The Deadly Dangers of Political Cartooning or How My Cartoons Committed Murder

I’VE NEVER KILLED ANYONE. And while Mark Twain said the same thing he also said that he had, “however, read certain obituaries with no small satisfaction.” (Maybe that was Oscar Wilde.) Anyway…I don’t even recall deriving any satisfaction from any obituaries, either. But the same can no longer be said about my cartoons. They have committed murder. At least it was negligent homicide. A brief explanation follows.

A good friend, Sgt. Russ, is a survivor of open heart surgery at the local hospital (which has an excellent reputation in the cardiac surgery area, so if you need a “heart zipper” get it there…here). In appreciation, Russ does volunteer work among the cardio-surgical patients in the cardio ward. He invited me a few months ago to visit some cardio-surgical patients and do their portraits. Just for grins.

So one morning Sarge called me (you gotta’ meet this guy…a farm boy with the farmer’s tan, tall, thin, salt and pepper hair, cut in a high and tight flat top and a perpetual grin…he is the spitting image of my Dad…although he outranked my daddy, also an Army sergeant) and asked me to go by the cardio un it and look in on a patient fresh from surgery. A woman, which was unusual. I had never seen a female in the ward before. I arrived at the nurses’ station and spoke to the (head?) nurse, a guy whose portrait I had done before. (A big burly friendly guy…less cute than most of the nurses…is that sexist?) (I’m just kidding…about asking…I don’t care whether it’s sexist or not…all this political correctness crap is gonna’ get us all beheaded…look at eastern Europe and the recent migration of millions of military aged young men…not a woman, old guy or child among them…the part is just getting started…but I digress.) Big and Burly said it was OK to visit and explained the necessaries. The room was just a few feet from his station. I was a little daunted about just walking in and introducing myself and began to think it was a stupid idea in Russ’s absence…with his OSHA green volunteer’s vest.

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I poked my gruesome head into the room and around a curtain and introduced myself, quickly mentioning Russ’s name…at which the puzzled expression on her face disappeared. To my relief a smile replaced her initial frown. I couldn’t tell if she had been reaching for the pain meds button or the emergency call button. Anyway, she told me about her recent medical adventure and while she did that, I did her portrait. I don’t think she really understood what I was drawing. A better looking nurse (than Big Burly) had come in and provided a clip board, which made drawing easier (which you probably don’t realize is really hard work). The portrait turned out as one of my best Cardio-Ward portraits. She really liked it and just as I had finished her hubby and son came in with her doctor, which I took as my official cue to get lost. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.


As a background to how dangerous drawing can be I must tell you about another story of drawing and surgery. I met a clerk in Clark County District Court once who was a tough dame. Or seemed such. She was tall and formidable looking. At least until she smiled, which was almost constantly. (If you are unhappy with what God has given you in the Looks Department, conceal your supposed shortcomings with a big smile. No one else will notice.) Anyway, this Clerk bumped into me in a restaurant a few years after our initial meeting and told me she had liked the portrait I did of her at our initial introduction, but had noticed something she didn’t like and had gone under the knife to correct. I realized the pen may be mightier than the sword…and may even lead to the scalpel. Serious responsibility…and you thought I was just screwin’ around. (Her boss was the Judge who hears temporary protective petitions. But he’s a completely different story…being from Chicago and always wearing cowboy boots… an ominous combination.

But back to the cardio patient. She had told me she was a Christian and that her sins were under the Blood of the Maker of Heaven and Earth, so she had no worries. She seemed fine when I exited behind the curtain. But Russ called me a few days later and explained how a few hours after I had gone she slumped down in the same chair she had occupied when I unceremoniously waltzed in. She had died. But as she had explained, God is always in control and just as she had slumped over in her chair a nurse had walked from behind the same curtain I had ruffled and immediately RECOGNIZED THE SITUATION. The crew came right in and administered the paddles and she revived. But, I think she died again later and the same tireless crew came back and revived her again. She’s at home now recuperating. God’s plans for our lives trump our own …and those of the Reaper.

As I pondered this curious incident it occurred to me that maybe the strain of seeing my drawing (or just looking at me) had been too much. So now that I know how powerful my drawings are I have decided to offer my services to Obama in order to defeat Evil in the Middle East. So…if you talk to him anytime soon, tell him I’m available. And if you are in doubt about the power of drawing cartoons, just ask Boss Tweed about a guy named Thos. Nast. (You thought Mr. Nast had only invented how Santa Clause looks.)

Please see a cartoon which will follow later about how ISIS kicked the crap out of a full division of Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops…who the Ayatollahs have assured the World could annihilate America’s entire military in a week and the Israeli Defense Force in a mere day. And these same clowns are the same jerks Obama and admiral “Ketchup” Kerry just gave away the nuclear store to. Is there anybody this Administration doesn’t fear?


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Stephen Bowers

Stephen Bowers

I am an attorney in Las Vegas who has always wanted to draw political cartoons, partly because I like drawing, but mostly because I enjoy ridiculing pompous know-nothings. Verbally debating them gets nowhere. They don't know they're beaten. But poking fun at them in a drawing leaves them without recourse or rebuttal. What can they do...? Call me names, whine, cuss me ... or maybe draw a witty riposte? Unlikely.
Steve Bowers, Esq.

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