I think this is the first time I've ever had a post requested by phone. And definitely the first time I've written one while a pair of figure skaters dance around to an airy rendition of "Mack the Knife" that would make more sense were the song not Mack the Knife.
Anyway. More with the weapons.
As you've all undoubtedly heard by now, the vice president kinda sorta shot a guy. I've heard a lot of terms that appear to be slight euphemisms for shooting a guy in the face and chest, including "peppered," "sprayed" and whatever else you can come up with to lighten the fact that the VP fired a shot gun at a man.
Did he mean to? Absolutely not. No one's contending that. Not being a hunter myself, my understanding is that this is relatively common (though certainly not something one expects when they sign up for quail hunting), but it's not like the VP did something no one's done before. Whittington stayed back (a no no in quail hunting according to Explainer, which clarifies the standard practice of walking three abreast while you're shooting things), and when Cheney saw some quail fly overhead, he turned to where they were flying (which happened to be where Whittington was looking for a quail that had been shot) and pulled the trigger, hitting Whittington. The owner of the land claims it's more or less all Whittington's fault, which isn't the case here. It was an accident, and there's no shame in admitting that yes, Cheney might not have had the best hunting sense about him when he pulled the trigger. The guy lived, and is expected to be fine (and gets to honestly claim to have been shot by a sitting vice president, which has got to be some kind of honor and proof of how tough as nails you can be as a 78 year old lawyer). But placing all of the blame on the guy who was shot isn't right either. Neither he nor Cheney was being Captain McSafety here. Why pretend Cheney had no fault in the matter? It's clearly not as though Cheney runs around middle America shooting everything in sight, or even as though he's not a perfectly safe hunter. But why not say "Hey, I made a mistake. He's ok. We're done here."
It'd be a non-issue if Cheney's people (not the White House, as Scott McClellan is quick to point out) didn't wait as long as they did to tell anyone about it. It took a full day for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times to get on it, and they were before the rest of the nation? Is this the same country where we're constantly obsessing over which "I'm too young to be a has been, aren't I?" celebrity will be leading the Mardi Gras parade in a partially revived New Orleans and still, after how long, give a damn what Jennifer Aniston thinks about the end of her relationship with Brad Pitt (the divorce was finalized in October of last year)? Had Cheney come out an hour or two after the incident (after taking the understandable time to make sure his friend was ok after such a terrible accident) and simply said "There's been a hunting accident. Everyone's ok, and we'll keep you posted with how this guy is doing. I'm going to go somewhere now," that'd have been the end of it.
I just don't see why they felt the need not to tell anyone, I guess. The guy's ok, Cheney should pay whatever penalty the state of Texas lodges against this kind of stuff (evidently he's being warned for failing to buy a $7 stamp, which is more or less irrelevant), and use this as a message to hunters to be really remarkably safe when there are other people about.
So. Long story short:
Cheney shot a man in Texas. The man's ok. That's good. Why all the blaming the man (who definitely deserves his share) and no blaming the guy with the gun? Also, why the coverup for such non-news that'll get buried beneath what sippy cup Angelina Jolie buys in preparation for her kid anyway? Say you made a mistake, however common it might be, and tell hunters to not shoot each other.
And no, Michelle Malkin, I don't believe "the biography of a man who has served this country so well and so honorably for so many years will be overshadowed by a single, ill-fated hunting mishap." That's rather remarkably speculative, no? It'll pass. Now is not the time to start speculating about overshadowing that hasn't happened yet.
UPDATE: Whittington had a minor heart attack after some bird shot entered his heart. The Tribune is speculating as to why they might have waited while hunters criticize Cheney for shooting before he knew what was beyond his target.
EDIT: As I said, figure skating's on. You can completely crash into the wall and almost break your leg and still get a silver medal? What kind of crap sport is this? Good for Michelle Kwan for getting the hell out of this wacky, wacky world of "It doesn't matter if you completely screw up everything. You get a medal."