Bennington, Vermont, is a beautiful town filled with the most beautiful of people. But an awful cartoon that ran in the town’s local newspaper on Oct. 3 has grabbed the attention of many. It was published in the wake this week’s massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas that featured numerous country stars.
Just one day after that dreadful shooting that killed 59 people and injured more than 500, the Bennington Banner published a brutally insensitive syndicated editorial cartoon. The caption “What happens on Vegas ….” was placed over a drawing of a heap of human bodies.
Hours later, in a Facebook post, the executive editor of New England Newspapers Inc. apologized.
“Publishing the cartoon by Randall Enos in Tuesday’s Banner was not the right time or the right place, especially since Sunday’s night’s mass shooting hit so close to home for our readers and neighbors,” Kevin Moran wrote in his apology. “Our interpretation of Randall Enos’ cartoon was that little would be done with regard to gun control measures in the United States even after such an unprecedented tragedy. While we believe that is a conversation that needs to happen in this country, we must first mourn and honor the victims and provide comfort to their families and friends. We regret publishing the cartoon.”
The editorial cartoon hit hard in Vermont, which lost one of its own in the tragedy. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Sandy Casey, originally from East Dorset, Vermont, who are enduring grief beyond compare today,” Moran writes. “We apologize to them and others affected.”
Many readers commented on the Facebook apology with anger. “What in the hell is wrong with you,” one person asked. “Your newspaper was so far out of line. Those American souls have not even been laid to rest. I just don’t understand how your paper could have thought this was funny, whatever your take was. Your apology did not make me feel better. Unbelievable.”