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By Tom Toles



The future is there

Well that didn't take long. No sooner had I expressed my haughty disdain for the tawdry blogger habit of linking than I started seeing more stuff I want to link to. As a public transit user/supporter and someone who reads "China rising" stories with the same skittish fascination as all Americans, this one about giant buses that drive OVER cars is irresistible.

America used to build cool stuff like this, or at least used to PREDICT that we would someday. What we decided to ACTUALLY build was the world's largest sprawl. Oh, and outdoor grills that look like restaurant kitchens. China will begin building this in 2010, about the time that all OUR futuristic projects were forecast to be up and running. China is also building some super-fast trains and giant windfarms that clobber our paltry efforts and distract everyone from the fact that their coal burning plants will be helping cook the planet.

We also predicted that by now we would have robots doing our work for us. That partly came true for many jobs, but they forgot to tell us that the robot's owner would keep the paycheck. --Tom Toles




By Tom Toles  | August 5, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Guns  
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Next: Piece of the justice

Other Syndicated Editorial Cartoons:


I DID love this scorecard. I work not far from where Daniel Shays''s what happened in 1787. (According to the Springfield Armory Museum site.)

"On January, 25th, 1787, Shays led insurgents to the Federal Arsenal in Springfield with about 1,500 armed men behind him. This was the high-water mark of this violent and wide-spread rebellion that crested in the bloody clash at the arsenal as the rebels attempted to seize the muskets, cannon, barracks, and ammunition stored here.

The rebel column approached from the East on what is today State Street toward today’s Federal Square before they rushed toward the militia standing on today’s Armory Square [the grass quadrangle in front of the Springfield Armory NHS Museum]. Massachusetts militia General William Shepard commanded 1,200 local militiamen who fired several cannons into the ranks of the advancing rebels, killing four and wounding many more. No muskets were fired by either side. Crying "murder", Shays’s men scattered in disarray toward Chicopee."

(Not that there's anything wrong with Chicopee.) So, I tip my hat to Mr. Toles, and look forward to many more thoughtful and controversial cartoons.

Posted by: bswurtzel | August 10, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Perfect cartoon by Toles...

Our guns laws are written by and funded by the gun indusrty and GUN NUTS.

The 2nd amendment's clear intention is to allow an armed milita (this is a citizens army) against tyrants (such as the British way back when).

The fact that it's now being interpreted as justification to allow people to carry guns and automatic rifles is STUPID.
The constitution should be changed to outlaw guns. Their is no sane reason to allow the prolifertion of hand guns and automatic weapons.

It's sickening that politicians have to suck up to the likes of the NRA and the gun industry.

To all you GUN NUTS - go find another less harmless toy to play with.

Posted by: JJH1 | August 9, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Gun owners should be criminally responsible for any crimes committed with their guns by anyone other than themselves. So if the gun is improperly secured and a child accidentally shoots another child, the gun owner should be up on manslaughter charges. If a gun is stolen because it is improperly secured, and a crime is committed with it, the gun owner should be up on the equivalent charge that the perpetrator faces."

That is STUPID. It spits in the face of justice. So if a criminal commits a crime with their weapon they should share as much punishment as the criminal who actually chose to commit the crime? Why not apply this to knives or cars? Someone breaks into your garage, steals your car and does a hit and run with it it's your faul?

Posted by: FatherTime89 | August 7, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

"The only people dying for the NRA's version of "freedom" are innocents."

Because no one has ever killed someone in self-defense eh?

Why do you think it's OK to punish people for the crimes committed by others?

Posted by: FatherTime89 | August 7, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

"The first thing that a tyrant does when they seize power is to take the guns from the citizens... Hitler"

More history and less fantasy, please, bobbo. It was the Weimar republic that instituted gun control in order to keep a violent and racist militant group from seizing power in a coup... quite successfully. It is a terrible tragedy that that group then came to power anyway by seizing on civil dissatisfaction with the economy using fictitious propaganda that would be laughable if not so despicable and winning an election. Ringing any bells there for you, bobbo? Hopefully history won't repeat itself.

