Just in case you were wondering, it's been FOUR days since the Vice President of the United States shot a man in the face, neck and chest, and still no public accounting and acceptance of responsibility from him. Nada. Zip. Zero.
Still hiding behind Mary Matalin's and Katherine Armstrong's skirts -- allowing them to take all the media heat, along with Scotty McClellan, who faced another round of peppering from a still-pissed press corps, who seem to be sick of being lied to by this White House.
I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise, seeing that it is Dick Cheney and all...but still, what kind of message is that sending to the kids in this country?
"Go ahead and shoot your friends. Then blame them for getting in the way of the shot, and have a female friend deal with the press for you so you can hide behind her skirts and never have to accept any responsibility. Ever."
How is the WH dealing with this mess? Apparently, the President, his Press Secretary and his staff have decided that when Dick Cheney shoots a man in the face, neck and chest with a shotgun, it's a laughing matter for the formal WH staff. Including the President.
Nice. Really great example to set for young people. Next time I speak to my police and prosecutorial buddies, I'll ask them how much fun it is to have to deal with the "Well, Dick Cheney did it, and didn't do any jail time." defense in a reckless endangerment or improper control of firearms case. Really, oh so helpful for law enforcement. Idiots.
Why not ask the Whittington family, with the patriarch just out of three days in the ICU and still in the hospital with more than 200 pellets in his system -- some of which could travel through his bloodstream at any time now and block blood vessels in his brain -- how funny they find this incident. Did I mention that Cheney shot him in the face, neck and chest? Any idea how dangerous that is? Or painful. But the WH has decided to just laugh it off.
No more personal responsibility lectures from any of these people. That's just pathetic.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, hunters across the country, not just here at FDL, are saying that Cheney violated the cardinal rule of hunting: look before you ever touch the trigger. See that photo above -- that's what two people hunting in blaze orange look like in Texas brush. Think that blaze orange vest and hat are difficult to see?
One of our commenters asked yesterday how, if Cheney couldn't see Whittington because of the sun in his eyes (you know, the sun at right before sunset...), how it was that he felt comfortable firing off a round at a "bird"? I mean, quail are very small, if he couldn't see a six foot tall man, how the hell was he going to be tracking a quail? The whole story stinks. Period.
Paul Begala sums up a lot of what I've been hearing from hunters around here and in my e-mail.
Ms. Armstrong says Whittington should have announced himself upon approaching Cheney. That is right. At the same time, Cheney, as a shooter, has an obligation to be aware at all times of the whereabouts of the dogs (who don't announce themselves) his fellow hunters, the guides, dog handlers, etc. I've been on hunting parties of ten men, and it's the obligation of the shooters to know where each of them is, and to be sure they are safe. Cheney knew Whittington was chasing a bird. If he could not see Whittington, if he was not 100 percent sure of his whereabouts, he should not have taken a shot. No bird is worth it.Taylor has a great post wondering whether it is possible that Cheney and Whittington were a helluva lot closer than 30 yards. And she does some physics experiments to check it out.
In sum, even from Ms. Armstrong's whitewashed account, it sounds to me like Cheney was not being safe....
While hunting accidents do happen, this one may have been avoidable - if Mr. Cheney and his companions had been less trigger-happy and more prudent.
I'll say it again -- this "story" from Katherine Armstrong doesn't pass the smell test. Not for me, not for most of America. And the fact that police officers were prevented from meeting directly with the Vice President until the next day raises enormous investigative red flags in my mind: no on scene, immediate statement, which any other person in America would have had to give. No on scene personal observation by the officer, which any other person in America would have had to undergo, including no doubt a breathalyzer or blood test or other checks on intoxication possibilities, list of medications taken (because that can substantially impair judgment or sight, depending on the list). No immediate observation of demeanor or other information that a smart investigative cop knows to do. Nada. Zip. Zero.
Take a hike until it's convenient for Dick, and to hell with following the rules like everyone else. Nice. Great example to set for the nation, there, Trigger.
Four days and counting. No accountability. I'm watching you, Dick. And I'm not letting up until you stand up like a man and take responsibility for your poor judgment.
You owe it to kids in this country to be a real man and take your lumps. Every other citizen in this country would have to take responsibility for shooting a man in the face, neck and chest -- you don't get a pass any longer. Take responsibility for your own actions.