Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Rant

Ah, so now the White House is blaming the man Dick Cheney shot--er, pardon me, I mean "peppered"--in the face while on his prepackaged slaughterfest--oh, I do apologize; I meant to say "legitimate quail hunt"--over the weekend. Can no one in this administration except Brownie own up to his errors? If you have ever taken a gun safety course or spent time, as I have, shooting with experienced hunters, law enforcement officers, or infantry combat leaders, you know that the absolute first rule of firearms is to keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times. The second rule is to never fire until you have acquired your target and the rest of your line of sight is clear. You look, look, look with your weapon on safe and your finger off the trigger. You never wheel 180 degrees to shoot a bird at shoulder level, especially when one of your hunting party has left the sight line.

They blame the guy for coming up behind Cheney unannounced. Wellllllllll, when you're rejoining your group, the safest way to do that is to approach from the rear. You don't circle around and walk into their line of fire. You also don't come up yodeling, because if you prematurely flush a bird or a covey, someone might just shoot you for being such an asshole. Approaching from the rear is the safe thing to do because hunters with a brain in their heads only shoot within the line of sight, i.e., forward, and bird hunters are supposed to carry at no less than 45 degrees to minimize the risk of an accidental discharge injuring a dog or an idiot who's wandered too far forward of the line.

I don't see how you sugarcoat this. The nimrod ranch woman who tried to downplay the incident--oh, we've all been peppered before, ha ha ha, oh, it's not like it got in his eyes or anything, tee hee--is repulsive. If it happened as spun, Cheney is at best grossly negligent and dangerous in the field. She said he didn't do anything wrong? Well, bzzzzt, sorry, try again. He violated the key rule that says you don't shoot until you know what you're shooting at, and that you're shooting in a safe direction for the rest of your party. He was tracking wildly in complete disregard for the rest of his party. If it didn't happen that way? If the man was much closer than the official account states, say 10-15 yards instead of 30? You know, a close distance that would explain the tight hit pattern on his neck and face, enough to land him in ICU for more than 24 hours? That would make an accidental discharge more likely, probably the result of carrying the gun with the safety off, pointed in an unsafe direction, with his finger on the trigger.

Why the White House believes the first kind of negligence is preferable to the second escapes me. These are supposed to be the good ol' huntin' and ranchin' boys, aren't they? The kinds of guys who don't have their heads up their asses when it comes to handling firearms? Who should all know the rules taught religiously by their friends the NRA (who have been curiously silent)? Are they counting on most Americans not understanding hunting safety and etiquette to the point that they'd swallow this story blaming the man who got shot instead of properly blaming the man who pulled the trigger? Think they would have handled things the same if it had been John Kerry or Al Gore instead of Cheney?

Who ya crappin?

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