Two weeks ago – a week that was one of the worst in recent American history, the small town of West, Texas – about 20 miles north of Waco, was devastated when a fertilizer plant exploded – killing 15, wounding dozens and flattening buildings in the surrounding area.

In response, last week The Sacramento Bee ran an editorial cartoon by Jack Ohman depicting Texas Gov. Rick Perry exclaiming ‘Business is Booming in Texas’ beside an image of a fiery explosion. You can see the cartoon here.

To say the cartoon lacks taste is an insult to the tasteless. To make light of a tragedy that took the lives of more than a dozen people – most of them first responders running into a burning building – shows a shocking lack of judgment on the part of the Bee’s editorial board.

Editors by definition determine what does, and doesn’t make it into the daily broadsheet. It is incumbent upon them to decide whether a given piece is worthy of publication.

Did this cartoon tell a story that needed to be told? Or was it a cheap shot from a newspaper than spends more time covering the ongoing drama of the Sacramento Kings than why California’s infrastructure and education are rapidly sinking toward the nation’s worst?

Like him or not, Jack Ohman is supposed to be the newspaper’s shock jock. That’s what the unique people who pen editorial cartoons are supposed to do – from the time of Thomas Nast to Herblock – they take major issues of the day and apply the stiletto rather than the broadsword.

But in this case, Ohman, and the Bee writ large, were really just playing nanny-nanny-boo-boo with the Lone Star State and Gov. Perry; at the expense of a little town on I-35.

Perry has made no secret of his desire to draw business out of high-tax, high regulation California to business-friendly Texas. There must be something to it because Austin specifically, and Texas generally are growing by leaps and bounds. Imagine it – a state where people move in – instead of out.

He’s made several trips west from Austin, and even run a smattering of radio commercials inviting businesses to give Texas a longer look. This caused no small amount of heartburn among Gov. Jerry Brown and California’s leaders.

And because the Sacramento Bee is the house organ for California’s ‘more, bigger, less efficient government is better’ ethos, they apparently they felt the need to respond, and this cartoon was their best offering.

Making the drive between Dallas and Austin, I’ve passed West more times than I can remember. I’ve lived in Sacramento two different times. Both are nice places, with people fiercely proud of their towns. The people of California’s capital city deserve better from their daily.

They deserve a paper that shows some sort of judgment and at least a modicum of class. Last week the Bee showed it lacks both. Indeed, the Bee should heavily cover the ongoing contest between the country’s two largest states – it might even bring some sanity back to California.

For now, I hope the editors and Mr. Ohman reflect a bit. They’ve had more recognition this week than anytime recently, was this how they wanted to receive it? Did they stop to think about the cops, fire fighters and citizens that are forever changed by the events in a small Texas town? Probably not.

In the meantime, please get back to drawing cartoons about the fat cat lobbyists and politicians you claim to despise but from whom you probably get your best information. At least there you’ve got a leg to stand on.