Sunday, February 12, 2006

They Let This Guy Near the Nuclear Football?

[[O O P S]] * It seems Dick Cheney doesn’t have enough problems already, what with U.S. senators from both political parties now suggesting that the veep should be investigated by Plamegate special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to see if, in fact, he authorized his former chief of staff to disseminate classified information to reporters. Now, he’s gone and filled a 78-year-old hunting buddy with birdshot. As the Associated Press reports:
Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.

Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was in stable condition in the intensive care unit of a Corpus Christi hospital on Sunday, according to Yvonne Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Christus Spohn Health System.

The incident occurred Saturday at a ranch in south Texas where the vice president and two companions were hunting quail. It was not reported publicly by the vice president’s office for nearly 24 hours, and then only after the incident was
reported locally by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Katharine Armstrong, the ranch’s owner, said Sunday that Cheney was using a 28-gauge shotgun and that Whittington was about 30 yards away when he was hit in the cheek, neck and chest.

Each of the hunters were wearing bright orange vests at the time, Armstrong told reporters at the ranch about 60 miles southwest of Corpus Christi. She said Whittington was “alert and doing fine.” ...

Armstrong said she was watching from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter got out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail.

Whittington shot a bird and went to look for it in the tall grass, while Cheney and the third hunter walked to another spot and discovered a second covey.

Whittington “came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself,” Armstrong said.

“The vice president didn’t see him,” she continued. “The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by god, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good.”
Ain’t it great to live in a country where the National Rifle Association guarantees that friends can shoot friends?

(Hat tip to IronCity for the ABC News screen capture.)

FIRE WHEN READY, CHENEY: TalkLeft reports that this isn’t Cheney’s first hunting mistake. It also weighs the veep’s legal responsibility in this shooting. Read on.

READ MORE:Dick Cheney’s Top 10 Reasons for Shooting Fellow Hunter” (; “Slow (White House) Trigger on Cheney,” by Frank James (Chicago Tribune); “Cheney Shot the Guy Yesterday, Why Are We Finding Out Now, 24 Hours Later?” by John Aravosis (AMERICAblog); “More Questions Raised About Delay in Reporting Cheney Misfire,” by Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher); “Chickenhaws With Guns,” by Jane Hamsher (FireDogLake); “The Cheney Shooting: Blame the Victim,” by Tim Grieve (Salon).

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