Other Opinions: Cheney shot himself in foot with hunting mishap
If the Bush administration didn't have enough trouble trying to define a legacy for the Bush years, leave it to Vice President Dick Cheney allow an association with Vice President Aaron Burr, who on July 11,1804, fatally wounded Alexander Hamilto...
If the Bush administration didn't have enough trouble trying to define a legacy for the Bush years, leave it to Vice President Dick Cheney allow an association with Vice President Aaron Burr, who on July 11,1804, fatally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel with pistols at 10 paces over differing political philosophies.
Vice President Cheney, however, didn't shoot in anger, or in disagreement, with anyone. He shot a man thinking the man was a bird. Or that the man got in the bird's way. Or that the bird got in the man's way.
In any event, Vice President Cheney's hunting accident on Saturday in which he accidentally shot a member of his hunting party, prominent Republican attorney Harry Whittington, 78, on a Texas game farm, poses two problems. One is the accident itself and the other is the apparent delay in 'fessing up.
According to accounts of the incident, Cheney and Whittington were hunting quail with several others when the vice president tracked on a covey of birds. Meanwhile, Whittington was approaching the group from behind with a recovered bird, and happened to be in the line of fire when Cheney swung around on a bird and let loose, sending birdshot in Whittington's face, neck and chest at about 30 yards.
Thankfully, because Cheney is the vice president, medical staff were on hand and Whittington received quick treatment and evacuation to a hospital, where he is under treatment and Tuesday suffered a "silent heart attack" as a pellet still lodged in his heart moved.
Everyone was wearing orange. Anyone who hunts knows Cardinal Rule No. 1 -- always, always, always know what you're shooting at before pulling the trigger. Even if Whittington hadn't said anything, an experienced hunter would not have pulled down on the hammer with blaze orange at the end of the barrel.
Does that mean the vice president, who is 65, should no longer hunt? Maybe, maybe not. But it does raise serious questions about hunter safety and the need to be retested or at least restrict licenses to those who have "blundered," such as the vice president. A good role model for the safe use of firearms the vice president does not make.
Secondly, with the Bush administration gaining the legacy of one of the most secretive presidencies in decades, and with a vice president who seemingly does what he wants to do when he wants and out of the limelight, that it took a "leak" to get the shooting story out a day later only adds to that legacy.
What was done was serious, and it should have been made public as soon as practicable, not leaked to the media. The way the release was handled only underscores the secrecy plaguing the administration and the vice president's loose-cannon-on-deck independence.
Whittington may have got the birdshot, but the vice president shot himself in the foot.
-- Bemidji Pioneer