At least somebody in the Bush Administration does his own fighting!


Vice President Cheney knows his way around firearms, as he demonstrated this weekend by shooting a partner during a hunting trip. Sadly, the victim is 78-year-old lawyer Harry Whittington, who doesn't sound like the hardest of targets. "Never sneak up behind Dick Cheney when he has a gun in his hand," the Guardian advises.

Whittington is listed in stable condition, which doesn't speak well for the veep's killer instinct. But this incident still puts Cheney at the business end of the S.L.A. Marshall continuum. Let's get this five-time draft deferee into the uniform he's always wanted to wear.

And score one for local newspapers. After Administration flacks sat on this story for a day, the news was broken by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

NEXT: Attn, DC Reasonoids: Today's Happy Hour Is Still On, 6:30PM

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  1. That was no accident. Cheney was liberating Whittington.

  2. What’s that dripping from the right leg of the Reason girl?

  3. What’s the big deal?

  4. It was bird shot, albeit to the face and shoulder. As my wife says, “He’s gonna have a bad case of freckles….Oh, and he’s never gonna get an MRI.” There was minimal chance of it seriously hurting a person, even a 78 year-old.

    Bird shot is fairly small so that you have some of the bird left to eat or stuff after you’ve shot it out of the sky.

  5. “Stable” is not an official condition. “Stable” means you have a pulse. Which is a good thing to have, when you’re 78.

  6. Why didn’t Shrub go hunting with Cheney?

  7. A real man uses golf balls.

  8. So, if I make a large campaign contribution, could I go on a hunting trip with Cheney?

    More to the point, if I make that contribution in the name of my worst enemy, could my worst enemy go hunting with Cheney?

  9. It would probably be in poor taste to make an “administration that couldn’t shoot straight” joke, so I’ll refrain from doing so.

  10. Interesting side note: Cheney’s victim has apparently spent the last few years fighting an eminent domain case in which his property was condemned and seized to build a parking garage.

  11. I’m putting my money on Whittington to win the 2008 Tour de France.

  12. Brownie,

    They paved paradise and put up a parking lot?

  13. Is there no length the Establishment won’t go to to preserve its hideous eminent domain power?

  14. Yeah, but only the state should be allowed to have guns.

  15. “What’s the big deal?”

    None, but boy it sure will give “the left” a buckshot of ammo!
    I can’t wait until we see Teddy K in senate conference suggest, no demand that the VP take a firearms safety course.

  16. coarsetad,

    Here are the Brady’s cheap shots I saw via Drudge:

  17. Where’s Al Gore when you need him?

  18. I can’t wait until we see Teddy K in senate conference suggest, no demand that the VP take a firearms safety course.

    I suppose Cheney could demand Ted take a driving course first?

  19. best thing the bastards done shooting a lawyer

  20. We must stop Dick Cheney before he strikes again!

  21. I real man isn’t going to be caught dead with a 28 gauge shotgun. Hell, I’m surprised you could kill a quail with that. What do they do, laugh themselves to death?

  22. I noticed that the ranch owner seems to be blaming the guy who got shot for returning to the hunting party without letting anyone know.

    That sounds like a blatant attempt to cover Cheney’s ass, but I don’t know enough about hunting safety. All my shooting is done at the range, where it’s safe to say that all gunshot wounds are the fault of the guy holding the gun. Any bird hunters out there that can clarify this?

  23. GHW Bush once went quail-hunting with Vice president Quayle. Bush got some good quail. Quayle got some good bush.

    (Love recycling those 1991 jokes…)

  24. Windypundit,

    When it comes to gun injuries, etc. I was taught from NRA classes as kid forward that the decision is always with the person that pulls the trigger. Obviously folks can do stupid stuff that makes it more likely that they’ll get shot, but the decision-maker is the guy with the gun, not vice-versa. So make sure you want to shoot that you are aiming at, etc. I’ve only been deer hunting though, but I’d imagine that bird hunters have a similar attitude.

  25. Wow. That Cheney is one stone cold SOB. Shooting through his friend to get at birds. Imagine what he’d do to someone he didn’t like.

  26. Top four things Cheney was overheard to say:

    4. “Dude, my bad!”

    3. “What the f**k, no one was going to nominate me for the Peace Prize anyway.”

    2. “Hey babe, I think I just got your old man outa the way for us. Oh Shit he’s moving!”

    1. “Listen, Harry. I know this means you won’t be giving us anymore campaign contributions, but please don’t give instead to that libertarian anti-war outfit;”

    (The above was just for fun. I wish Harry Whittington a full and rapid recovery. Also, Mr. Whittington might well be a traditional Republican, rather than a war mongering faithful neocon servant as Cheney has become.)

  27. …Atten: Dave Letterman production staff. Just email me concerning the rights.

  28. …If the offer is good enough, you guys get the other six too.

