This business of Vice President Cheney shooting his 78-year-old hunting companion seems really strange to me. I have to confess up front that I am not much of a hunter. I went hunting once, when I was 15 years old, with a little .22 caliber rifle that I inherited from my great-grandfather. After tramping around the farm for several hours and not seeing any rabbits to shoot at, I shot the rifle into a woodpile, then put it away and never had any hankering to go hunting again. Somehow in our moves, which were coming about every three years 35 years ago, I lost the rifle. I have had some pangs of regret for losing a family heirloom, but not because I wanted to hunt with it.
Non-hunter that I am, I don't understand how you can shoot someone behind you and have it be the victim's fault. I know the story coming out of Texas is that Harry Whittington, the victim, should have yelled out that he was coming up from behind the other three hunters but that does not have the ring of truth to me. There were only four hunters in the party, so it's not like there were so many people that it was hard to keep track of who was where. Everyone in the party was carrying loaded guns so I would think that no one pulls the trigger until he or she knows where everyone else is located.
Then there's the business of keeping it secret from the American public until after the Sunday talk shows were over, almost 24 hours after the incident. I heard Scott McClellan saying that the reason was that the Vice President was concerned with getting medical treatment for Whittington, but that didn't take 24 hours. And was he personally, giving him treatment? I think not since an ambulance crew was standing by. And what's this with the Vice President going hunting accompanied by an ambulance crew? What kind of sport is that?
I'm sure the late night comics will have a field day with this incident. I would feel more like laughing if I wasn't so worried that this is only the latest instance of our leaders acting before they think.
Now for a prediction. I don't think Dick Cheney will serve out his term. I think the controversy around him is so distracting that he will be jettisoned for a new vice president who can then run for office in 2008 with the advantage of incumbency.