Wednesday, February 15, 2006

In the Line of Friendly Fire

The Cheney Shooting Incident narrative has expanded throughout the blogosphere at such a rate that I don’t have to tell you that Harry Whittington, a 78 year old Texan lawyer was "accidentally" shot (with almost 200 bird shot pellets) by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney while they were out hunting quail. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to say. True, it seems wrong to let it pass without a mention in this blog.

I have been using firearms since I was 13 years old and was 15 years old when I got my hunting license. Even at a young age I learned something very important – ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SHOOTING AT BEFORE YOU PULL THE TRIGGER.

This simple rule is the foundation of universal firearm safety and anyone who is in possesion of a firearm needs to adhere to this concept completely in order to act responsibly with it. Further to this you should always be mindful of proper weapons handling; meaning you always point the weapon in a safe direction, you always keep your finger off the trigger until you are prepared to fire, you always visually identify your target and what lies behind it (you never shoot in the direction of sound or movement without being certain of your target) and oh yeah, most importantly, don’t shoot the people you are hunting with (or people in general if you will). If you can’t handle these simple rules then don’t pick up a firearm.

I believe that if you do decide to use a firearm you are responsible completely for it and what you do with it. Hunting isn't a game, it is a serious hobby that has serious ramifications if certain expectations are not observed. I am not comfortable with the way the blame has somehow found itself squarely on Whittington - for sure if any blame is to be assessed against the victim (keep in mind the guy is still in intensive care) it can only be partial at best. Rather let us hold Cheney to be as responsible for his actions as any other private citizen would be held accountable in a similar situation.

For most people just pointing a gun (or even threatening too) at someone is considered a criminal threat, and shooting them is usually punished even if it is considered accidental (negligence, accidental discharging of a firearm, etc) so I don't know why Cheney, who violated every notion of common sense when he "whirled and fired" at the "sound of birds," should be completely absolved of any wrong doing. If he had paid some attention to what he was shooting at this "accident" wouldn't have been too hard to avoid. Observe:

This is a QUAIL

This is a LAWYER

For future reference anyone who might be brave enough to go hunting with Cheney should consider this:


Will said...

I guess I'm the only one who just laughed at this then...

michele said...