Update: A mere 10 days after this cartoon was posted, a man walked into a Chicago hospital where he shot and killed a police officer and two medical staff.
Just to be upfront, I sketched this cartoon a long, long time ago. In fact, I think it was after the shooting in San Bernardino. Brandstad was still governor, Trump was still just a candidate and gun violence was as much a problem then as it is now. The perpetrators have been everything from radicalized terrorists to veterans with possible PTSD, and they take lives in clubs, offices and schools, but the problem persists. We lower our flags to half-staff, we do the thoughts and prayers dance and nothing gets done year after year. Heck, if you want to get right down to it, folks started wondering about guns and college campuses after the Kent State shooting in 1970. Since then, we've had high-profile killings like Columbine, Sandyhook, Pulse nightclub, Las Vegas, Parkland and a slew of religious institutions, not to mention the dozens that don't catch people's attention. Our country has a decades-long legacy of gun violence that's older than my generation. Perhaps that's why the young people want it to stop so badly.
It's a constant for us. I remember my elementary principal telling us to call the police if we ever saw anyone with a gun. That was fourth-grade, and it didn't even seem that absurd at the time. It's the old analogy of the frog in the boiling water. Some people in this country were born into cold water. The decades of heated gun violence don't register quite so much for some because it's been a gradual change — no big deal. For others, they were plopped in the boiling water and can't make sense of it when the other frogs tell them it's just a matter of responsible education.
Case in point, a Facebook post being attributed to the shooter in Thousand Oaks pretty much calls society out for our pattern of behavior. He's not wrong, but then he went and killed a bunch of people. So, what I'm saying is this — if I can sketch out a cartoon in 2015 that's just as relevant in 2018, then the issue isn't being addressed adequately...if at all. Don't pretend this problem is going to fix itself. Don't take the easy way out and leave things where they've always been.
Since the sketch was already done, this panel took me a little more than two hours. As always, technical things come up. I wanted to change a detail here and a detail there, but it remained largely intact from the original 2015 sketch. I adjusted the text a bit in the speech bubbles to reflect the latest gun-related tragedy. This is actually one of only a handful of times I've scanned in a hand-drawn sketch to work from, but such is life. Thanks for reading.