Cartoonists and Security


This won’t come as much of a surprise, but cartoonists aren’t real good at security.

We just got back from a visit to San Diego where thirteen cartoonists visited the troops and wounded warriors at the Naval Medical Center. It was great.

We had some security problems.

Actually, just one of us did.

I won’t name him (for his OWN security, since he is about to attend the annual Reuben Awards – like the Oscars only with goofy drawings – and they’ll be on him like a school of Piranhas on raw meat if this gets out). Plus I think there might be money in this for me if I keep my trap shut. I CAN say that he is in this picture:

(Hint: It’s not GI Joe)

The first time security nabbed him was at the gate of the Naval Station. He, being a tourist, thought it would be a good idea to take pictures of the main gate. The gate guards disagreed. According to sources on his bus, he was pulled out of the vehicle and interrogated before being allowed to proceed.

Then he got caught taking pictures outside the Naval Hospital. A security guard caught him that time.

He felt pretty bad, and maybe worse when I forgot to introduce him for his presentation during the Navy/Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress conference, but he took it in stride and drew a ton of pictures for the troops. If he didn’t get put on a no-fly list, he is home by now and no doubt happy he went.

I should have been expecting this, since we have had other incidents before. A couple of years ago, on our way to Iraq via Kuwait, we were warned to keep our final destination to ourselves to avoid being questioned more thoroughly by security at the Frankfurt airport. All but one of us did just fine. The one who didn’t ended up getting a pat down.

On another trip, one of the cartoonists lost his ticket halfway home. It happened to be in London, so it may have been an attempt to stick around for awhile, but nevertheless it caused trouble.

In yet another visit to Iraq, one of the cartoonists got lost in Chuville (an area full of Containerized Housing Units), and was called out by the roving patrol. When asked where he was supposed to be, the cartoonist answered, “Philadelphia.”

And finally, right about the time we sent a group to Afghanistan last year, violence and insurrection broke out all over the Middle East.

Coincidence? I don’t know, but if I were you I would check before booking your next overseas vacation and find out where the cartoonists are.

It shouldn’t be too hard to find them. Just look for the flashing red and blue lights.


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