An editorial cartoon by The Star's Lee Judge went viral overnight, and the response has been absolutely huge. In fact, this is the most reaction to a single item in the paper that I've seen for some time. The cartoon is also running in other papers around the country, along with countless shares online.
The cartoon is a strong statement about gun violence. It depicts a grave marked "American Sniper," in reference to Navy SEAL and author Chris Kyle, who was recently shot and killed along with friend Chad Littlefield while on a firing range. The man accused of the crime is an Iraq War veteran who has been said to suffer with mental illness.
Right now I'm collecting and collating reader feedback about it. I understand fully that the topic touches on a lot of subjects that people feel strongly about. This will be the topic of a column to come soon here and in print.
I have to add that I've been extraordinarily disappointed in the tenor of most of what I've been hearing so far. The majority of the messages have been nasty, directly threatening, or both. That is a huge disservice to the many civil voices who would express their disapproval in a productive way.
UPDATE: I'm realizing as I correspond with readers that there are many people who didn't understand the point Judge is making. That's not a backhanded, "aren't they stupid" insult, by the way. Most of those who don't get it weren't aware of the NRA's Wayne LaPierre's quote, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" -- in which case, the cartoon would be impossible to comprehend as it's intended.
Just to make it clear, the point Judge is making is that despite the fact that the two victims and anyone else on the firing range that day were "good guys" with guns, they were unable to stop the shooter. It's obviously perfectly reasonable to argue with that point of view, but I do want to make sure we're all on the same page while discussing it.