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February 14, 2006

Comments

Is there a doctor in the house? Can a pellet travel through the blood stream?

No no no hilzoy, you've got it all wrong. Since it was Whittington's fault, it is he who should apologize to Cheney for putting Cheney in this position. Sure it's hard to do from the ICU, but Cheney is the Vice President of the United States of America, after all, and deserves better.

Brought to you by the same people who thought Fitzgerald should indict Plame and Wilson.

Compassionate conservatives are an extinct breed. Now they just flip the bird.

Kieran Healy asks the excellent question, what if W had shot C in this way?


If I shoot somebody in the face with a shotgun, will I also not be charged?

Smiley: If I shoot somebody in the face with a shotgun, will I also not be charged?

I've been indulging in discussion over at TalkLeft, and it seems clear that, even if Whittingdon dies - which let's hope he doesn't - Cheney isn't guilty of a homicide - at worst, it would probably be involuntary manslaughter. But, it was most likely merely a careless accident. (And Cheney seems to have avoided a breathalyzer test, so he has to be assumed to have been sober at the time.)

So, basically, yes. Apparently if you're out hunting and you accidentally shoot one of your fellow hunters in the face, even if you are clearly to blame and it was the result of appalling carelessness on your part, you won't be charged.

Uh, hilzoy... I think this goes straight to the issue which dare not speak its name (but about which bob mcmanus and others are, justifiably or not, sensitive). What do you mean by "best?"

From the WH point of view the "best" way is most definitely to joke about it. You may find this repellent, but that's only because you're paying attention. People who pay attention are still a very small minority.

spartikus I'm not even an EMT, but yes, and supposedly this was pretty small (2.5mm) shot so it wouldn't have needed a major blood vessel. And as long as I'm commenting outside my field, let me say that Mr. Whittington strikes me as a very lucky man with some high-quality medical care.

This is a 78 year old guy who had piece of steel either upstream from, or possibly actually striking, his heart, yet he got off (apparently) with most of his heart intact. And note that when you have solids running around loose in your upper circulatory system you can just as easily have a major stroke as a minor heart attack.

Jes, I bow in the general direction of Jeralyn, but here's a counterexample via FDL.

Hi

I know you guys are interested in human rights wrt rendition, etc. If there are any Aussies reading this, this morning's SMH says:

"Tonight the SBS Dateline program plans to broadcast about 60 previously unpublished photographs that the US Government has been fighting to keep secret in a court case with the American Civil Liberties Union."

Also via FDL: A beer or two appears. Then disappears.

I've just discovered something quite remarkable, I think, and possibly important. Please see this.

Perhaps it's all minor, and just technical, but it appears Vice-President Cheney at least technically broke the law and owes a fine for not having that $7 license stamp, but remarkably, he apparently, according to the timeline given in the fresh Washington Post story, managed to shoot Whittington -- if my figures aren't off, and I'm not mistaken, which is always possible -- just one minute, precisely, after the legally allowed hunting time.

See my post.

Please note that I may have made an error in some way, and that the Washington Post timeline might be wrong.

Please let me know, anyone, ASAP, if you see any errors in anything I've posted, so I can correct any such ASAP.

I'd, of course, like to know where the WaPo time figure for the Whittington shooting comes from. Katherine Armstrong? The VP's office? Elsewhere?

Gary (not commenting at your blog because of your Blogger-only comments), if sunset was at 6:19 pm CST, then half an hour after sunset would be 6:49 pm CST, right? And you've said the shooting was at 5:50 CST, so I think you've gotten confused somewhere (unless I have).

Okay, crucial Addenda I just posted:

ADDENDUM, IMPORTANT CORRECTION, 5:52 P.M.: Okay, very important revision. I see, looking again, that the end of "civil twilight" according to the Naval Observatory, in Kenedy County, is: End civil twilight 6:43 p.m.

Therefore, if the shooting took place at 5:50 p.m. Central Time, local time in Kenedy County, and the limit is one half hour after that, it was actually almost fifty minutes (50 minutes) within the legal time. So it's not nearly as coincidental as I initially mistakenly thought, and thus might not be important at all. Um, oops.

Of course, it would be darned interesting to be able to pin down the precise time of the shooting for certain, wouldn't it?

Ah but Spartikus, that was in a different time zone, doncha know. Jesurgislac, thanks. Seems kind of odd that it's legal to accidently shoot someone, just because they're hunting.

What amazes me is how many conservative blogs seem to be avoiding or ignoring mentioning this situation.

