Aside from the guy who actually got shot in the face, the whole Cheney thing has really made me laugh. When I first heard about it, all I could think was: "There's ol' three DUI Dick, driving around with a bottle of Wild Turkey, getting all liquored up and blowing more birds apart. And the quails have come home to roost..."
And I'm sorry I didn't write that at the time. Because I get a child-like glee out of saying "I told you so!" But every now and then, someone writes me and complains about me pointing out that Bush is obviously still a practicing--because he's so lousy at it, he needs the practice--alcoholic.
And because, to be honest, I had no reason to write that other than it was the first thing I thought of when I heard Cheney mistook his friend for a bird and shot him in the face. That, and also I happen to live in a state where hunting is so popular they close the schools--the highschools--on the first day of hunting season.
And virtually everyone I know in this state who hunts, whether they go for a day, or they have a hunting cabin in the woods, basically describes the experience as getting really, really drunk and then killing stuff. With rifles.
But I don't know everyone even in this state who hunts, and I'm sure there are many, many hunters in the woods in fall who aren't drunk--probably at least half the highschool kids aren't. And I'm sure most of the "sportmen" in my state are nearly sober enough to drive a car and very responsible and sporting as they sprinkle deer food and scent around a tree, then climb up in their blind to "hunt" an unsuspecting deer from like eight feet away. With a high powered rifle.
Don't get me wrong--I'm not against hunting. I eat meat, pigs in particular. I love to eat a pig. I just let someone else kill them. And I don't see how anyone who can pay other people to kill animals for them can really express outrage at someone who would rather kill animals for themselves.
Either you give up bacon, or you get upset about some guy making deer jerky.
One or the other, but you can't do both.
And frankly, the horror of the Thysen or Purdue chicken factories, or the slaughterhouses where they raise and kill cows and pigs are probably a lot, lot worse than what happens to an animal that lives in the wild all its life and one day takes a bullet.
If most people knew how their food wound up in the super market or their favorite restaurant, they couldn't stand to eat it at all.
Plus, I fish. And, if you really think about it, fishing is about as bad as anything else. Sometimes, I feel really guilty about it. You've got this happy little sea creature, swimming around in the cool water, and you fucking hook it through its face with steel, haul it out of the water, and then sufficate it in a cooler.
What a total nightmare!
It's like if you were walking down to the post office on a beautiful spring day and suddenly got hooked in the lungs and hauled off into outer space.
I try to quiet that thought by reminding myself: this is the way of the world. If I didn't catch and eat that fish, some other fish would have eaten that fish. And if no fish ate my fish, my fish would have died and sunk to the bottom of the sea and been eaten by crabs or bottom feeders I've never even heard of and quite possible would be grossed out by.
Better me than them.
Though, I like to eat crabs, too.
And I'd probably like to eat that other stuff I've never even heard of. As far as I know, maybe I do!
When you think about it, if you think about it too much, for as nice and funny and sexy and compassionate as any of us might be, we're a bunch of fucking monsters! John Carpenter couldn't invent us. There's almost nothing we can't look at and consider eating.
You might look at your dear old parents, still on the go, loving life, still loving each other after all these years; you might look at your newborn child, sweet and innocent, with all of life and its attendent wonders to experience; you might look, longingly and lustfully at someone you need to see naked...
And unless any of those people are vegitarians, they're going to eat a fucking chicken!
At least one. Probably fucking hundreds of them!
Can you imagine if you walked out in your backyard, on a starry night, and found your wife on all fours, blood all over her hands and face gnawing on the lifeless body of a chicken???
You'd probably scream.
But bacon for breakfast. Chicken salad for lunch. Hamburgers--entire cows ground up--for dinner.
And that's a lovely day.
So, anyway, I just can't get that upset about hunting. Not without giving up fish and meat all together.
Having said all that, I don't know any hunters. Sitting in a tree blind, half drunk from the night before, with a high calibre rifle, and shooting an unsuspecting deer you lured in with raisins and apples and deer scent is, I'm sorry, not hunting.
It isn't any worse, again, than the chicken or pig or cow factories that fill our super markets, but don't kid yourselves--you're not hunting. You're just killing what you eat, rather than paying for it.
I don't feel any moral superiority to those "hunters", and I'm pretty sure they shouldn't feel any moral superiority to me.
But, then there's another kind of "hunter". Another kind of "sportsman". And that's Dick Cheney. He's the kind of guy who's too lazy and too incompetent, and too impatient to actually "hunt" something. And the things he blows apart, he doesn't even bother to eat. Just him, and eight other guys, just for fun might blow apart 417 birds on a single afternoon for no other reason than just to kill 417 things with guns.
That's 46 things, per guy, blown apart on a single afternoon.
Why bother pretending to hunt? Why doesn't Cheney just strap on golf cleats and stomp on baby chickens for an hour or two? It isn't any different. And it isn't any harder. And it isn't any more "sporting".
But you can kill about the same amount of birds.
