Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Missoulian shocked -- shocked! -- by reaction to Cheney shooting

From an editorial in today's Missoulian:
As with all hunting accidents, it was an act of carelessness - no more, no less. Vice President Dick Cheney very carelessly - but accidentally - wounded a companion in the face, neck and chest while quail hunting in Texas on Saturday. But if you really want to see people recklessly shooting mouths off, you need to turn on the TV, check out the blogosphere or - sigh - read the newspapers. [snip] The insinuation, of course, is that there might have been some attempt to hush things up. The tenets of good public relations argue for quick and full disclosure of bad news. Human nature runs to the contrary, however. Nothing could be more embarrassing for a hunter than to shoot someone, and it's doubtful that many things can be more traumatizing than shooting a friend. Why didn't the vice president immediately alert the press? Two words come to mind: chaos and humiliation. How would you react in that situation? Perhaps not unlike Cheney.
While I agree somewhat with the main point of the editorial, that the shooting was an accident, no more, no less, the Missoulian misses on some key issues surrounding the shooting. First of all, human nature not to report to the authorities what you've done? Excuse me? I don't know about the Missoulian editors, but my mother made sure I 'fessed up when I did something wrong and took responsibility for my actions. I don't slink away from my messes. Here's another article on a different hunting accident in Texas: They take hunting accidents seriously in Texas...if you are a ranch hand with a Spanish Surname...
Juan Garza Mendoza, 34, an employee of the ranch, was charged Monday with manslaughter, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.... Mendoza had apparently hit Barrera Vasquez while shooting at a feral hog, and immediately contacted authorities after the shooting, Hurd said. Sheriff Garza said interviews with three of the victim's Mexican traveling companions and the others in the ranch hunting party led him to rule out anything but an accidental shooting. "They mistakenly shot a human being," he said. "It's reckless. It's inexcusable."
What angers me about the shooting is that Cheney used his power as VP to avoid accountibility for the accident. His secret service agents shoo-shooed local authorities away from the scene of the crime. He kept quiet about it for over a day. His aides blamed the victim. Cheney's arrogance is typical of the GOP's attitude toward the rule of law. It was Tom DeLay, after all, when informed by a waitress with lit cigarette in his gob that smoking in a DC restaurant was against the law, said to the waitress, "I am the law." Isn't it good to the be the king?
I still don't understand one thing. Whenever something is hidden or lied about, there's always more controversey than simply telling the truth immediately.

Had Cheney simply reported the accident, called a few reporters, and then apologized publicly, this would be a non-issue.

Instead, we get obsfucation, no apology, and a veep that looks even more like a grumpy, corrupt old man.
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