Posted by: hayesap8 | August 6, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks so much, Tom! You hit it on the head. The only people dying for the NRA's version of "freedom" are innocents. These deaths are totally unnecessary and are prevented in all other civilized democracies.

Posted by: gritsjr | August 6, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

OK, Mr. Toles. You have a good argument against the Second Amendment. Perhaps we do not need all the people to have arms so we can form a militia at need. So stop being so lazy. Change the Constitution. Get the votes. Work.

That is what a Democracy is about.

Posted by: gary4books | August 6, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

How do the people overthrow a tyrant if they are disarmed!?

Posted by: DirtFarmer1 | August 5, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: simpleton1

So the solution to the problem of workplace shootings, GHF_LRLTD, is to have more guns in the workplace?


You missed my point entirely. What I was stating the obvious - i.e. the tool used here was not the problem. I described the situation in terms of what the conditions created. If you believe that a ban - backed up with no actual physical check of weapons coming into that space, and relying on everybody agreeing on self-limitation - is the solution, you are disconnected from reality.

I understand the limits of rule making based on projecting your world view on everybody without immediate physical sanction, and would rather work in the Land of the Real. Reality - weither or not you like it - says that if you create an advantage for criminal behavior in a certain way, you will get more of it. It does not matter what your world view about guns is.

If you more guns means more violence is taken to its logical extreme, you would support disarming police (and for that matter, the military), so that violence would be less.

In the world ouside sterile areas (like the TSA at the airport gates), you are ultimately responsible for your own security, and by inference the security of the area immediately around you in space and time. I will pick my tool, you can pick yours (including no tools).

My point was that if the situation at the work place had a creditable threat of immediate reaction to what the Active Shooter began to do, the atmosphere would be less condusive to this kind of event.

You would benefit if this uncertainty exists, even if you are not part of the armed group.

I point out the the ultimate Mutually Assured Distruction environment - the Cold War from 1949 to the end of the Soviet Union in 1989 regarding nuclear weapons - worked. This MAD still exists with nation state whack jobs like Iran.

Posted by: GHF_LRLTD | August 5, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Your “SECOND AMENDENT SCOREBOARD” cartoon is a stroke of genius, Tom. I'm glad you're finally on my side. You have captured the essence of the 2nd Amendment: We haven't had to overthrow any tyrants BECAUSE most of us have guns!

Posted by: quiensabe | August 5, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Your argument is nonsense because it avoids even mentioning the two truly-central issues: first that the ownership and carry of guns is a constitutionally-protected right and second that crime is, basically, crime. Regardless of how it is committed. The same goes for accidents. And that given humans, there will be crime and there will be accidents.

Your "issue" is not with the "dogma of gun-ownership". It's with the reality of life that is not as you wish it to be and your OC need to harp on it. The same "issue" that results in the death of millions of people every year.

Posted by: dubya1938 | August 5, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

As background, in the mid nineties I earned a MPA degree and in the process was ranked the #1 Graduate Student at the University. For my Master’s degree, I wrote a lengthy paper on State crime rates and what impact new State laws, which allowed the carrying of concealed weapons, had on those crime rates. Specifically, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, several States loosened their gun control laws by passing legislation, which allowed their citizens to carry concealed weapons. In every State where such laws were passed, one of the chief claims made by the law’s advocates was that allowing the State’s citizens to carry concealed weapons would reduce the State’s crime rates. Though unsupported by statistical analysis, the advocates’ rationale seemed to make sense since theoretically criminals should hesitate to commit violent crimes not knowing if their potential victims carried concealed weapons or not. The subject raised my curiosity. I wanted to find out whether or not the advocates’ claims were true. So, for my Master’s degree I conducted exhaustive scholarly research on the subject including statistical analysis of the FBI’s extensive data on each State’s crime rate statistics.