I used to be a party line Democrat, until someone challenged me to be more partisian. Now I just look at the facts.

This administration reminds me of a certain other notorious regieme, in it's early days.

KCinDC: see addenda I posted a bit ago, prior to looking again at comments here and your comment. Thanks, though, since I might not have caught it on my own.

Smiley: "Seems kind of odd that it's legal to accidently shoot someone, just because they're hunting."

It would depend entirely on the circumstances. If it was "reckless endangerment," for instance, it wouldn't be legal.

But you'd have to have witnesses to testify to that. Don't count on that happening here -- and, of course, we simply have no way of knowing the facts. Naturally, it might be precisely as described. There's just no way to know, and not apt to be any way to know (I kinda don't advise counting on a crack FBI forensic team, or any other forensic team, descending on the [untouched] site to examine every scrap of evidence).

Posted on the same entry on my blog, with pointer inserted at the top of the post (it takes several minutes to post here, even if that was my first priority, given the need to reload each page three times or so to get it to fully load; at dial-up, this takes a couple of minutes, or more, each time):

ADDENDUM, IMPORTANT CORRECTION, 5:52 P.M.: Okay, very important revision. I see, looking again, that the end of "civil twilight" according to the Naval Observatory, in Kenedy County, is: End civil twilight 6:43 p.m.

Therefore, if the shooting took place at 5:50 p.m. Central Time, local time in Kenedy County, and the limit is one half hour after that, it was actually almost fifty minutes (50 minutes) within the legal time. So it's not nearly as coincidental as I initially mistakenly thought, and thus might not be important at all. Um, oops.

Of course, it would be darned interesting to be able to pin down the precise time of the shooting for certain, wouldn't it?

So, slight embarassment on my part. Still, it does appear that according to the letter of the law, Vice-President Cheney owes a Class C fine ($25–$500) for not having carrying his Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp Endorsement (Type 168), for what little (trivial, of course) that's worth.

Wot the hell, I'll take what small comfort I can in unearthing a small detail I've not noticed anyone else dig up. I doubt paying the fine will break the Veep, assuming it's levied, which I won't count on (but it does seem as if he clearly owes it, doesn't it? Trivial as it is?).

Smiley: "Seems kind of odd that it's legal to accidently shoot someone, just because they're hunting."

Don't mean to beat a dead horse. Guess I'm just being dense, because I cannot imagine a situation where you can shoot someone in the face and not be charged with something, anything, even if those charges result in nothing more than a heavy fine and community service.

If shooting someone accidentally is not illegal (no charges filed), then it must be legal.

"because I cannot imagine a situation"

unless you're the vice president of the united states, of course.


Gary Farber - must call you Sherlock from now on!

It would depend entirely on the circumstances. If it was "reckless endangerment," for instance, it wouldn't be legal.

A news story from Texas and the verdict

(insert Halliburton reference here)

I cannot imagine a situation where you can shoot someone in the face and not be charged with something

Doesn't seem so odd to me -- when you enter an arena where shooting is expected, the rules change. It's like, if I swerve and tailgate and drive 100+MPH on the freeway, that's reckless driving, but if I do that on a racetrack, that's expected behavior.

"...because I cannot imagine a situation where you can shoot someone in the face and not be charged with something, anything...."

Possible situations: Self-defense. Wartime. You're a law enforcement officer, acting properly in the course of your duties. Mechanical flaw in the weapon you couldn't know of. You trip and fall down the stairs through no fault of your own (say, the floor was faulty) and the gun goes off without your pulling the trigger, or with you having no control over your trigger finger.

Those are just a few possibilities for your imagination to consider.

Beyond that, in a hunting situation, how about: you're aiming at a bird, and someone, due to insanity, intoxication, mistake, whatever, hurls themself in front of your weapon?

You didn't say you wanted circumstances liable to come up in Cheney's situation; you said you "cannot imagine a situation," unmodified, any situation. So, there you go.

In this situation, if we accept the Cheney/Armstrong/Whittington verson arguendo as absolutely accurate and truthful -- please note "arguendo" -- then it might need not be reckless endangerment (IANAL, and certainly do not know know Texas law on this in the slightest unless or until I look it up, and then I'd just be a lay person reading the letter of the law, which isn't as important as Texas case law, anyway), and no liability need necessarily attach.

IANAL, but I certainly have no problem understanding this possibility. The law is not, and should not be, intended to punish people involved in innocent accidents.

