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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What Happens in Texas Hunting Accidents If You're Hispanic?

This is what the State of Texas thinks of hunting accidents that injure innocent people if your surname happens to be Hispanic and you're not the big, white boozehound Vice President of the United States:
An undocumented Mexican immigrant was shot and killed Sunday evening in an apparent hunting accident on a Webb County ranch owned by the family of former U.S. diplomat John G. Hurd.

"The illegals were crouching out in the brush. They said they mistook this guy for a hog," said Webb County Sheriff Juan Garza....

Juan Garza Mendoza, 34, an employee of the ranch, was charged Monday with manslaughter, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison....

Mendoza had apparently hit Barrera Vasquez while shooting at a feral hog, and immediately contacted authorities after the shooting, Hurd said.

Sheriff Garza said interviews with three of the victim's Mexican traveling companions and the others in the ranch hunting party led him to rule out anything but an accidental shooting.

"They mistakenly shot a human being," he said. "It's reckless. It's inexcusable."
Mendoza was indicted for manslaughter but the district attorney eventually dropped the charges in favor of a civil suit. The court found the ranch owner was liable to the tune of $20 million in the case. No wonder Katharine Armstrong was so anxious to have the Texas Parks and Wildlive Division (of which she was the former Chairman) come out and give Dick a pass on the whole thing, saying no alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident -- although there is no indication that they interviewed and/or tested Cheney or anyone else involved in the matter in a timely fashion.

(hat tip to Fred Vincy at Stone Court)

Update: Dan Abrams is on MSNBC giving Cheney a pass, saying that "The Vice President didn't do anything wrong" and finding nothing irregular about the fact that he was not interviewed by law enforcement officials for 15 hours after the incident. Is Abrams the amazing Kreskin or something? How would he, or anyone, know that "the Vice President didn't do anything wrong" -- especially since Armstrong is now backtracking on her story:
"There may be a beer or two in there," she said, 'but remember not everyone in the party was shooting.'"
These are the questions you should be asking, Dan.

Update II: The beer quote seems to now be scrubbed from the MSNBC site, though you can still see it cached in the Google abstract.

Update III: Remember this isn't the first scrubbing we've found in this matter. To their credit CBS PublicEye addressed it here, though the reporter's explanation is something less than satisfactory.