The results of all my work were revealing. While I could find many reports of individual citizens who had successfully defend themselves and/or others using their concealed weapons, my research showed that there was “no” statistically significant drop in the rate of crime for any of the individual types of violent crime on which the FBI maintains statistics in any of the States, which had passed new concealed weapons laws. My statistical analysis included several years both before and after these States had implemented their new concealed weapons law. My statistical analysis also included every State, which had passed these laws during this period of time as well as several “control” States, which hadn’t changed their gun laws. The results were conclusive; the carrying of concealed weapons had no statistically significant impact on the lowering of a State’s crime rates for any and all types of violent crimes over the period of time covered by my analysis.

Unfortunately, my paper didn’t address if, over the same period of time, there had been a statistically significant “increase” in the incidence of accidental shootings, accidental deaths, suicides, etc. by firearms concurrent with these States implementing their new concealed weapons laws. Common sense says, there should have been, i.e., more guns, more accidental gun-related injuries, deaths and suicides. However, this is a much more complex topic requiring much more research, much more data, and much more analysis and, therefore, appropriately the topic of what will hopefully be my Doctoral Thesis.

Posted by: navyseal | August 5, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Tom Toles---Why should we have politics or Freedom? China doesn't have it. China has 1.5 billion human robots. Control the mind. Control the body. Control the masses.

Tom are you one of the secret Totalitarian agents of the NWO working from the liberal point of view?

How much damage does 1.5 billion people in China do to the planet? Will China get the flu and help reduce the population?

Second Amendment/The right to bare firearms. The misuse of any dangerous or hazardous object such as an automoble, airplane, or even a microwave. Maybe even a lawnmower. Frequency weapons that are unregulated and publically unacknowledged are just as or even more dangerous than firearms. They can cause people to have automobile accidents, crash airplanes, or even stab your wife. A crime first begins with the state of mind.

Just think Tom if your neighbors were knowledgeable and wanted to seek revenge they could secretly point Directed Energy Weapons with psychotronic programs at your home. I would like to see how would post that one on your Blog.

Restriction of knowledge about hazardous weapons along with their methods of use goes far beyond the dangers of the right to own firearms. These type of weapons are now widespread and have created a large criminal element.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | August 5, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

As a pro-gun socialist, the problem is that the left hand column should not be empty. Guns were essential in the defense of Native American land, desperately needed for Nat Turner and in any number of other slave rebellions, the objective of John Brown's magnificent attempt on Harper's Ferry, essential in the defense of strikers at Homestead, Coal Creek, the 1943 coal strike, and dozens of others.

At least list McKinley, the most anti-labor president in our history, in the left hand column.

Posted by: PasserThru | August 5, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mattsoundworld | August 5, 2010 12:26 PM

"You ask in jest, but whats the murder rate on military bases?"

Not sure but the suicide rate is out of control.

Posted by: knjincvc | August 5, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

So the solution to the problem of workplace shootings, GHF_LRLTD, is to have more guns in the workplace?

Posted by: simpleton1 | August 5, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

You ask in jest, but whats the murder rate on military bases?

Posted by: mattsoundworld | August 5, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it: the chatter about responsible gun ownwership and sport shooting and such is nonsense. Guns only have value to gun lovers when they are visible and can be used as a threat. So it's tough to believe that there can be any truly responsible gun ownership. Too likely for a gun to be handy to theft or irresponsible use.~~~~~cynicalc

Your above 'chatter' I would consider nonsense. Clearly you are anti gun period...just 'cuz you do not approve does not make your "view" about gun ownership right/correct, let alone, enforceable....

Posted by: bertzel | August 5, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

How conveniently Comrade Toles left out a category for innocent people who have been successfully able to defend themselves against society's predators. Of course their lives matter now a hoot to the comrade.