LJ: "A news story from Texas and the verdict...."

Yeah, I read that and other cites on it earlier today; it seems to clearly be wildly different circumstances. The only things in common seem to be that a human being was shot on a ranch in Texas, with accident claimed. That doesn't remotely begin to mean it's necessarily a precedent (nor that it isn't -- again, IANAL, and certainly don't know Texas law). It might be, but on the plain face of it, it certainly seems to me (IANAL, etc.) not unreasonable that it might not remotely be a precedent, due to the long list of dissimilarities. Or it might be a relevant precedent, and liability might be similar; I simply don't know.

Naturally, a view from a Texas criminal lawyer would be far more relevant than mine, of course. Preferably as non-partisan (ha!) as one as might be findable. Better, a multitude of knowledgeable legal opinions, and I repeat, specifically from lawyers experience in Texas criminal law, not in other Texas law or other states' criminal law.

Beyond that, in a hunting situation, how about: you're aiming at a bird, and someone, due to insanity, intoxication, mistake, whatever, hurls themself in front of your weapon?


I was taught to ONLY aim at what I intend to kill. My gun, my bullet, my aim, my responsiblity.

I'm having trouble finding a good online law library for texas. Findlaw.com or whatever it is, is awful.

I used to hunt a little, mainly for the camaraderie. Two of my brothers never quit loving it, even though they don't hunt so much any more. During hunting season, that's all they'd do, every weekend, even planning vacations around it. All their friends too.

Nobody ever fucking shot their buddy. Ever.

I'm no doctor but I am a 1st year med student so I can comment on the anatomy. In my mind, if the pellet really was 2.5mm there aren't many ways it could have gotten INTO the heart. The internal jugular vein in your neck is one (the external is much less protected by muscle but is pretty small).

The IJV would lead directly to the right heart and then to the lungs where it would have lodged and caused some tissue death. That is actually a designed in function, the lungs can filter out big stuff from our venous side before it gets back to our systemic side. In any case, it seeme unlikely to me this would have caused an atrial heart attack several days after the fact.

Forget the carotid artery in the neck, he would have had a stroke.

The only thing that makes sense to me would be the pellet entering the thorax and working its way towards the heart. This would place the pellet OUTSIDE his heart. There are a few problems w/ this...

One - your lungs and their pleura cover almost all of the front aspect of your heart.
Two - your sternum covers most of what's left.

Either a lung was punctured, in which case I think we would have heard of a collapsed lung, or the shot was at an oblique angle and the guy got very unlucky. I mean really unlucky. The pellet would have had to pass through several layers of muscle and tissue between the ribs and then work its way near his pericardium... Once there it could cause an atrial fibrillation. Interestingly, another cause of fibrillation is blocking of a coronary artery but the doctors already said his coronaries are clear.

Now, take this all with a grain of salt... A real ER doc who has seen this stuff could comment much more authoritatively.

Especially not in the face.

Jesus.

Do you know what kind of a moron it takes to do that?

First: the posting rules forbid profanity, both because we try to maintain civility (not that the post in question was uncivil, just that that's why there's the rule) and to allow people with filters to read this at work.

Second, I saw a cardiologist on the NewsHour, and he seemed to think it had gotten into the pericardium.

Among some points I just added in a new addendum to my recent post:

Some quite interesting bits in this updated story. First:
Dr. David Blanchard, the emergency room chief, estimated that Mr. Whittington had more than 5 but "probably less than 150 to 200" pellets lodged in his body.
a) That's quite a range, isn't it?

b) That's quite a jump from the previously mentioned "several birdshot pellets lodged in his skin," isn't it?

Also, this:

Doctors said that the pellet, which they had known since the accident was near Mr. Whittington's heart, had evidently moved into the heart muscle, causing "some quivering" called atrial fibrillation.
So that this was that serious -- that is, that there was a pellet near Mr. Whittington's heart has been "known since the accident."

Keep that in mind as you evaluate how full, accurate, and honest, is the information the White House, and other relevant parties, are releasing.

But also interesting: continued terrific communications skills demonstrated between the Vice-President and his office, and that of the White House Press Secretary's office. Cue Scotty:

[...] At the White House, Scott McClellan, the president's spokesman, began his day unaware of Mr. Whittington's heart attack. After being battered by reporters on Monday for the delay in the White House's providing information about the accident, Mr. McClellan opened his first briefing on Tuesday making light of the incident, as the late-night comics had done.

[...]

