HUNTERS SCOFF AT CHENEY ADVISOR’S CLAIMS
Big Springs, Feb. 14 -
In a survey taken three days after Vice President Dick Cheney’s hunting accident, bird hunters nationwide have scoffed at claims by Cheney advisor Mary Matalin that the Vice President “was not careless or incautious and did not violate any of the rules” when he shot another hunter in his party on a Texas ranch.
“First off,” said Bud Reaser, an Arizona real estate developer, “Harry Whittington may be a tough old bird, but it’s a cardinal rule that you don’t wound a bird and then just keep on hunting. You find the crippled bird and wring its neck.”
Cheney aides insist, however, that the Vice President and a pair of Secret Service men accompanying him spent thirty minutes trampling over every inch of terrain within a fifty-yard radius of where Whittington went down, but were unable to locate the wounded lawyer. “This was rough, brushy cover,” said one of the Secret Service agents. “A crippled old bird like that can conceal himself in spots you wouldn’t believe—just the slightest dip in the ground.”
Earl Nutter, a partner in an Ohio accounting firm, also found fault with the Vice President’s conduct. Said Nutter, “Cheney and his friends failed to discharge a primary obligation of hunters—to dispose of their empties properly. They should have picked up the aluminum cans from their empty six-packs, crushed them, and saved them for recycling. They also should have segregated the beer cans and the empty whiskey bottles, as recycling centers refuse to take mixed materials like that.”
Numerous hunters faulted the Vice President for his long delay in notifying authorities of the shooting. Whittington was reportedly wounded at “about 5:30” on a Saturday evening, and Cheney was not available to meet with officials until fourteen hours later. “Teddy Kennedy only waited six hours to report at Chappaquiddick,” said Nick Rothman, COO of an Indiana turf business.
“I realize that Cheney is considerably older than Kennedy was then,” Rothman continued. “His metabolism is slower, and it takes longer for that stuff to clear out of his system, but fourteen hours is still really excessive. Whenever I shoot a hunting partner, I make it a rule of thumb to check in with the police within ten hours, whether I feel like it or not.”
Despite a rising chorus of protest, however, the Vice President—who was not responsible for any misjudgments about Iraq’s presumed possession of weapons of mass destruction, or errors in asserting a connection between September 11 and Saddam Hussein, or mistakes in claiming Iraq was on the verge of having nuclear capability, or for orchestrating the outing of Valerie Plame—appears not to have been responsible for the Whittington shooting either.
It remains to be seen whether Whittington will be charged in the incident.
© Tony Russell, 2006