Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: Assault and Peppered .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Assault and Peppered

I know that this news item has been done to death (correction: I'm told the issue is now in stable condition, but still in ICU), but I can't resist getting my potshots in. Dick Cheney, aside from helping send thousands of American soldiers to their deaths in Iraq, normally only shoots himself in the foot.

Now it's also well-known that he also shoots small, farm-raised birds and his friends that accompany him. After emerging from his vehicle, and accompanied by his secret service entourage, he was tracking a coven of quail with his weapon and let loose just as his friend came into the path of the shotgun blast.

Apparently, his 78 year old victim and friend, Austin attorney Harry Whittington, was retrieving some previously shot quail and didn't bother to announce his return to the hunting group.

Although Cheney didn't report the shooting, once it hit the press he blamed Whittington for getting in the line of fire. Whittington should have announced himself. "Hey Dick! I'm not a bird in an orange vest. It's me, remember! I was just here".

Cheney also blamed the incident on the sun being in his eyes. I always thought that was one of the primary rules in gun safety - If you can't see, don't pull the trigger. But what do I know? I'm not a member of the NRA.

Whittington is a well-seasoned fundraiser for the Republican party. Well, maybe not well-seasoned enough, since Cheney felt the need to pepper him - with birdshot.

Cheney stands behind his decision to shoot at what he thought were quail, because all intelligence at the time pointed toward quail being in his line of fire. And in response to questions about reporting the incident, White House spokeslemming Scott McClellan informs us that by talking about it now, we're letting the quail know that we're hunting them. This is paramount to giving aid and comfort to the enemy. And if we continue, the quail win.

Whittingham, in the meantime, is currently undergoing tweezer therapy, although there will still be many pellets imbedded in his face, neck and torso, and still won't comment. I guess that's a small price to pay to maintain party loyalty. And boy, does he have some favors coming.

When asked why there was no official announcement of the event from the White House, McClellan waivered:

The White House did not inform the national media of the accident, but the vice president’s office confirmed the story after journalists called to ask about the report on the Caller-Times Web site nearly 24 hours after the shooting.

On Monday, McClellan faced a combative press corps asking why the delay in disclosure took place and asking why it was announced by a private citizen rather than the White House or Cheney's office.

"That's one way to provide information to the public," McClellan said.

"I think you can always look back at these issues and look at how to do a better job," he added.


Sounds like their response to many issues, including Katrina. I guess when you have a boss like Bush, the bar gets set pretty low.

Whittington, who had raised a lot of money for the Republican Party in Texas, was rewarded for his efforts by then-Governor Bush with a seat on the Texas Funeral Service Commission.

So what have we learned from this little episode?

  • Guns don't kill people; Dick Cheney does (or could, if given the proper ammunition).
  • It's a good thing they didn't trust him with anything deadlier that training-wheel bird-shot.
  • What our government response will be to "avian flew".
  • If your face is full of pellets, it's better to shut up than lose your coveted political appointment.
  • If friends of the administration get blasted for getting in the way of their leaders' blind pursuits, what chance does the average American have?

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