But by the time of Mr. McClellan's noon briefing, when the press secretary was aware of Mr. Whittington's downturn but did not disclose it to reporters, his tone was serious, even as he was at times impatient with the persistent questions about the shooting. "If you want to continue to spend time on that, that's fine," Mr. McClellan said. "We're moving on to the priorities of the American people."

Mr. Cheney's aides said he first learned of the change in Mr. Whittington's condition when he arrived at his West Wing office about 7:40 a.m. Tuesday, shortly after doctors in Corpus Christi said that they had picked up an irregular heartbeat from Mr. Whittington on their morning rounds.

Italics mine. Cheney finds out about the heart attack and increased seriousness of Whittington's condition at 7:40 a.m. Eastern time, but at McLellan's first morning briefing -- which, curiously, at this time does not appear at the White House website, as is the norm -- McLellan is unaware of what Cheney knows?

As of this time, the only briefing transcribed at the WH website is the gaggle at 12:18 P.M. EST. How curious.

There's more.

One other bit from McClellan's afternoon briefing:

Brownie, I mean "Mikey," is still doing a great job:
Q And one other quick one, on Michael Chertoff. Have there been discussions between Mr. Chertoff and Mr. Bush about whether Chertoff should, in fact, resign over Katrina?

MR. McCLELLAN: No. In fact, Secretary Chertoff is doing a great job at the Homeland Security Department.

In case you were wondering.
Gosh, I love Scotty's briefings. I wonder why the transcript of this mornings is missing?

So it entered his pericardium? The angle required for that, directly penetrating pericardium without going through lung, is pretty tough. He is an unlucky man. Another possibility is he did injure a lung and we aren't being told.

Gary -- video here.

[Added in proof: and the Daily Show clips ought to have a bit more...]

"Gary -- video here."

Thanks. However, on dial-up, I pretty rarely do video. I'm sure lots of other folks will appreciate it, though.

"...and the Daily Show clips...."

Oh, and ditto re cable tv, which would be nice, though I'm probably also one of the few or only folks here for whom it is not presently an option.

heet: I've seen some reports -- well, gesticulations by cable anchors, but whatever -- that the shot wasn't just confined to Whittington's face but in fact impacted from his ribcage up through his face. That could potentially explain the shot in the pericardium, I think?

anarch,

Yeah, it would pretty much have to hit his chest to get in to the pericardium. The best location for entry into the pericardium is near the bottom of the sternum. The space between the lungs is largest there.

"I've seen some reports -- well, gesticulations by cable anchors, but whatever -- that the shot wasn't just confined to Whittington's face but in fact impacted from his ribcage up through his face."

From the very first report, all reports have consistently said "face" and "neck" and "side" or "chest." Never has any report (of the many dozens and dozens I've seen, at least) referred to shot only hitting his face. If you prefer not to check my posts from Sunday, simply review the first story Hilzoy linked to here to confirm this.

"...from his ribcage up through his face."

Though I've not seen that; it's perfectly and absolutely possible I'm just not keeping up at this point.

Anarch, are you saying that you believe you heard (or saw/heard on tv, as I take you to be indicating) that birdshot entered his chest, then exited and then re-entered his face? Or are you saying that you understood them to say that that shot traveled through his chest, up through his neck, and into his face? Or something yet different?

"...that the shot wasn't just confined to Whittington's face but in fact impacted from his ribcage up through his face."

Actually, my re-read would interpret you as, perhaps, merely saying that he was, as always reported, struck in both ribcage and face. That's probably what you meant?

Gary, the stories all had 'face, neck and upper chest'. I think that it is a general communication principle that the first named object is the most prominent, so it always came off as 'upper chest' would be the top part of the pectoral muscles. Which I am sure is no accident.

what the heck are you talking about? I think he's referring to Armstrong's statement about "face and neck".

First AP story, as linked by Hilzoy, and innumerable others:

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer Sun Feb 12, 6:19 PM ET

WASHINGTON - 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.

You got it right, the report said "chest". Not everyone has read every article. Does that warrant the breathless posts? My point is you come off as overly agressive for such an obvious mistake. Relax.

The NY Times gets around to the point on the lack of communication between Cheney's office and McLellan's that I blogged about on my blog earlier. Various inside detail I didn't have, of course.

Apologies if I sounded hot-headed before.

People's reaction to this story is quite interesting, including my own. Finding more info has only made me even more curious. There seems to be many questions regarding the damage vs. velocity/distance, as claimed by the news reports.

