:08 pm

John Auchter hit the nail on the head as far as the intent of the video. It is part of the “Demand A Plan” campaign. If you pay attention to the video, it does not propose a plan or any particular solution. For an issue as serious and complex as this, any effort to reduce gun violence, has many facets in many areas, from the actual weapons and their availability to mental health care to cultural values to education, on and on.

By comparison, look at the issue of automobile accident deaths. It has been dealt with by a combination of both incremental changes as well as sweeping changes that covered everything from the automobiles themselves to education and public awareness to traffic laws to the way we engineer roads and highways. The result has been a drop to 1/10 the death rate since 1945, 1/4 the rate since 1970 and 1/2 the rate since 1990.

The issue of violence in our society and gun violence in our society is an even more complex problem, partly because violence is a part of human nature. But where the analogy with auto accidents is dealing with “accidents,” the issue of gun violence is not accidental, but intentional. It seems to me that makes it even more imperative to choose action over inaction.

Our video, and others in that campaign are intended to keep not only our attention on the problem, but our leaders’ and representatives’ attention on the problem. As it says, “Demand a plan.” Wouldn’t it be great in ten years to say we have half the gun deaths in this country, not to mention the thousands of others saved from lifetimes of paralyzing or life-altering injuries to both body and mind? But it first takes a plan, ideas, then acting on those before that can happen. We can only do that by keeping it in front of people first.

#16 Rick Kirkman
April/24/2013
@ 2:22 pm

Slight correction: Originally the campaign was “Demand A Plan,” but I guess it’s been changed to “Demand Action.” The web site is still demandaplan.org.

#17 Rick Kirkman
April/24/2013
@ 2:50 pm

Another correction: they have two URLs: demandaplan.org and demandaction.org.

#18 Donald Rex Jr.
April/24/2013
@ 10:41 pm

“By comparison, look at the issue of automobile accident deaths… ”

This is not analogous at all to the gun issue, the reductions in auto accidents is almost entirely due to mechanical improvements in all sorts of auto part design and maintanance, with some important improvement to roads and bridges. I am quick to point out these came about by goverment intervention and regulation, and properly so.

The gun issue cannot be addressed in the same way for two primary reasons:

1. There an estimated 300 million guns privately owned right now by North Americans. This is a real circumstance that cannot be legislated away in any acceptable fashion.

2. Guns are a red herring in our present political impass and disfunctional government. Follow the money; banks, polluting corporations with tentacle offshore entanglements, many of which we love (Apple, Dell, Microsoft), media giants, hedgefunds and others I’m sure I know nothing about. All of these funnel and bundle and pocket our elected officials; who it service give them (“donors”) a free pass to do as they like while playing the voters with nonsensical distractions.They dispute equal protections for diverse groups on every issue from marrage to health care. Framing rational limits and controls as assults on the Constitution, while at the same time pissing on it at every opportunity (torture, wiretaps, drones, walls along the border, overseas prisons for problems they are afraid to deal with.)

None of these assertions are conspiritorial, but clearly documented and simple in themselves,but as we combine then they reach a complexity that makes our heads ache, and the average person with a job, a family or just other things to do give up, and buy the simple solutions peddled by the major media and political parties (please make no mistake, both parties are equally bought and owned). imho.

#19 Rick Kirkman
April/24/2013
@ 11:29 pm

Donald, you both confirm and prove my point. It IS analogous in that the problem required many areas to be addressed, which I did say. It was a problem that required both government and private cooperation and found opposition among businesses that did not want to deal with it. But we did deal with it, little by little, in widely ranging areas related to the problem, and have been successful in dramatically reducing deaths. And you confirm also that the gun violence issue (and violence in general) is an issue that is even more complex with many more facets to deal with, as I said.

And you also prove that because of its complexity and the mire of parties involved, the natural tendency of people is to give up…hence the point about keeping the issue in front of people so they can’t turn away and ignore it, hoping it will go away.

As they say, “out of sight, out of mind”…until the next mass shooting or heinous act of violence grabs our attention for a split second. There are plenty of angles of attack on the problem of violence, with or without guns. If you are adamant that there are no problems with guns, turn your attention to trying to get mental health care sorted out to help prevent these things from happening. Or if you think education is the problem, work on it from that angle. If your concern is about the effect of violent media, try that. There are plenty of ways to address this to go around.

Standing across from each other and digging in on one aspect of the problem does nothing but promote inertia. Don’t the roughly 17,000 yearly victims of gun violence deserve a better response than that?

#20 Rick Kirkman
April/25/2013
@ 12:27 am

Correction: last paragraph should be 11,000, not 17,000.

#21 Donald Rex Jr.
April/25/2013
@ 7:53 am

Rick I repeat my suggestion specifically about this video effort (#14), ‘preaching to the choir’ has no practical value, as they are using what political influence they have already to no avail. This because the deck is stacked against changing gun laws, and also, laws never stopped any crime, by definition.

The present tile may as well read “Pinko Cartoonists Bash Our 2nd Amendment Rights.” To be effective, your video has to be viewed by opponents of your political view and perhaps be affected by its human message. The present title is not condusive to watching it for polarized opponents of your view. However if you were so crafty, or ‘so unscrupulous’ as to rename it with a pro-gun sounding title, that is not belied by the video itself, perhaps it could go viral with both camps.

Not to put too fine a point on my objection to the comparrison of this issue with the Auto safty one, aside from the auto makers and suppliers dragging their feet, there was no partisan opposition to auto safety legislation and still it took decades to come about.

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