Also, while I was in France in May a policewoman was gunned down, as well as several civilians, by thugs in broad daylight on a crowded autobahn. So much for the success of gun control in such a gun-controlled country.

Posted by: john_bruckner | August 5, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse


Most of what you are talking about is the super rare occasion stuff that also happens in countries with stricter gun laws. You are talking hyperbole fantasy land stuff. Maybe you should read a breakdown of crime in this nation.

Few guns are stolen from home owners.

The children killing another with a found gun rarely happens, not even one time a year statistically. Last case in the DC area was a few years ago and the gun owner had an illegal gun to begin with because they 1) Lived in DC 2) were a convicted felon. 80 Children died in pools on Memorial day alone, maybe we need a pool ban too. Thousands of children die a year in car crashes.

Your whole thing about the "average" American does not hold up. First of all you have less than .00005% chance of being murdered in the first place. Gun murder victims are 90% males ages 17-24, over 50% are African American nation wide (most male ages 17-24). The vast majority are also gang bangers, more than half are under the age to own a handgun yet have one. These are not your "average" American. I agree we should do more to keep guns out of their hands but without infringing on my rights to own.

Rarely are you shooters suburban or rural and that is where the majority of American gun owners reside.

Posted by: flonzy1 | August 5, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Let's read between the lines of the second amendment. The Founding Fathers knew that some people would commit crimes with weapons and they understood that everyone else knows that too. Here is what they intended us to understand when we read the second amendment. "Even though arms may be and indeed will be misused to commit crimes and even though arms may be used to form a poorly regulated militia, The right to form a well regulated militia is so important that we will put up with the negative aspects of citizens keeping and bearing arms so that they can form a well regulated militia if they need to." That's what they meant when they said our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Posted by: MikeSalisbury | August 5, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Oh, another point: it's rare that, when someone does use a gun in a crime, the threat is neutralized by another regular citizen's gun. It's even rare that we hear of anyone defending their home and family from a burglar with a gun. (It's more likely the gun will be stolen, falling into the hands of criminals.)

Some stricter gun controls which should be acceptable to truly responsible gun owners:

-- Gun owners should have to purchase third party liability insurance, to cover damages caused by their guns.

-- Gun owners should be criminally responsible for any crimes committed with their guns by anyone other than themselves. So if the gun is improperly secured and a child accidentally shoots another child, the gun owner should be up on manslaughter charges. If a gun is stolen because it is improperly secured, and a crime is committed with it, the gun owner should be up on the equivalent charge that the perpetrator faces.

-- Gun owners should lose their privilege to own guns if they are charged with an infraction of failing to properly secure their guns, or irresponsible use or display of a gun.

Let's face it: the chatter about responsible gun ownwership and sport shooting and such is nonsense. Guns only have value to gun lovers when they are visible and can be used as a threat. So it's tough to believe that there can be any truly responsible gun ownership. Too likely for a gun to be handy to theft or irresponsible use.

Guns are a stupid idea for "self defense" -- think about it: do you really want to have to take your chances in a shoot-out? Yeesh. Myself? I'd rather be shot to death than to shoot someone else -- even a deserving someone else -- and have that on my conscience for the rest of my life. I'd rather focus on getting away and letting the professionals (the well-armed militia) do their thing.

Posted by: CynicalC | August 5, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Like Paul Harvey used to say, "And now the rest of the story."

Crimes Prevented by Responsible Gun Use: 2,000,000+

People* killed by Guns: 30,000

* 60% suicide, 30% homicide, 10% other including criminals killed by police, and accidents.

Out of 13 children killed per day by a gun, 9 of them were in the 17-19 year old range, usually killed in gang-related activitities.

By the way, you REALLY need to read the Armed Citizen.

Posted by: mhoust | August 5, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

It may be true that strict gun control will not prevent a criminal or a terrorist from acquiring guns and killing people.