So, again, with my limited knowledge of the actual events and Dick Cheney's passion for "hunting"--which some people call his insationable lust for blood--and Cheney's unrepentant, um, enjoyment of way too much alcohol for the task at hand, well, I just figured he got drunk and shot some dude in the face.
But, again, I didn't write that because I didn't want to become part of the looooooney left.
I mean, it was a simple "hunting" accident. They happen. They happen all the time. They happen every year.
Which is why it's amazing, as simple a thing as this, that CNN needs to offer a timeline to try to clarify this incredibly confusing, complex...hunting...accident...
While aiming for a quail, Cheney accidentally shoots fellow hunter Harry Whittington, striking him in the face, neck and chest with numerous pellets of birdshot. Medical staff, Secret Service agents and members of the hunting party administer first aid.
An ambulance transports the 78-year-old Texas lawyer to a nearby hospital in Kleberg, according to The Associated Press.
The remainder of the hunting party returns to the ranch house. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card tells President Bush that there has been a hunting accident, unaware at the time that the vice president was involved.
Laugh with me, for a minute! The Vice President shot a guy in the face, someone told Andrew Card...something...and Andrew Card told the President and no one mentioned Cheney was the shooter!
And no one in the White House asked, "Hey, what exactly happened?"
It's the Vice President. The White House is alerted that there was a hunting accident involving his hunting party. And no one asked, "What happened?"
Apparently, in this post 9-11 world, where we're constantly at war and everyone's life is in danger, the White House was informed that there was some kind of accident involving the Vice President, and nobody was remotely interested in what the details of that accident were.
Nobody asked. Nobody could find out! It was chaos!
For just a moment, let's all pretend we're not completely as retarded as the Washington Press Corps. Why, exactly, couldn't the full and complete details of what happened be immediately transmitted to the White House?
Phone lines weren't down. There wasn't chaos in the capitol. Cheney wasn't in the fog of some Iraqi battle. He was in Texas. In America. Someone called the White House. Someone said there was a problem. Are we really supposed to believe that that person didn't tell the White House that Cheney shot a guy??? Are we really supposed to believe that the White House wasn't interested in what happened???
The Secret Service notifies the Kenedy County Sheriff's office of the incident. The sheriff requests the chance to talk to Cheney, and arrangements are made for an interview Sunday morning.
And, as you all well know, when someone gets shot in the face, police officers often schedule an appointment a day or so later to talk to witnesses or view the scene.
After talking with Katharine Armstrong, whose family owns the ranch and who accompanied the hunting party, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove tells Bush that Cheney has shot Whittington.
Which is weird, because on Sunday, the White House said Bush didn't know at all! I'd also like to say that, if the Vice President very nearly kills a guy at 6:50 in Texas and it takes the White House an hour and ten minutes to hear about it, how the fuck are these guys, who are supposedly tuff on terra, supposed to protect the American people???
It takes them an hour to know what they're doing. In America.
Cheney and members of the hunting party dine at the ranch, and sheriff's deputies who heard reports of an accident arrive to offer help but are turned away, the AP reported, adding that the Secret Service retracted an earlier statement that the deputies sought to interview Cheney.
Well, the AP can get shit wrong. What they reported was this:
Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said that about an hour after Cheney shot Whittington, the head of the Secret Service's local office called the Kenedy County sheriff to report the accident. "They made arrangements at the sheriff's request to have deputies come out and interview the vice president the following morning at 8 a.m. and that indeed did happen," Zahren said.
At least one deputy showed up at the ranch's front gate later in the evening and asked to speak to Cheney but was turned away by the Secret Service, Zahren said. There was some miscommunication that arrangements had already been made to interview the vice president, he said.
And we shouldn't doubt that this was all a big miscommunication! Because, as we all know, whenever, in America, a man winds up in a hospital, shot in the face, requiring treatment in the intensive care unit, the police schedule an appointment, at a convenient time, to talk to the shooter.
The police have no interest in securing a possible crime scene. The don't want to do any kind of nitrate tests or anything like to determine if the person claiming to do the shooting actually did the shooting. They're not interested in preserving evidence, or taking immediate statements.
Basically, in America, if you shoot someone in the face, and send them to the hospital, to the ICU, the police will schedule an appointment, within a day or two, at your convenience, so you can tell them what happened.
Whittington is flown to a hospital in Corpus Christi and is treated in the intensive care unit, the AP reported.
The White House situation room notifies Bush spokesman Scott McClellan of an accident in Cheney's hunting party, but not who was involved.
Again, according to the White House time line, at some time, late at night, hours after the Vice President has shot someone in the face, sent that guy to two hospitals, and twice notified the White House of an "accident" in the Vice President's "hunting" party--no one in the White House, not even in their "situation room" has fucking bothered to ask a very, very simple question: what happened?
My God, if your third cousin shot someone in a "hunting" accident, you'd know it before Bush!
If we can possibly believe this incredbily silly timeline.