I would love to see a picture of this guy Whittington. If only to see for myself what birdshot to the face looks like.

http://firedoglake.blogspot.com/

has more questions than answers, but very very curious indeed.

Have you posted a link to your blog, Gary?

Not that this site isn't fabulous, of course!

Coming late to this part of the discussion but re: non-criminality the rules change in certain situations. Generally speaking, it isn't criminal to level some one in a football game, even if a similar action would be assualt on the street. Similarly, one normally does not expect one's house to be pelted with small objects from across the street, but if you live next to a golf course, the rules change.

There's probably a good deal of "risk-assuming" that goes into hunting (and I wouldn't be shocked if there was some 'waiver' involved in getting the appropriate license, but that is pure speculation on my part.) And the level of recklessness required to raise an incident from civilly tortious to criminal is a significant quantum. 'Wanton disregard' is the formulation I believe. Hope that clarifies to a degree.

Ooops, Sorry hilzoy. At first, I thought, "Why am I being spanked for saying jesus?" :)

Sorry again for my bad language.

Goodnight, I'll be back to read you again tomorrow. And I found your blog link, Gary.

I see hilzoy's thoughts are with Mr. Whittington. Kind of like support the troops but oppose our government. Of course, I support most union workers, but oppose the union bosses. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-2_15_06_TB.html>Here's a point of view that some might miss.

I am dumber for having read the first paragraph of your link.

My thoughts exactly, cerpeicthus. Skimming the piece, it looks like Blankley makes a few salient observations about the press core and their bloated egos, but it's buried under a mountain of the author's own inflated self-regard. The opening snipe at Al Gore goes to show that Blankley just prefers an ideologically correct form of journalistic stupidity.

Ahhh, Tony's pretty level headed. I guess the Gore factor tips the scales here. Understood. And carpeicthus, thank a teacher for your ability to read the first paragraph. That you were able to read it in English, thank a soldier.

Blogbuds, do you happen to recall when Al Gore was running for President how many "news" stories were devoted to the trashy stories invented about him to make him look like a liar? You know, back when Al Gore, like Dick Cheney, was Vice President? Why do you suppose that so much time and effort was spent on stories that were based on mis-statements of what Gore had actually said, rather than on anything that Gore had actually done?

Well, partly because the media has a right-wing bias and Gore was the Democratic candidate for President, but partly because Gore was Vice President and these stories, while fake, were "news".

Cheney shooting a hunting companion is news. And, unlike the stories about Gore, it's news about something that Cheney actually did - both the shooting and the cover-up.

I don't imagine any of the Republicans now complaining that there's far too much focus on Cheney shooting someone - not even if Whittington dies - were complaining about the "news" about Al Gore.

jes, so that's why you say the things you do about President Bush, retaliation for the politics played with Gore. Fair enough, although Al tends to reinforce my concerns about him then, not dispel them. You use the word coverup. I can't imagine you can support that. I would offer up though, that Mr. Cheney may have been concerned both about Mr. Whittington, maybe not as much as hilzoy is, but also his own legal position. Had Mr. Whittington died, or even if this 78 year old man's physical condition doesn't fully recover from this trauma, I see Mr. Cheney in a bit of a pickle, politically and legally. You and I might both be thinking this isn't quite over with yet. Hell, Cheney could keel over from the stress. Truly an unfortunate tragedy.

Blogbudsman: so that's why you say the things you do about President Bush, retaliation for the politics played with Gore.

Good grief, no. I say the things I do about Bush because they're true and they need saying, as often as possible.

You use the word coverup. I can't imagine you can support that.

Isn't that the point of a cover-up? :-)

I would offer up though, that Mr. Cheney may have been concerned both about Mr. Whittington, maybe not as much as hilzoy is, but also his own legal position. Had Mr. Whittington died, or even if this 78 year old man's physical condition doesn't fully recover from this trauma, I see Mr. Cheney in a bit of a pickle, politically and legally.

Well, yes. I think we can all see that, and all sensible and decent people will be hoping that Whittington recovers fully and it's not an issue. I certainly do.

That doesn't actually explain why Cheney failed to do the sensible, decent thing - assuming, that is, that the story Armstrong told the local newspaper represented something like what actually happened.

Hell, Cheney could keel over from the stress. Truly an unfortunate tragedy.

Absolutely. It would be a truly unfortunate tragedy if Cheney were to die of a heart-attack before he could be tried for war crimes.

blogbudsman: I guess the Gore factor tips the scales here.

