Accidents happen. Especially when old white guys decide to shoot at birds. People have taken numerous shots at Dick Cheney over his hunting mishap and frankly I think it's justified. I don't feel sorry for Cheney or Harry Whittington, the man Cheney shot. I'm not impressed with the type of hunting they were engaged in, which is a staged hunt where the birds are released right in front of the hunting party. It's the kind of thing rich old white men do so they can feel powerful and I don't like it. For that matter I never feel any sympathy for hunters who fall victim to hunting accidents. I don't oppose hunting, but I also don't have a problem with natural selection. Trust me when I tell you that the people we lose to hunting accidents aren't typically people who will be missed by the human race at large. Sorry.
What troubles me over this whole ordeal, and what should disturb everybody, is the complete lack of respect Cheney has shown for the American people and his president in this matter. I'm not naive. I know Cheney has no respect for anybody. He's an nasty little troll of a man who is probably the brains behind the entire Bush administration, but one would think that Cheney would be inclined to at least feign subordination once in a while...especially when he breaks the law. After all, he is the Vice President which means, as ridiculous as it sounds, he reports to George W. Bush. Yes, it brings to mind those Career Builder commercials where the monkeys are running the company, but we elected him...well not really, but it was still close.
When a shooting victim is first identified by the hospital police are immediately called to take statements from witnesses and the victim if the victim is capable of offering a statement. Once that ball starts rolling the story is public domain. In the Cheney case the police weren't immediately contacted and it was the owner of the hunting ranch who first mentioned the story to the local news paper. This upset a lot of people, including the local authorities who wondered why they weren't notified immediately. In fact, failing to notify the proper authorities immediately after such a shooting constitutes obstruction of justice. Will charges be filed?
Even though this was an accident and the victim should recover nicely, the fact remains that a man was hospitalized after being shot by the Vice President of the United States of America. As soon as Whittington was in good hands Cheney needed to call the President and the President needed to issue a statement. Period. There was no reason for the delay. Anything less than full disclosure in this matter gives the public reason to question the validity of the story.
Since there was a solid 24 buffer period between the time of the incident and when it was actually reported and the local police weren't able to conduct an investigation one can only assume that there's something that the Bush administration is not telling us. There had to be some reason that the story was kept under wraps for such a long period of time. What could it be?
My guess is alcohol. A sad reality in the hunting community is that a staggering number of hunters drink before, during and after the hunt. After isn't a big deal, but booze and bullets are never a healthy combination. When you read the limited details that were released it sure sounds as if Cheney's judgment might have been impaired. We're talking about a group of people shooting at a flock of farm-raised birds. Cheney probably knocked back one too many bourbons and forgot the 5 minute hunter safety lesson he received prior to being driven out to the covey where the birds were to be released. That would have been the lesson where they tell the hunters to shoot within a predetermined firing zone. By failing to notify the authorities immediately, Cheney was able to forgo the requisite alcohol screening that would have revealed if the shooting was indeed an unfortunate accident or the result of criminal negligence brought on by alcohol abuse.
Cheney took his sweet time getting around to issuing a statement, but one gets the impression that the statement was carefully written and painstakingly rehearsed. Cheney was caught in a tough spot with candor being the only way out, but why the delay? Why did Cheney refuse to come forward until four days after the shooting?
It's a good question, but the answer is obvious: Bush isn't calling the shots. This is Dick Cheney's White House and he runs the show. Unlike a real president, Cheney is in that unique position of being able to show the press and the public complete disdain. He comes and goes as he pleases, says and does what he likes and there's nothing we can do about it because he's not the president...officially anyway. In the past, Presidents have demanded that their Vice Presidents toe the line and represent the administration in a positive light, but not Cheney. Dick's been a mean old bastard from day one and Bush has done absolutely nothing to rein him in. It's quite clear who wears the pants in this family and that doesn't bode well for this country. Case in point: Iraq. Weren't we supposed to be finished with that little endeavor by now?
I wouldn't be surprised if it is eventually revealed that Dick Cheney shot Whittington just to prove that he could get away with shooting a man. Cheney knew that the last V.P. to bust a cap in somebody was Aaron Burr and decided it was time to make a little history. Hey Harry! Here come the judge, here come the judge. POW!