The situation room awakens McClellan with a telephone call and informs him that Cheney was the shooter. McClellan pushes the vice president's office to inform the media quickly, he says later.
Don't you love that little clause after the comma? "[H]e says later..."
Kenedy County sheriff's deputies interview Cheney. Armstrong starts leaving messages for a reporter at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times newspaper.
Fourteen hours after a guy gets shot in the face. The cops show up.
I know the shooter is the Vice President. But it was an accident. Right? It was clearly an accident, with no alcohol involved. And they called an ambulance within a half hour or so.
Why in God's name wouldn't they talk to the police at the same time? You got the paramedics there, you got the ambulance there, you get the police there, you show them exactly what happened, when it happened, how it happened. You got all the witnesses. You've got the blood and the evidence. It was a simple hunting accident!
Wouldn't you want the cops to show up right away?
Armstrong reaches the reporter with information on the shooting.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times publishes a brief story about the incident on its Web site.
Yes, and she told reporters that a guy who was shot in the face was "peppered" and "more bruised" than anything. Even though he spent three days in intensive care.
Last night, I got up to get a glass of water and totally kicked a coffee table on my way to the kitchen. And it never occurred to me at all to spend three days in ICU, at the trauma ward, in my local hospital.
3:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
CNN and other news agencies confirm news of the shooting after a bulletin is issued by the AP.
Cheney visits Whittington in the hospital.
Doctors take Whittington out of an intensive-care unit and place him in a private room, AP reported.
Three days later, after being "peppered" pretty good, the guy is getting out of the ICU. For bruises.
The chief deputy sheriff for Kenedy County says the shooting is being handled as a hunting accident, AP reported.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's accident report says the main contributing factor was a "hunter's judgment factor" and that both Cheney and Whittington were violating state law because they did not have required stamps to accompany their licenses, AP reported.
Hospital officials estimate this is when Whittington suffered a minor heart attack without noticing, because of a pellet that moved in or near his heart, and Cheney is informed soon after that doctors will perform a cardiac catheterization, AP reported.
This is, of course, hours before the White House decides the best way to deal with Cheney shooting his friend in the face is to laugh and joke about it.
Fine, everyone else was joking about it. But, you know, everyone else didn't shoot the guy in the face.
This is right up there with Bush joking about the missing Weapons Of Mass Destruction.
Never mind the creepy sociopathic tendencies of everyone in this White House. It's horrible and scary, but forget it for a minute. What's really significant--not really, but it's something people can understand--is the almost hilarious incompetence of this White House.
Yes, everything since Bush came to Washington is a total mess. Terrorism, debt, war, lies, torture, international humiliation--but these guys, while mastering the art of lowered expectations, are re-writing the laws of regular expectations.
Even expectations of failure.
It was a simple hunting accident. Tragic. Avoidable. Hopefully not fatal. But nothing more than poor muzzle discipline.
And, as much as I despise these guys and doubt everything they say, I would be more than inclined to believe it.
But here's the thing:
If it was simple, careless, stupidity--why the fuck did it take the Vice President five days to talk about it?
Why did it take five days for the White House to provide a time line of events?
Why all the conflicting stories?
Why the fourteen hour delay to talk to the local cops?
Why all the confusion within the White House itself over events and time?
Why the original blaming of Worthington for getting shot, which has been, five days later, rejected by Cheney?
Why the scrubbing of any mention of beer on the day of the shooting to have Cheney, five days later, say, hey, maybe he had a beer or two?
Why the idiotic descriptions of Worthington being "peppered" and "bruised" when the guy was airlifted to a hospital and spent three days in the ICU ward?
This is the kind of shit where nutty right wingers will endlessly gibber about loooony lefties and their crazy, Michael Moore conspiracy theories!
But, again, if it's that simple, which according to the White House it is, if it's nothing more than sloppy, careless hunting, then why does it take five whole days to get a somewhat clear story about what happened?
If it's just a stupid, stupid hunting accident, why on earth do we need a CNN graphic and timeline to explain what happened that's nearly as detailed as the Warren Report?
Originally, I just thought Cheney was drunk and shot his dumbass quail exploding buddy. And I didn't really care. Now? Now, I know Cheney was drunk and shot his dumbass quail exploding buddy, shit his pants, fucked everything up, lied to everyone, told Bush, who likewise shit his pants, a la 9/11, compounded the fucking of everything in an upward motion, and then, after five days, they established workable, remotely believable--if you're an idiot--timeline, and hit FOX News.
In an effort to be candid with the American people.
Five days later.
And while I have no idea what exactly happened, I'm completely right about whatever I suspect is being hidden from me. Don't even bug me about it.
All I'm saying is: we're being told it's relatively simple. And, for all we know, it is relatively simple. But, if it is, how on earth did it become so damn complicated and confusing?
Five days later, and we finally get a coherent timeline. For a hunting accident?
People, that's a story. That's damage control.
And why on earth would anyone need damage control for a hunting accident???