Not the "Gore factor". The "any criticism of U.S. policies is sedition" factor. It seems that with each new revelation of failure on the part of the Republican-dominated government to protect Americans, the traitor-rhetoric directed at Democrats gets ratcheted up. Now it's not just Jimmy Carter, but Clinton and Gore who are on the other side, just because they aren't willing to endorse the increasingly disturbing anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from the right.

As Belle Waring points out (via Kevin Drum) whether or not there is anything to cover up, it does appear unlikely that anyone to deal with this situation as badly as Cheney has done unless he had something even worse to hide.

Then again, this is what I say to myself when I look at Iraq (well, when I think about the current mess it's in): They couldn't possibly be that incompetent about invading/occupying another country unless their motivation were something other than [whatever the current story of the week is].

But who knows? Maybe the secret is that they really are that incompetent. That they believe everything can be managed with the right spin. Even when there are actual, physical, unavoidable facts that destroy the spin.

Isn't that the point of a cover-up? :-)

I think we have the makings of a Natural Law here: if it's your political opponent, there's a coverup if you can't prove there was. If you can prove there was, it's a failed coverup.

If it's your political ally, it's either a timely disclosure or an unavoidably, an explicably delayed disclosure, or a leak your opponents have seized upon for political advantage.

I'm not sure if I'm being overly cynical, or not cynical enough.

I think it is a sign of the hyped up expectations of media culture that disclosure in less than 24 hours can be thought of as indicative of a coverup.

That doesn't mean that Cheney has handled this well. He hasn't. But he hasn't engaged in a coverup, he and his aides have just been reacting in a way that doesn't acknowledge responsibility properly.

I also don't think there has been a cover-up. Although I tend to agree with there being a Natural Law of politics involved here.

I do think it has been handled very ineptly, and I think that is primarily due to the ingrained arrogance that Cheney has.

I believe he thinks its nobody's business what he does, how he does it, or when he does it.

I think it is a sign of the hyped up expectations of media culture that disclosure in less than 24 hours can be thought of as indicative of a coverup.

Of course, we're talking about the Vice-President shooting a man in the face.

Sebastian: I think it is a sign of the hyped up expectations of media culture that disclosure in less than 24 hours can be thought of as indicative of a coverup.

And presumably, a sign of the hyped-up expectations of a county sheriff that he expected to be able to interview the hunter who had shot a man the same day as the shooting - even though the hunter was the Vice President of the US. Tuh. That's what the Secret Service is for, right?

Reading the link Jesurgislac thoughtfully supplied:

7:50-8 p.m.: The Secret Service notifi es Kenedy County Sheriff Ramon Salinas III of the accident. Salinas indicates he would send deputies the next morning around 8.

Saturday evening: Members of the hunting party return to the Armstrong Ranch, where they make calls to check on Whittington’s conditiion and then have dinner. According to Katharine Armstrong, no one suggested publicly releasing the news. At least one sheriff’s deputy shows up at the ranch but is turned away. Deputies are not aware of the earlier conversation between the Secret Service and the sheriff.

Bold mine.

Of course, that's probably contrived narrative that's part of the coverup.

Yes, Slarti, I read that part. Sorry, did I confuse matters by conflating the deputy who assumed he'd be interviewing the hunter the same day as the shooting, with the sheriff who evidently decided not to try?

Sebastian's got a point: it's not really important that no one in the media heard about the shooting till the next day. It makes Cheney look bad, but Cheney evidently doesn't care.

The element of "cover-up", by me, is introduced by the fact that no one from law enforcement got to talk to anyone involved in the shooting till the day after the shooting. Not the eyewitnesses and not Cheney himself. Karl Rove got to talk to Karen Armstrong before Armstrong got to talk to the sheriff.

Now if everything happened just the way Armstrong says it did (plus or minus the disappearance of a few beers) why not interview the same day as the shooting took place?

On the other hand, if there's a coverup, why believe any of what's in the papers? Me, I think Cheney went on a drunken rampage that's been carefully morphed to resemble a chance hunting accident, myself. And ineptly morphed, too, because this administration is all about incompetence. It's got to fit, you see.

And, just to be clear: this is just me being silly in a way that's more cynical than the usual silliness. Pay me no nevermind.

Slarti, if Whittington dies will you stop being silly about Cheney shooting him?

Jes, note that it's not clear Armstrong was an eyewitness - she was well away from the party.

Slart:"why believe any of what's in the papers?"