  29. Takes a hot shot to nail quail with a sporty liitle 28 guage. The delay in reportin prbably arose because , after 2000, Republicans are gunshy of inaccurate counts- we wouldn’t want it said the Veep bagged 110 birds and a lawyer when it was only 109, or the other way around.

    Now it’s rumsfeld’s turn- maybe his princeton brethern can line up some tigers and a Justice for a day’s outing.

  30. I’m still thinking this doesn’t reach Jimmy Carter’s “killer rabbit” incident on the executive branch embarrassment scale. 😉

  31. A chicken hawk, draft dodging, armchair warrior, NRA hero that doesn’t understand gun safety? Go figure.

    No up to date body armor for US troops ordered until last month, Cheney’s hunting partners sure could use it though.

    Well Whiti, your doin’ a heckuva job. As rummi said to US troops in Iraq when asked about the missing body armor (after riding from the airport to the green zone in a very special halliburton VIP armored vehicle) ..if one’s got your name on it..

  32. So is Laura the only one that can actually kill a person in the Bush gang that-can’t-shoot straight?

  33. A few weeks ago a Virginia state legislator negligently discharged his handgun in his office. He has a concealed carry permit, he was handling the gun in his office, it went off, and strangely enough it hit a bulletproof vest hanging from a hook on his door.

    Now Cheney shoots a hunter.

    The lesson: Politicians have no business handling guns.

  34. Since some of you asked about the situation from a bird hunter’s perspective:
    – Yeah, standard gun safety responsiblities apply, but there’s some “special case” stuff, too.
    – When you’re quail shooting in a group like this, you stay conscious of who’s where. Before flushing a covey, you have a mental “safe zone” where you can shoot without anybody being there. Knowing that is the shooter’s responsibility.
    – When you’re moving around, you have to let your friends know where you are. This is usually verbal. The point is that you don’t want to accidentally (or negligently) move into somebody’s “safe zone”.
    – Also try not to get between another shooter and the sun. Makes it hard to see you.
    – This is important because of the way your brain works when you’re wingshooting — if you’re experienced. You choose a bird and all of your senses lock onto it. You don’t even hear or feel your own gun, and I’m not exaggerating. Visually, you are very, very focused, so it is hard to notice anything else during that second or two.
    – Incidentally, you sometimes will notice bright orange if it’s displayed against a natural backdrop. This is why orange hats are a must-have.

    Anyway, since you asked.

  35. – When you’re quail shooting in a group like this, you stay conscious of who’s where. Before flushing a covey, you have a mental “safe zone” where you can shoot without anybody being there. Knowing that is the shooter’s responsibility.

    that’s my understanding too, pine — no one ever gets ahead of anyone, no one ever turns more than incrementally to fire.

    who knows what happened — but it hardly matters. wrong guy got shot.

  36. As an aside, could you really call what they were doing ‘hunting’? It’s not really sporting to shoot a bunch of pen raised birds that were released especially for you, is it? I like hunting and guns, and I have no problem with hunters, but somehow the whole idea of a ‘pre-packaged’ hunt seems somehow unfair and kinda weak.

  37. Real men, like John Kerry, shoot wild birds.

  38. Steve M,

    Only slightly tongue-in-cheek response:

    Wild Birds: When you start out, you’re legitimately hunting, ’cause you don’t know where they are. The dogs find a covey, and your group sets up to flush them. Now you’re about to be shooting, ’cause you do. You shoot the covey rise and watch where the single birds go. Then you have to hunt again. Then you find one, and now you’re shooting again.

    “Pen-Raised” Birds: When you start out, you don’t call it hunting, you call it shooting. Same as before — dogs find the covey and you shoot the rise. Then you switch to hunting for the singles, just like above. Then shooting again.

    There, is that clear?

  39. Many of Chaney’s critics objected to the Iraq War for all the innocent bystanders that were accidentally killed or wounded in the process. …Just for the record, Chaney didn’t tell anybody to do anything he wasn’t willing to do himself.

  40. Pine,

    Semantics aside, “canned” hunts are lame.

  41. Pine,

    That does make it clearer, thanks. It doesn’t sound so bad now.

  42. When bird hunting, the hunters usually walk in a line abreat so none are in front of the others. The center hunter knows he can’t swing too far left or right, and the end hunters only go for bird straight ahead or to their side. To get shot requires someone being out of place or someone shooting in a direction they aren’t supposed too.

  43. When bird hunting, the hunters usually walk in a line abreast so none are in front of the others. The center hunter knows he can’t swing too far left or right, and the end hunters only go for bird straight ahead or to their side. To get shot requires someone being out of place or someone shooting in a direction they aren’t supposed too.

  44. This story is following the familiar template:

    1. Administration official does something stupid and incompetent, but, in the big picture, minor and not likely to upset Administration supporters.

    2. Rather than admit any mistake, Administration jumps into CYA mode as soon as story leaks.

    3. Liberal press and bloggers, seeing Administration in CYA mode, go into attack mode and blow up minor affair into “big deal.”

