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Vermont newspaper ignites online furor with this offensive Las Vegas shooting cartoon

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A Vermont newspaper is apologizing after publishing a highly offensive cartoon depicting the deaths from the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Bennington Banner, a newspaper published in Vermont, was excoriated on social media over a highly offensive cartoon they published that seemingly makes a joke out of the victims of the horrible Las Vegas massacre.

What did they publish?

Here's the cartoon as it is being passed around on social media:

The cartoon depicts crudely drawn bodies of the victims of the attack strewn on the ground, with the caption, "WHATEVER HAPPENS IN VEGAS..."

The caption is an apparent reference to the tourism advertising slogan, "Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

What was the reaction to this cartoon?

People were understandably offended by the cartoon, which seemed not to have any redeeming editorial point other than to mock the event that has horrified the entire nation.

How did the newspaper respond?

The president of New England Newspapers Inc. offered an apology for the cartoon Tuesday.

"Dear Reader," the statement began. "On Tuesday, the Banner published a cartoon that many people, including me, found to be insulting and in bad taste. We regret and apologize for publishing the cartoon."

"The decision to publish was made in haste," he explained. "We are addressing the matter internally."

"The gravity of our error in judgment was magnified by the fact that one of victims of the unspeakable horror was a native of Dorset, whose family and friends must have been particularly offended by this cartoon," he continued.

"As the president of the company," the statement concluded, "the responsibility for the grievous error is mine, and I apologize to the entire Bennington community that the Banner was so insensitive."

The massacre took 59 lives, injured hundreds, and is considered the worst mass shooting attack in modern U.S. history.

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