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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Cartoonist need not justify satire

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Cartoonist need not justify satire

2019 Letters to the editor stock

In response to the recent piece critical of a satirical image of a badge created by cartoonist Clay Bennett with the wording "Judge, Jury and Executioner" which appeared in The Times Forum page on April 18, the writer took offense to Bennett’s image of the “badge” and insisted that Bennett, show “the evidence/facts that support this statement.”

Bennett’s work was obviously satire, which by dictionary definition defines the purpose of satire as “its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.”

Bennett is a highly acclaimed American editorial cartoonist who received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. Bennett has no obligation whatsoever to “show evidence in support of his evidence/facts that support this statement.” The words "Judge, Jury and Executioner" on the badge were obviously in reference to the many recent police killings of people around the country, notably the killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck while handcuffed behind his back and laying on the street.

Chauvin was convicted of murder, and there have been many other instances of police needlessly shooting and killing people. Only the naïve would believe that there is no social justice problem regarding the excessive use of deadly force by police. Nobody is suggesting that all police are bad, but nobody in their right mind could possibly argue that there isn’t a serious problem with out-of-control rogue police that warrants substantial police reforms.

The Chauvin murder trial showed us that there is a lot of work to be done in the area of dealing with out-of-control police who are out there needlessly killing people in violation of their own department’s excessive force policies. Bennett rightfully reminded us that there is a serious problem with the mentality of the "Judge, Jury and Executioner" mindset of many rogue police.

Brian Vukadinovich, Wheatfield


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