Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Riding shotgun

By now everybody knows that Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter Saturday. Harry Whittington was shot at fairly close range — he took over 200 pellets to the face, neck, and torso. And Whittington contributed to both Bush/Cheney campaigns!

The initial spin (from the ranch owner, a big-time Republican fundraiser) tried to blame Whittington, saying he snuck up on Cheney from behind. That explanation doesn't wash for two reasons. First, you're supposed to approach shooters from behind because you certainly don't want to approach from the direction they'll be shooting in. Second, the hunter has an absolute responsibility to know where he's pointing his gun (hint: not at other hunters).

This incident isn't really a big deal. Cheney won't even have to pay a fine, unlike Bush did when he shot a killdeer in 1994 (That's because lawyers aren't a protected species.). Mostly, it's an excuse for good, mean jokes: Steve Gilliard reports on Cheney's other hunts; and The Angry Sicilian points out ten ways Dick Cheney can kill you without a gun.

The shooting incident isn't a big deal, but a couple of things around it are. First, it reinforces the Bush administration's "ready, fire, aim" approach to problem-solving. More importantly, it underlines the Bushies' penchant for secrecy. Michael Froomkin points out that Cheney took much longer to talk to the law than Teddy Kennedy did after the the Chappaquiddick accident. Steve Benen says

I'm hardly the type to give these guys the benefit of the doubt, but I wasn't the least bit suspicious about the incident until the White House started dissembling. Leave it to the Bush gang to take a story in which the Vice President shot a guy and make it look worse.


Anonymous muddymo said...

From White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan: "protocol was not followed by Mr. Whittington when it came to notifying others that he was there. And so, you know, unfortunately, these types of hunting accidents happen from time to time."

Isn't it always the shooter's responsibility to make certain the line of fire is clear?

I am going out on a limb here and presuming Wittington has done quite a bit of hunting. I mean, only the upper crust ever make it out on Katie Armstrong's patch of heaven, dontcha think? All these boys have probably been shooting their great grandad's Franchi since before they were old enough to bully the hired help. So, to think Wittington was doing something so completely and totally asinine or unexpected that it relieves Cheney of responsiblity seems far fetched.

Hey, accidents happen, we know that. If Dick wants to live up to his --cough, cough-- straight shooter image, he ought to stand up and take responsibility.

Could be a bright side for the NRA, though. If Cheney keeps shooting Republicans, maybe the Democrats will back off of gun control.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Angry Sicilian said...

Cheney is just so evil :)

12:30 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

That's a great closing quote. But, like so many things, I fear people will soon forget, and return to the land of Oz.

After several days of writer's block on this, I finally blogged on it today (Lord Voldemort's phoenix hunting accident).

11:14 PM  

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