    4. Conversative press and bloggers accuse liberal press and bloggers of overreacting and acting like irresponsible “Bush haters”

    5. General public loses interest, liberal press/blogger reputation for hysteria further cemented in mainstream mind.

    So my question is this – does the Bush Administration always automatically go into CYA mode simply because they are a bunch of pricks who can never admit they’re wrong, or because they are well aware that the less they disclose the more likely they are to provoke the left into overreaction?

  45. Is shooting somebody in the face actually considered “no big deal” by some significant portion of Americans?

    And did I read correctly that the “hunting party” was driving around in an Escalade, getting out to shoot, then getting back in the car?

  46. Overheard at the phone bank at RNC HQ:

    “… No, Mr. Abramoff’s skybox is no longer available, but at that contribution level we could arrange to have you shot in the face by Vice President Cheney … no, I’m pretty sure it’s not fatal … well, I’ll just put you down for the Reagan commemorative totebag then …”

  47. Before flushing a covey, you have a mental “safe zone” where you can shoot without anybody being there. Knowing that is the shooter’s responsibility.

    And staying clear out of other hunter’s safe zones is everyone’s responsibility.

    Getting peppered is not unusual when quail hunting. The birds fly unpredictably and at low levels, the terrain is often brushy, etc.

    Plus, when wingshooting it is not possible to throughly scrutinize everything in the line of fire. That is why you establish zones of fire, and why the nonshooters have a responsibility to stay clear of it and shooters have a responsibility to make sure they are where they belong.

  48. Y’know, Cheney never got to go to a war and climbing in and out of that Escalade is probably pretty tiring, so what he should do is get a Humvee, mount his little shotgun up in the cupola and then bust a “Rat Patrol” on those pesky quail. Toss in a 12-pack of Coors Light and you’ve got yourself some hunting!
    Hell, I’d pay to watch that.

  49. Canned hunts are taken to a whole new level in Texas, especially for the rich. On your own property, which can be vast, you can do almost anything you want. It’s a slaughter, not a hunt.

    The whole idea that by “coming up behind” Cheney the victim somehow caused the shooting is just absurd. Given a choice, whether at a range or on a hunt, “behind the shooter” is where you want to be, for obvious reasons. For equally obvious reasons, panning and scanning with your gun at shoulder level, approximately 180 degrees, and then firing, is frowned upon. The description of the guy merely “getting peppered” is not consistent with getting knocked down and ending up in the ICU for three days. It is not uncommon to feel a few pellets as they come down when you are bird hunting, but getting a blast to the head and neck ending in a hospital visit is called “getting shot.”

    Bottom line, accidents happen with firearms. And bottom line, those accidents usually involve some combination of (1) inexperience with firearms, (2) rank stupidity, and (3) alcohol. In any case, responsibility falls on the guy pulling the trigger. You don’t shoot what you can’t see, and you don’t shoot people. Gun safety is not all that complicated, actually.

  50. Joe: IIRC it is illegal to hunt from a vehicle in Texas, although it wouldn’t surprise me if the Secret Service and whatnot were in an Escalade. Or if they let rules like that slide for VPs on private property.

    Jeff’s right that you can do basically whatever you want on private property here.

  51. I’d like to use this thread to thank all of our resident gun owners for their service; their service in owning firearms. Personally, guns aren’t my thing, and I wouldn’t want to hunt cuz I’d feel sorry for the animals. However, the founders of our republic, in their writings, made it clear that it is critically important for citizens to have the liberty to own firearms, thus to act as a countervailing force against our own government’s totalitarian impulses. Thanks guys and gals!

  52. Yeah, Dick, thanks for the service, there. Attaboy.

  53. Read my book.

  54. It’s interesting to compare the ways that the parties reward their top donors:

    Republicans get shot in the face by Cheney.

    Democrats get to watch while a candidate shoots himself in the foot.

    And the LP can arrange for their pot dealer to fire a couple shots at your house between his deliveries.

  55. The Green Party will shoot you, but they insist on smokeless powder and cartridges made from recycled metal.

  56. Oooh, another one: In England they just use those little batons to beat their contributors.

    Hamas invites their top campaign contributors to strap on explosives and achieve martyrdom.

    The Communist Party puts you on a waiting list, to be shot when they resolve the ammo shortage.

    The Nazis invite their contributors to a party. I hear it’s a real gas!

    I can go on forever with these!

  57. joe,

    I gave Cheney what for at the end of my 02:37 AM comment.

  58. …Also, I said that I wanted to thank all of our *resident* gun owners. I don’t think that Cheney is an H&R regular.

    Hey joe; BTW, are you a hunter? If I may ask, that is. If I had to guess, it would be; like me, you are not.

  59. In addition to not being licensed to shoot his friends, Cheney did not have his quail stamps and thus was hunting illegally.

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