By now, you've heard the story many times over, no doubt. What you may NOT have heard, however, is how the White House first tried to delay, then later downplay the story, finally outright lying about it -- understating the severity of the incident:
[Ranch owner Katherine Armstrong] told reporters that the small shotgun pellets "broke the skin" and that the blast "knocked him silly. But he was fine. He was talking. His eyes were open. It didn't get in his eyes or anything like that."
"Fortunately, the vice president has got a lot of medical people around him and so they were right there and probably more cautious than we would have been," she said. "The vice president has got an ambulance on call, so the ambulance came."
Turns out the 78-year-old Harry Whittington had to be airlifted to an intensive care unit after being SHOT IN THE FACE, where he is listed as "stable" after three days.
The most important element of this story isn't the alleged accident itself; one could almost feel as sorry for the shooter as the victim (almost), were it not for the characteristic coverup and lying. And, as Firedoglake points out, there's a few... ODD details about the story. Having been trained to use an M-16 by the Army, I have to agree that wheeling around to fire blindly in the direction of your "friendlies" is hardly normal gun protocol.
But - big surprise - it also turns out Cheney likes to engage in the most sadistic forms of "hunting" -- forms either outright illegal or looked upon as immoral and ugly by most hunters: he prefers to shoot at birds as they're released en masse from cages, and to kill them in apallingly excessive numbers, with the wide spread of shotgun pellets. How charmingly sporting of him.
While I hate to engage in speculation, preferring only to post what can be verified with documentation and the most ironclad of corroboration, let's face it folks, it's not too difficult to imagine this distasteful old draft-dodging warmonger and champion of state torture enjoying front-row seats at the Roman circuses, shouting in excitement as the soldiers and wild animals tore each other to pieces.
Quote of the Day: "At five o'clock I looked in on him, and found him seemingly as happy and contented as he used to be. He was catching flies and eating them, and was keeping note of his capture by making nailmarks on the edge of the door between the ridges of padding. When he saw me, he came over and apologized for his bad conduct, and asked me in a very humble, cringing way to be led back to his own room, and to have his notebook again. I thought it well to humour him, so he is back in his room with the window open. He has the sugar of his tea spread out on the window sill, and is reaping quite a harvest of flies. He is not now eating them, but putting them into a box, as of old, and is already examining the corners of his room to find a spider. " -- Bram Stoker
Update: Crooks and Liars has posted a link to the Texas Parks and Wildlife hunter education website which lists, among others, the following gun safety rules:
Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
Control the direction of the muzzle at all times. Do not point a firearm or bow at anything you do not intend to shoot.
Be sure of your target and what is in front of and beyond your target.
Before you pull the trigger you must properly identify game animals. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it. Use binoculars! Know what is in front of and behind your target. Determine that you have a safe backstop or background.
Know your safe zone-of-fire and stick to it.
Your safe zone-of-fire is that area or direction in which you can safely fire a shot. It is "down range" at a shooting facility. In the field it is that mental image you draw in your mind with every step you take. Be sure you know where your companions are at all times. Never swing your gun or bow out of your safe zone-of-fire. Know the safe carries when there are persons to your sides, in front of, or behind you. If in doubt, never take a shot. When hunting, wear daylight fluorescent orange so you can be seen from a distance or in heavy cover.