So the options are to believe everything Armstrong says or disbelieve the date beside the masthead? This from the patenter of "Slartibartfastian pause"?

"Pay me no nevermind." Oops.

No, to be clear, silly times call for even sillier measures. I'm not being silly about Cheney shooting Whittington, I'm responding to some of the extraordinarily silly things being said and done afterward with an even larger measure of silliness.

If I were being serious, the Slartibartfastian pause might be the way to go. I see rilkefan got the message, on preview, so my work here is probably [over-Ed.]done.

I don't think it is all that odd that the police didn't talk to Cheney the next day for an accident where the victim of the accident was concious, alive, and not accusing anyone of it being anything other than an accident. Now if he were dead at that point and the police didn't interview Cheney right away I would be more suspicious. But when all indications point to 'accident' it isn't shocking to schedule for the next day.

Wasn't the victim effectively in Cheney's control, then in an ER and an ICU - hardly in a position to assert himself one way or the other? Did the police even talk to him that evening? Did they know he had a pellet in his liver and one near (in?) his heart?

And of course if you're investigating an incident you want to talk to witnesses before they sober up or get their stories consistent.

And if you're in the VP's entourage, the above should be clear.

And of course, if it were me, I'd probably think to myself first off: as distressing as this is to me personally, this is a matter of grave import to the American press^H^H^H^H^Hpeople, and I should let the press^H^H^H^H^Hpeople know all of the tiniest details straightaway. But maybe that's just me.

Fwiw: I don't think it's a coverup etc. (except, possibly, on the topic of beer.) I just think Cheney is one of those churlish, secretive people whose instinctive response to completely normal requests for information is, basically, "go *** yourself" -- the sort of person one would be tempted to ask: so why did you go into public life again? This is his normal response; it's just more than usually inappropriate and stupid.

I don't even get to fix open tags any more.

My garage door sticks open from time to time; could you have a look at it?

Sure, send me a picutre.

It use to be said that when something repeated itself over and over, it was like a 'broken record'. Is there a modern technological equivelent these days?

Hey, rilkefan, I punched in picutre into Google, and of course got 'Did you mean: picture? Well, of course, of course. But also got 656,000 hits on 'picutre'. I am not alone - take that Farber!

"something repeated itself over and over"

spammer?


Dang, my one snappy comeback of the month, and I mispell it.

I thought that just added an extra dimension to the humor, rilke: we could laugh with you AND at you.

BBM, "like a Philip Glass piece"? Okay, not very modern.

I don't know about a "coverup" but there was certainly some liberty taken with facts. Armstrong's original statement didn't mention the severity of the injuries and the risk associated w/ the injuries. Sure, she isn't a doctor but pithy statements by a Republican fundraiser don't exactly count much towards an official statement.

The tight control of information is no accident, and is designed to tell the American people (not just those ugly journalists) as little as possible without actually informing them of the situation.

My question is - why go through all the damn trouble? Why not just have the treating physician make a statement about the extent of the injuries right after the incident? Why let the hospital beauracrat get it wrong? Why let Armstrong use cute euphemisms to describe what sounds like a pretty serious injury? Why would she blame Whittington?

All this points to the fact that Cheney feels no responsibility to actually tell the truth about the matter, damn the consequences. I mean, did it never occur to them that dribbling out (false) information would make this thing blow up in their face?

"added an extra dimension"

[puts on high-energy-experimentalist hat]
*shudder*

So, we're up to what...twelve, now? Of course, about eight are all twisted up so's they're not doing much, right?*

*IANAP

I don't think it is all that odd that the police didn't talk to Cheney the next day for an accident where the victim of the accident was concious, alive, and not accusing anyone of it being anything other than an accident.

i do.

That doesn't mean that Cheney has handled this well. He hasn't. But he hasn't engaged in a coverup, he and his aides have just been reacting in a way that doesn't acknowledge responsibility properly.

Not to pick on you Sebastian, but I thought I'd highlight this to make a point.

Unfortunately for Cheney and the righties uncomfortable with the media focus on this episode, "doesn't acknowledge responsibility properly" also happens to include making up baloney in order to absolve Cheney of blame. That, my dear friend, also happens to be a cover-up.

