This apology appeared at the top of the Bennington Banner website on Oct. 2. (image)

The Bennington Banner, a small Vermont newspaper, apologized Tuesday for publishing an editorial cartoon that depicted a pile of outstretched bodies and the caption “Whatever Happens in Vegas … ”

The cartoon’s caption was a play on the tourism slogan, “Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The news outlet’s president, Fredric Rutberg, said in a statement that the “decision to publish was made in haste” and “insensitive.”

A news release posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page said: “Our interpretation of Randall Enos’ cartoon was that little would be done with regard to gun control measures in the United States even after such an unprecedented tragedy. …We regret publishing the cartoon.”

Almost immediately after the cartoon appeared Monday, readers lashed out on social media, calling it “deplorable” and “disgusting.” Many people called for a boycott of the paper.

Adding to the anger was the fact that Sandy Casey, a native of nearby Dorset, Vt., was among the dozens of people killed in Las Vegas. Casey, 35, was a special-education teacher living in Redondo Beach, Calif., at the time of her death. She attended the Las Vegas concert with her fiance and a friend, the Burlington Free Press reported.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I) and Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont both offered public condolences to Casey’s family. Sanders tweeted: “Jane and I are deeply saddened to hear that Vermonter Sandy Casey was among the victims in Vegas. Our hearts are with her family & friends.”

Bennington Pizza House co-owner Joel Millington told ABC News 10 that Casey’s death made the newspaper’s cartoon seem all the more insensitive. It’s a point that Rutberg acknowledged in his apology.

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

The Bennington Banner’s apologetic Facebook post on Las Vegas cartoon. (Screen grab)

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