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Claytoonz: Independence Day guns — Well ain't that America?

Claytoonz: Independence Day guns — Well ain't that America?

When I grew up, Chevrolet had an advertisement that America was “baseball, hotdogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.” It was catchy and it worked. America is all of those things and much more… like racism, oppression, inequality, an economic system of the haves and have-nots… and mass shootings.

The gun massacre at Highland Park yesterday during a Fourth of July parade seems kinda horribly appropriate. The nation isn’t really that shocked. It’s also not surprising that the shooter is probably a Trumper who’s been spotted attending at least one Trump rally dressed as Where’s Waldo (which I’ve actually put in cartoons in the past. I’m buying a lottery ticket later today).

Yesterday, the National Rifle Association tweeted, “The only reason you’re celebrating Independence Day is because citizens were armed.” A short time later, they tweeted the same point again, “We are a country because of brave souls with guns who valued and fought for liberty and freedom,” accompanied by a gif of a head-turning bald eagle. America, goddammit.

If you failed history then you probably believe the “only” reason you’re celebrating Independence Day is because a bunch of farmers has flintlock muskets, but in reality, our independence from Great Britain, at least for the white colonists, is based on a lot of complicated factors. Since the NRA wants to focus on guns, let’s start there. It’s estimaged that 90 percent of American troops carried guns supplied by France and were entirely dependent upon that nation for gunpowder. We did NOT win the Revolutionary War solely on private gun ownership.

When the Second Amendent was written, bullets weren’t even invented yet, and neither had Ak-47s and AR-15s.

Another fun inconvenient fact is that the new gun law bill President Biden signed into law last week wouldn’t have done a damn thing to even slow Highland Park shooter down from purchasing his assault rifle, which according to reports, he purchased legally.

Hell, Kyle Rittenhouse purchased his gun illegally yet there was no prosecution of that. This nation has accepted assault weapons to the point that nobody, including the cops, questioned a 17-year-old kid stomping around playing Rambo in the streets of downtown Kenosha with an AR-15 late at night. Even after Kyle shot three people, the cops waved him by.

When white supremacist Dylann Roof was arrested after murdering nine people with a gun in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, the cops took him alive and to Burger King.

Yesterday's shooter was also taken alive. Remember, unarmed Jayland Walker was killed by eight cops after they fired at least 60 bullets into his body. Jayland was black. Ain’t that America?

Mass shootings in churches, public schools, movie theaters, concerts, and parades will keep being a part of America as long as Republicans and the NRA keep assault rifles available to the public.

America is under assault and we prioritized assault weapons over lives, including those of children, a long time ago. Pro-life my ass.

You can’t compare our gun culture to any other nation. Republicans and other assorted gun fetishists try, but they always leave out a crucial detail. Nobody has a gun culture like we do. Nobody worships death machines the way we do.

And ain’t that America? All the pink houses are bullet-ridden.

Clay Jones is the 2022 recipient of the RFK Human Rights Journalism Award in Editorial Cartooning, and won a 2021 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. He was a finalist for the Herblock Prize in 2019 and a finalist for the National Headliner Award in 2020. See more award-winning editorial cartoons from him at

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