Cartoon in Nationwide Newspapers Compares Police Officers to School Shooters

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After publishing an editorial cartoon that likened active shooter drills in school to “preparing for a cop to show up,” several newspapers around the nation have been inundated with calls from angry readers ready to end their subscriptions.

The controversial cartoon was created by Mike Luckovich, an editorial cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; a syndicated version of which appeared in newspapers from coast to coast last week.

In the cartoon, a young Black student is seen alongside his white classmates hiding underneath desks next to a chalkboard that reads “active shooter drill.” Kneeling on the ground with his hands down, the student says, “This feels like preparing for a cop to show up.”

Furious readers took to Luckovich’s social media pages to express their outrage.

“Actually, this cartoon should be offensive to everyone,” one individual wrote, according to Todd Starnes. “Not only our law enforcement officers that risk their lives daily to keep others safe, but to blacks as well. What kind of family are you implying this black child is from? You should be ashamed contributing to the divisiveness of our country.”

“I’ve lived in Atlanta for 50 years,” declared another, denouncing the Journal-Constitution as a “misleading, socialist pandering RAG.”

Starnes reports that several newspapers, including the Lewiston Tribune in Idaho, have since apologized for the cartoon.

“Emails, phone calls and more than four dozen subscription cancellations lit up our front office,” wrote Tribune editor and publisher Nathan Alford in a public apology on behalf of the paper.

“The consensus: The Tribune doesn’t support local law enforcement,” Alford continued. “It was also a put-down on our teachers who lead our kids — including three of my own — in regular active shooting drills in our schools. Not to mention the first responders.”

In his editorial, Alford noted that Luckovich’s “edgy” cartoons have landed the publication in hot water with readers before.

“Regardless of the intent of Luckovich’s cartoon about a significant national news event and ongoing public debate about law enforcement methods in our country, many interpreted the cartoon as a Tribune direct slap in the face of our local law enforcement,” he went on. “That was our judgment error — the national commentary was read by many as local.”

“Nonetheless, we take responsibility for what an Idaho State Police officer I spoke with Wednesday properly summed up as a ‘shock to the conscience,'” Alford wrote.

Alford explained that he personally met with “nearly every police chief, sheriff and a handful of officers” after the cartoon’s publication to let them know “We regret Wednesday’s Opinion page cartoon. We made a judgment error and failed to anticipate the impact the cartoon would have locally, and the negative reaction it would elicit.”

“Make no mistake, local law enforcement is a cornerstone of our communities,” Alford affirmed. “These officers and deputies are responsible for keeping our streets, homes, schools and children safe.”

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