It seems clear that there has been considerable disinformation spread by Cheney, et al. -- the apparent reason is to deflect a meaningful analysis of the extent to which this accident was the result of carelessness or recklessness by Cheney. A key fact in this is that there is no way that Cheney was 30 yards from the victim as has been claimed, but probably more like 15 to 30 feet at most. And it also seems clear that Cheney shot him because he recklessly wheeled around in order to shoot blindly to his rear -- nailing Whittington who had to be in plain view. And finally, the initial reports kept downplaying the significance of the injuries inflicted -- unfortunately, as much as he may have wanted to, Whittington has not been able to cooperate with that one.

The secretiveness has also fairly fueled the speculation that some alcohol was involved -- a reasonable one given Cheney's history of alcohol problems. That is why he should have allowed (heck -- encouraged) an early meeting with the local sheriff. The excuse that "a meeting had already been scheduled for the next day" as justification for refusing to meet on Saturday just doesn't cut it -- unless you believe that high Republican officials should be immune from the normal investigatory processes of the law.

Ironically, this episode is akin to Chappiquidick (which was worse because alcohol was clearly involved, resulting in death). Hopefully, Whittington survives and the analogy does not become more apt.

From the overall interests of the nation, it doesn't amount to anything other than a giant window into the shocking lack of decent character in the Veep. That is also a partial reason why this story has some gas -- it mirrors the trend of misbehavior of the Bushies in general, for which Cheney is a key player. But it has gas primarily because its easy and sensational -- and has been horribly mishandled by Cheney, et al.

Righties who are unhappy with the temporary media frenzy over this are thinking like Cheney -- wondering why the usual lying crap doesn't make it go away. The link to Blankley really proves that point.

It use to be said that when something repeated itself over and over, it was like a 'broken record'. Is there a modern technological equivelent these days?

See: "right-wing blog"

Righties who are unhappy with the temporary media frenzy over this are thinking like Cheney

double-mindreading penalty.

Ironically, this episode is akin to Chappiquidick

I'd say it'd be much closer if Cheney had left him lying there bleeding and gone home to sleep it off.

And then, somehow, managed to get reelected for the next four decades or so.

Double cheap-shot penalty, Slarti.

Back at ya.

Actually I think it is shocking to interview Cheney the next day. I'm surprised that there is controversy about this. Accidents are investigated promptly, not when it is convenient for the person who caused the accident to be interviewed. The police did in fact follow the proper protocol and trie to interview Cheney that evening. They were turned away by the Secret Service. There is only one reason that I can think of why the Secret Service would do that--to let the alcohol out of Cheney's system. I suppose Cheney might have said he wasn't in the mood to be interviewed, but that shouldn't have gotten him a special break. Vice-Presidents aren't supposed to be above the law or above legitimate, normal law enforcement protocols.

heet: I mean, did it never occur to them that dribbling out (false) information would make this thing blow up in their face?

Why should it have occurred to them? Dribbling out false information is SOP, and thus far, it's worked for them perfectly well.

Ok, Cheney's interview with Hume sounds ok enough to me, assuming no one can prove he's lying about the 30 yards. I can imagine the Secret Service (couldn't they have picked a name that doesn't acronymate so badly?) turning a guy claiming to be a deputy sheriff away just out of procedure. The whole thing smells bad but that's par for the course with the VP's modus op. Still a ridiculous screw-up, but maybe it's time to get back to Medicare part D and what Muqtada al-Sadr's up to and all the rest.

Bottom line: the first stories that people saw were "Cheney involved in minor hunting accident," not "Cheney shoots and seriously wounds hunting companion." That's worth a lot, because it then allows Republicans to push the idea that Democrats are trying to make political hay by exaggerating the seriousness of the guy's injuries. But before this week, would anyone have seriously argued that a guy in the ICU with shotgun pellets in his chest cavity wasn't seriously hurt?

One beer is one beer too many. There must be some NRA statement to that effect for safe gun handling somewhere.

Back to conspiratorial thoughts:

Armstrong had previously told CNN that she never saw Cheney or Whittington "drink at all on the day of the shooting until after the accident occurred, when the vice president fixed himself a cocktail back at the house."
See Digby.

Deputy sheriff shows up, VP has had a double martini, ...

when the vice president fixed himself a cocktail back at the house

I don't know about you filkefan, but if I had just accidentally shot someone, there would be no need to "fix" a cocktail, it would be straight liquor, no mixer, hell I probably wouldn't even use a glass.

err, rilkefan

I recall an episode of I think _The Practice_ where a guy gets in an car accident after a drink or two and his lawyer tells him to publicly grab a bottle and take a swig so he can say that's why he failed the breath test.

Not saying that's what happened, just another fact which works both ways.

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