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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sacbee's Texas Goes Boom Cartoon: Tasteless, Sick And Disrespectful To Victims And Families

By Susan Duclos

Editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman published a cartoon in the Sacbee showing Texas Governor Rick Perry saying Business is BOOMING in Texas," on one side then a huge explosion with the word "BOOM!," on the other side.

Sick and tasteless are just a couple of the words being used to describe the cartoon above, considering the  little town of West, Texas, with a population of approximately 28,000, is suffering after a fertilizer plant explosion which killed 14, injured others, took out a four-block radius and left a massive crater in it's place.

Disrespectful is another word being used for Mr. Ohman's cartoon. Disrespectful to a town that suffered a devastating tragedy. Disrespectful to the families of those that lost their lives, some first responders, fireman and cops. Disrespectful to the men, women and children left homeless after the explosion destroyed their homes. Disrespectful to those left jobless after the businesses they worked at were leveled.

After receiving numerous complaints about his cartoon, Mr. Ohman then took to the pages of Sacbee to defend his cartoon by saying he was trying to make a "point" about Texas regulations.

The Texas chemical plant had not been inspected by the state of Texas since 2006. That's seven years ago. You may have read in the news that Gov. Perry, during his business recruiting trips to California and Illinois, generally described his state as free from high taxes and burdensome regulation. One of the burdensome regulations he neglected to mention was the fact that his state hadn't really gotten around to checking out that fertilizer plant. Many Texas cities have little or no zoning, resulting in homes being permitted next to sparely inspected businesses that store explosive chemicals.

So when the plant exploded and killed 14 people, people started asking the inevitable questions about whether this tragedy could have been prevented.

Question that have no answers yet, as Mr. Ohman clearly admits in his next sentence:

Well, we're not going to know that now, exactly, but I doubt that more inspections and better zoning would have hurt.
So Mr. Ohman admits there are no official investigation findings yet about the explosion, no facts to back up his political point, yet still thinks it is somehow defensible to use the devastation, loss and deaths, in a cartoon that has offended not just those affected by the tragedy, but many more throughout the country.

Texas Governor Rick Perry responds to the cartoon:

Re "Business is booming in Texas" (Editorial cartoon, April 25): It was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon. While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won't stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans.

Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster. The Bee owes the community of West, Texas an immediate apology for your detestable attempt at satire.

-- Gov. Rick Perry, Austin, Tex.

Mr. Ohman and the Sacbee editorial page director, Stuart Leavenworth, that attempted to defend the cartoon, should both be ashamed of themselves.

H/T Twitchy