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In cartoons, the weapons depicted just get bigger and more powerful

Massacre, shock, finger pointing, media hand-wringing, tribute to the fallen, earnest political speeches, moment of silence. For cartoonists, like all Americans, it's a too-familiar pattern. Hugh Haynie targeted weak congressional leadership. Tony Auth absolved all parties of responsibility. And Rob Rogers tried to keep a civil tongue.

By the way, Haynie died in 1999; he drew his cartoon in 1981. Auth's was done a decade ago, and Rogers' was this week. If you think nothing changes, look closer -- the weapons depicted just get bigger and more powerful.

In 1981:


Editorial cartoon by Hugh Haynie / Louisville Courier-Journal

In 2001:

Editorial cartoon by Tony Auth / Philadelphia Inquirer

In 2011:

Editorial cartoon by Rob Rogers / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

-- Joel Pett


Quote of the day: Bobby Kennedy on Americans and political discourse in 1968

Gun regulation: A better memorial for Tucson victims

Jonah Goldberg: The exploitive rhetoric of tragedy

Meghan Daum: Rhetoric as comfort food: The mac-and-cheese instinct

Doyle McManus: Palin comes out swinging, and misses

Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky. His work also appears in USA Today.


Comments () | Archives (2)

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B. Franklin

Are you serious? You are making assertions about the size and prowess of firearms that have existed well before even the first cartoon was published.

Just because a firearm "looks mean" or is big doesn't mean it is more or less powerful than any other gun. There are military style black rifles chambered in .22LR which is one of the smallest and least powerful rounds available today. If you were to hold the rifles side by side the average person wouldn't be able to tell the difference. This is because they are uneducated, nay... ignorant when it comes to firearms. Instead of learning about something they fear and trying to understand the objects themselves, many people turn the blind eye and live happily in their ignorance. This is all fine and legal but when someone makes a baseless claim that weapons have been getting bigger over the years while only citing three political cartoons... this is beyond ignorant. It is irresponsible.

Please check your facts before you assert something that is completely false.

On a related note, the Tuscon incident is simply the epitome of a tragedy. But instead of blaming firearms that save the lives of countless people all over the world every single day, lets focus on the people that hold them and make the conscious choice to either defend themselves and others or kill for their own motivations.
The constant is the firearm which will not hurt anyone unless the operator chooses to point it at someone and pull the trigger. The variables are the people. We have good people and bad people. What a person decides to do with a tool may have consequences, good or bad.
Do you credit a paintbrush for a masterpiece? Would you credit a hand trowel for a beautiful garden? Do you blame the vehicle when a person drives drunk or sue Ford, or Chevy for making such a vehicle which can be used illegally by children or by bank robbers as a getaway car? No. No you wouldn't. Then why blame the firearms for the actions of human?


Of all of the posts I have seen on this subject, no one has mentioned that we have all the appropriate gun laws we needed to prevent this tragedy. Unfortunately, the system breaks down when people do not recognize the threat and act on it. The alleged perpetrator was reportedly identified on many ocassions as being unbalanced and mentally unstable. Still this person was able to legally purchase a firearm. Ask yourself why none of these observations ever made it into the tracking database that would have denied this person's purchase. People need to be more engaged for the system of laws we have to work. Terrorists succeed when we all fail to take notice and get involved. Wake up. We do not need more laws. Let's just use the ones we have, some common sense and be more responsible.



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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