I know my brother sometimes reads my site, so I hope he’s reading today, to learn the influence he is having upon the next generation. The scene: The final session of Kate’s “hip-hop dance” class, yet another effort to break up the tedium of Michigan’s endless winter. All the parents are watching. One move is called “your tall uncle” — it’s the one where you point to the upper corner of the room. “Point at your tall uncle!” the instructor hollered, then called for a break.

“My uncle is short,” one kid observed.

“My uncle is tall,” said another.

And then, in the clear, piping voice that has made my small daughter identifiable in crowds her whole life, I hear:


One of the nearby fathers cracked up. It made me recall the last bit of avuncular advice Kate was offered by my brother:

Never bet on baseball.


I don’t know why everyone’s getting all het up about Dick Cheney’s buttertriggerfinger. Hunting accidents like his are pretty common, although I always heard the leading cause of hunting deaths and injuries around here was falling from your tree stand. Bob Knight winged a friend a few years back. Far more interesting is the oh that aspect of the information release, and, of course, the “it’s just a flesh wound” angle, when it turns out the victim stayed in ICU overnight.

Paul Begala has a few thoughts, fairly cogent ones.

Posted at 8:38 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

9 responses to “Winged.”

  1. brian stouder said on February 13, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    I liked the Begala piece. I have been wondering something about the hunting accident, and I thought Begala was headed for it when he said

    “To quote Mary Matalin to vouch for Cheney’s safety, as the Post does, is absurd. I love Mary – she’s married to my best friend. But she was 1500 miles away, drinking a fine Rhone, no doubt.”

    I wonder if Cheney had a drink or two before hunting. It might explain the slowness of reporting things to the authorities.

    463 chars

  2. alex said on February 13, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    Brian, that was the first thought that crossed my mind. My dad, who hunted as a youngster, opined the same. Yeah, those guys were probably shitfaced and needed 24 hours to dry out. That, my dad says, and embarrassment.

    “Aw, c’mon,” I said. “Dick Cheney has never been embarrassed.”

    “Trust me. Anyone who has an accident like this is embarrassed.”

    352 chars

  3. Connie said on February 13, 2006 at 9:40 pm

    But is it time to get out my “Impeach Cheney First” button? It’s around here somewhere.

    88 chars

  4. Danny said on February 13, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    Cheney must belong to the NRA, Not Really Aiming.


    59 chars

  5. brian stouder said on February 13, 2006 at 10:45 pm

    I wonder how these hunts really work.

    For example, if you are in the Secret Service detail – it has to be a nightmare to turn a bunch of codgers (including the VP) loose with loaded shoot’n irons. What if one of the others had (for whatever reason) pointed a loaded firearm at the VP, or even in his general direction? What would the security contingent have done?

    And for that matter, how good can the security be, if THEY didn’t know where everyone with a gun was, at all times?

    The questions outnumber the answers, and the margin is widening

    556 chars

  6. basset said on February 14, 2006 at 9:07 am

    The first rule of hunting safety is that you always assume the gun is loaded. No exceptions, ever.

    The second rule is that you always know what you’re shooting at. Again, no exceptions, ever.

    There are probably as many ways to analyze the VP’s situation as there are points of view, but the bottom line is that if he’d followed standard, basic safety procedures, nobody would have gotten hurt.

    (would insert some lib’rul political opinion here, but it’s just too obvious… )

    488 chars

  7. JRG said on February 14, 2006 at 10:21 am

    There’s an interesting article re this incident by Stephen Hunter in today’s WaPo. A film critic, he is also apparently an experienced hunter, and he portrays the incident in a way that allowed me to visualize it—something other reports hadn’t enabled me to do. Hunter’s writing on other topics doesn’t suggest that he would have a lot in common w/ Cheney in terms of political perspectives, so the picture of Cheney as a skilled hunter who erred doesn’t seem likely to be that of a partisan.

    The article is at

    604 chars

  8. mary said on February 14, 2006 at 10:33 am

    They were selling those buttons in front of my local Trader Joes last night. They move fast around here.

    I know I’m a nasty, lefty cynic, but do you think they wanted to see how messed up Mr. Whittington was before news was released about who was doing the shooting? He was in the ICU, after all. Maybe one of the VP’s cronies was going to take the fall if someone died or was seriously injured? Nah.

    414 chars

  9. MarkH said on February 14, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    To add to Bassett’s comment,

    “Never point your weapon at anything you are not prepared to completely destroy”.

    This didn’t come from a hunters’ safety course (which my son and I have taken), but from a local cop/firearms instructor in a home defense course. While the course was aimed at dealing with use of a firearm, he made a lot of us think about the use of such a weapon, as opposed to say, having a cell phone and pepper spray handy instead. Finality of consequence and all that.

    Out here in the West (yes, right here in Cheney’s home state) hunting is a way of life. You learn at an early age, male or female, all about hunter’s safety and every protocol of proper handling of a firearm. That’s what makes this incident all the more mystifying, as this is how Cheney was raised and presumably conducted himself while in the field.

    I rarely agree with Begala, but he’s right on. Both parties involved bear responsibility in this incident, but Cheney far more so for one reason: he’s the one who decided to fire his weapon. However, there is no excuse for such lack of awareness of other members of your party, by either victim or shooter.

    My 17 year-old son and I are avid target shooters and sometime hunters and are both incredulous at this. I’m sure it would never get out of the building, but there must be a lot of moaning at NRA headquarters these days, “Dick…WTF?! Thanks…thanks a LOT!”.

    1420 chars