I love this bit in the NY Times:
"Dick Cheney is one of the most skilled shots I know, and they'll make fun of it forever," said Alan K. Simpson, a former Wyoming senator who is a longtime friend and sometime hunting partner of the vice president.Skilled?
Mr. Simpson, for one, said he was outraged by the media frenzy, and blamed Mr. Whittington for not announcing that he was coming up behind Mr. Cheney in the field, which is protocol.Isn't it also protocol to know what you're shooting at?
And this bit in the Wall Street Journal is priceless. From Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," a partial transcript:
Jon Stewart: "Yes, as you've just heard, a near-tragedy over the weekend in south Texas. Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt at a political supporter's ranch. Making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting VP since Alexander Hamilton.If you don't at least chuckle at this exchange, well, time for you to go back to Comedy 101.
"Hamilton, of course, shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird.
* * *
The other player in the drama? Ranch owner and eyewitness Katharine Armstrong.
Katharine Armstrong: "We were shooting a covey of quail. The vice president and two others got out of the car to walk up the covey."
Jon Stewart: "What kind of hunting story begins with getting out of your car? As I sighted the great beast before us, my shaking hands could barely engage the parking brake. Slowly, I turned off the A/C and silenced my sub-woofers…"
* * *
Katharine Armstrong: "A bird flushed. The vice president took aim at the bird and shot and unfortunately, Mr. Whittington was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty well."
Jon Stewart: "Peppered. There you have it. Harry Whittington, seasoned to within an inch of his life.
* * *
Jon Stewart: "I'm joined now by our own vice-presidential firearms mishap analyst, Rob Corddry. Rob, obviously a very unfortunate situation. How is the vice president handling it?
Rob Corddry: "Jon, tonight the vice president is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Wittington. According to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush.
"And while the quail turned out to be a 78-year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Whittington's face."
Jon Stewart: "But why, Rob? If he had known Mr. Whittington was not a bird, why would he still have shot him?"
Rob Corddry: "Jon, in a post-9-11 world, the American people expect their leaders to be decisive. To not have shot his friend in the face would have sent a message to the quail that America is weak."
Jon Stewart: "That's horrible."
Rob Corddry: "Look, the mere fact that we're even talking about how the vice president drives up with his rich friends in cars to shoot farm-raised wingless quail-tards is letting the quail know 'how' we're hunting them. I'm sure right now those birds are laughing at us in that little 'covey' of theirs.
Jon Stewart: "I'm not sure birds can laugh, Rob."
Rob Corddry: "Well, whatever it is they do … coo .. they're cooing at us right now, Jon, because here we are talking openly about our plans to hunt them. Jig is up. Quails one, America zero.
Jon Stewart: "Okay, well, on a purely human level, is the vice president at least sorry?"
Rob Corddry: "Jon, what difference does it make? The bullets are already in this man's face. Let's move forward across party lines as a people … to get him some sort of mask."