But they do prevent spur-of-the-moment "crime of passion" killings, where a person with access to a gun becomes overwrought and isn't thinking clearly. It also prevents accidental shootings, especially involving children.

Americans always argue that responsible gun ownership solves all these problems. But since the US still has these problems, then the conclusion must be drawn that the average American isn't capable of responsible gun ownership.

Let's not forget too that the US accounts for only about 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's incarcerated population - a fact which suggests that Americans are more likely to engage in criminal behaviour. Some small elite may view themselves as more deserving of the privilege of owning guns, and may be willing to twist the second amendment to have it appear a right rather than a privilege that comes with tremendous responsibility. As long as that continues, we will also continue to see little kids accidentally shooting their little sisters, and persons with mental disorders buying assault weapons and going on rampages. Is that acceptable?

You'd think truly responsible gun owners would be on the leading edge of those calling for stricter gun controls.

Posted by: CynicalC | August 5, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Uh... could I change the subject to those buses that cars can drive under?
What happens if an idiot driver tries to change lanes in front of the bus?
Just wondering....

Posted by: moore_te | August 5, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Tom, for having the guts to push back against the gun nuts. Every year gun owners kill more innocent Americans than the Taliban did on 9/11.

Every year!

Posted by: Trakker | August 5, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The cartoon shows about 1000 marks on the right, but all it takes is one tyrant to fill up the left side with millions of marks. Also missing is the millions of people saved by self defense with firearms.
The private ownership of firearms is what makes this a free country. Gun laws merely create criminal playgournds where only the bad guys are armed. It's the first ingredient in any mass murder.

Posted by: UpTheRepublic | August 5, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

More hyperbole from Tom,

Strict gun control did not stop this sort of thing in the UK where a taxi driver killed 16. It has not stopped school shootings in the UK, Germany, Finland, in any country with strict gun control.

Switzerland gives it's citizens automatic rifles because they are all militia and all serve two years in the military. Yet they are the fifth lowest murder rate in the EU and well under the UK rate; the UK being the strictest on guns in Europe.

Now if you want to address our murder rate being three times higher that Europe's look at what we have they don't; inner city gang violence. The vast majority of our murder rate is gang on gang violence. High drop out rates go hand in hand with high violence rates in America; we need to address these cultural issue and leave guns alone. There are more guns in Alexandria VA than Washington DC; Alexandria also has a larger population per square mile than DC and yet it has a murder rate of 3-6 a year and DC was at a record low of 176 last year (a 24% drop in murder after Heller BTW). Clearly guns are not the issue.

Posted by: flonzy1 | August 5, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse


Sorry, my friend, but it's settled law. U.S. v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001) held the right of INDIVIDUALS to keep and bear arms REGARDLESS of whether they are actually a member of a militia. Try to do some basic research before publicly exposing your ignorance.

Posted by: jpost1 | August 5, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

libs must of got talking points about the Whiskey Rebellion because there is a letter in the editor in the Post today from a lib using the Whiskey Rebellion to attack the Tea Partyers'

Posted by: taxcutsin12 | August 5, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

These typical myopic comments from the NRA's shills always leave out the first half of the 2nd Amendement. I guess they think that James Madison was like Charlie Brown writing a book report - had to have at least 200 words. The 2nd Amendment had nothing to do with keeping an uzi by your bed and everything to do with having an army on the cheap. There was also no uniformed police in 1787 and white males in the South had to serve on armed patrols. Can't imagine what for. 18th century tea partiers I suppose.
They also love to chirp that the 2nd Amendment keeps the government in check. You mean like George Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion? The armed citizens of Western Pennsylvania didn't want to pay taxes on their whiskey and rose in rebellion. The President called out the militia in short order and they took their guns and went home.

Posted by: roscym1 | August 5, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

So the solution to the problem of workplace shootings, GHF_LRLTD, is to have more guns in the workplace?

