"I am pretty sure I am not a sick human being," California comic artist Jack Ohman wrote on his blog this week. But some folks in Texas, including the governor, are pretty sure he is.
Ohman published the above comic this week in the Sacramento Bee, the daily newspaper in the state's capitol. It was, he said, "about Gov. Rick Perry's marketing of Texas' loose regulations, juxtaposed with the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas."
Perry, and a lot of Ohman's readers, found it disrespectful to the 14 people who died that explosion. The governor said so in a letter to the paper's editors.
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"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," Perry wrote. "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."
Ohman had already responded to his critics on his blog, writing:
The question is whether it is tasteless or not.
My answer, respectfully, is that it isn't. ...
Should I have used the explosion as a vehicle to illustrate my point? I did. I stand by it. Here's why: Many readers said things along the lines of, "Would you have portrayed the severed limbs created by the Boston bomber to make a political point?" Hmm. No. I would not. But I have drawn a faceless Iraq war veteran, wrapped in bandages, wanting to know who had to invade Iraq to save face.
Yes, I got the same kind of reaction.
But you know something? I would draw that cartoon again. Wouldn't even think twice about it.