Posted by: simpleton1 | August 5, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

What law enforcement reforms came about as a result of Waco? Of Ruby Ridge? Would those reforms have still happened if those lunatics were unarmed, unable to initiate a standoff?

For better or for worse, an armed populace has moderated law enforcement policy and behavior every hour of every day since the country's inception. It's far from an empty score card.

Posted by: Bill64738 | August 5, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

A suggestion Mr. Toles. Why don't you start a scoreboard tallying the deaths from illegal immigrants? What recourse do those victims have? Who do their relatives seek compensation from? I guess the taxpayers.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 5, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

The gun person was an Active Shooter. He took his weapons there to settle scores with certain individuals and make a statement about the location itself. He would be in control until he decided to end the situation.

He knew the possibility of others being armed (zero), and fhat knowledge to plan what he was going to do. What would have been the outcome if (1) he knew a number of other workers were armed - and he could not take them all out before they could start to fight back OR (2) somebody in the place not expected by him to be armed took him on after the shooting started?

Scenaro 1 would have meant no deaths, and Scenaro 2 would have meant many less than 8 victims.

Posted by: GHF_LRLTD | August 5, 2010 2:57 AM | Report abuse

Oops I forgot? Wasn't King George III of England a tyrant Mr. Toles. The brave colonists of America defeated his armies and did it with the use of weapons that they possessed themselves mostly. Why is it that Liberals always forget the first rule of a tyrant? The first thing that a tyrant does when they seize power is to take the guns from the citizens. That is a fact. But the Left has never met a tyrant that they didn't at least admire in some ways. Hitler, Stalin, Tojo, Mao, Kim, Ceaucescu, Pol Pot, Castro, Chavez. All of them had ideas about society that the Left has admired. Their killing tens of millions of unarmed people is a big challenge when it comes to selling these guys though. The Left's only hope is the history books and their favorite ploy, revisionist history.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 5, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh No! Mr. Toles! The State of Missouri just passed Proposition C by over 71% of the vote! It says that ObamaCare is a no go in Missouri! How dare they! Quick Mr. Toles! Arrest Missouri! Oh and as far as your cartoon. I guess you want the deranged actions of crazed Union employees to control our rights guaranteed in the Constitution. After reading the Left wing tripe day in and day out in the Washington Post it could make even a staunch Conservative think twice about the First Amendment. Of course I would always defend the right of you and your comrades to continue the attacks on our Constitution with words. But just once it would be refreshing to read some new thoughts from the Left that defend other Amendments of our Grandest of documents, the Constitution of the United States of America, and not solely the First.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 5, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

....distract liberals Tom...distract liberals... "from the fact that their coal burning plants will be helping cook the planet." Guess you are too smart for them, but your fuzzy gun math don't quite match the fact there has been higher gun murder rates in DC and Chicago where they had gun bans. DC had to, with help from SCOTUS, start letting citizens exercise their legal gun ownership rights over two years ago and shazam the murder rate decreased by over 25%.

Posted by: carbonhog | August 4, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Tommy ol boy ... if you dont like the second amendment then work to have it repeales, dont just piss all over my constitutional right to own a firearm because it scares you.

And any time you want to relocate to China let me know ... I'll be at the airport to wish you a not so fond farewell.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | August 4, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Toles...Maybe "The Beat Goes On" would be more apropos, the S&C version.
As for "tyranny of dogma"....perhaps, tho I'm leaving out the 2nd ammendment on that one.

The future is indeed in China when it comes to all the industrial jobs the U.S. has lost, however, I personally would never drive UNDER a bus. We have tractors on the road that I could drive under....would I?? NOT!
I do have to agree with robots replacing the 'human' workforce tho I am sure that will eventually be "across the board" everywhere.

Now if you don't mind...I have chicken wings cooking on the grill which I have to attend to....Leave my summer cooking out of your angst. ok!?

Posted by: bertzel | August 4, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

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