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February 14, 2006

Birdshot lodges in Cheney's victim's heart

The AP headline reads "Hunter Shot by Cheney Has Heart Attack" (as of 1:46 PM, on Tuesday).

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- The 78-year-old lawyer who was shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident has some birdshot lodged in his heart and he had a "minor heart attack," a hospital official said Tuesday. [AP]

Mark my words, if Cheney's victim dies, the revisionists will point to this heart attack as evidence that birdshot didn't hurt him that badly after all. They'll say that he was an old guy who had a heart attack after a shock to the system. In fact, the 78-year-old attorney had a heart attack because some of the birdshot lodged in his head, neck, and torso travelled through is bloodstream into his heart. [WaPo]

The White House claims that it wasn't necessary to alert the public about the shooting because the victim's injuries were so minor. Now, it's becoming increasingly clear that he was badly injured from the start. The nature and severity of his injuries may also cast doubt on eye-witness accounts of the incident in which Cheney is alleged to have shot the victim at 30 yards with a 28-guage shotgun.

At any rate, the details of the story are changing faster that the weather in Texas. See Taylor Marsh and Josh Marshall for more details.

ERRATUM: It's highly unlikely that the pellet in the victim's chest travelled anywhere after the initial impact.


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No matter how this story goes, it only reflects on Cheney's competence as a hunter, not as VP. Neatly pushed into the background is Libby's testimony that he was authorized by his superior to release the CIA classified information.

It seems everytime a story emerges, something, like the war on Christmas, an orange alert, or something else comes along to derail it. This time though, it seems the Democrat blogs are dropping the focus on administration corruption in favor of this scintillating, yet in the long run, unimportant story, whereas we should be keeping the focus on the lies that got us into the Iraq war, the exposing of the CIA agent in an effort to discredit Joe Wilson, who pointed out some of the lies that got us into the Iraq war, and the NSA spying, where eavesdropping via computer is occuring without probable cause or reasonable suspicion.

The Dear Deputy Leader has been bit in ass by the karma shark.

If he had come clean in the first place and shown the public some true remorse and concern he wouldn't be in position.

Unless of course he is so arrogant that he still feels he has nothing to apologize for.....

The American public generally seems unable to focus on Important Issues. Maybe just making Cheney the subject of ridicule will do what 100 important, but dry, scandals haven't been able to.

With respect to Mr. Whittington's heart condition, it makes sense that Cheney’s weapons, like that of the Nazgul, contain metal forged in Mordor. So, like the splinter from the ringwraith’s knife, the shot from Cheney’s rifle is working its way toward the heart of its victim.

I disagree. The secrecy reflects on Cheney as a leader. It's likely that he's lying about a lot of critical details surrounding a serious shooting. At best he's being characteristically secretive and acting untrustworthy.

If he's lying and covering up, that's a huge issue. Granted, it's not as big a deal as lying about Libby and Plame or lying about WMDs or any of the countless things Cheney routinely lies about.

However, this case illustrates the perils of secrecy and abuse of power in a very vivid way that everyone can intuitively understand.

No matter how this story goes, it only reflects on Cheney's competence as a hunter, not as VP.

Recklessness with guns could be seen as a indication of recklessness with military policy. The connection is pretty weak, but stronger than, say, the connection between blowjobs and presidential performance.

Accidentally shooting your friend reflects badly on you as a hunter, but not necessarily as a person. You may be at fault for an accident without that necessarily reflecting badly on your character. Of course, recklessness is a serious moral failing when you're responsible for deadly force.

However, covering up a serious firearms accident is a serious crime in and of itself. Using your power as Vice President to cover up a near-fatal accident would be unconscionable.

Recklessness with guns could be seen as a indication of recklessness with military policy.

Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | February 14, 2006 at 03:22 PM

To me, the most important point is how all these plays out. No real information except spins, counter spins, rumor, ever changing story, etc.

If it's accident, then I am pretty sure a clear cut early story will ease the simmering public questions.

What's going on? is it really an accident? why the hard spin? What really happens during the shooting... etc etc... (hence classic cascading blog questions...)

the question that immediately follows is this: why in the blue eyed world would i elect to allow someone i would not hunt with because he's a reckless friend killing son of a bitch order me into battle? for me the answer is no, not me, not my kids either. also disturbing is the use of the secret service detail to contain the police investigators. when i go over the scenario - - private ranch/canned hunt - - betcha there was alcohol involved - - give you odds too - - or, if you didn't want that to come up why didn't you just talk to the cops? it just points to the way these guys go about things, take the shot, oops got your buddy instead of the birdie? it was your buddie's fault - - if he dies is it because he's a terrorist sympathiser?

Maybe the reason the details keep shifting is the fact that reporters are, once again, refusing to do their jobs. Paul Begala over at TPM Cafe has a good story on this.

Anyone who doesn't think that Cheneyco is completely incompetent hasn't been following this story. They've managed to turn a story about a hunting accident into a story about a coverup.

Well, accidents do happen. But, having been brought up by an NRA life member and trained in hunter safety the day I could legally own a gun [age 12...and it was a mail-ordered rifle, yep, I AM old], I know and every person that goes into a field with a loaded gun should know that you simply NEVER should be more ready to pull the trigger than you are to look at your target. Cheney should be pulled down, shamed and cast out for his intened killings, not his careless woundings. At this point, I, as a tax payer and citizen who wants a decent future for his kids, his country and his planet, am no longer choosey how we get rid of this creep.

I have to admit that the administration's history with telling the truth has me wondering if Wittington is even alive anymore...and I despise cynicism.

Unless a tiny BB shot rolled down a large vein into the region of the heart, this news tells me that the shot was way closer than 30 yards (unless these buck-os are shooting in the buff- or shirtless). I'm picking up a Deeper Meaning to all this... think I'm gonna have to review that zany 30s version of "Dick Whittington's Cat" for clues and hidden messages, re the Future of the Republic... ^..^

Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove should all go hunting together :)

This poor guy literally took a bullet (well, alright, pellets) for the Bush team. This is pathetic. Self-satire.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times has a helpful video on line showing the shot pattern of a 28-gauge at 90 feet. About 200 pellets get delivered in a pretty compact area.


Majikthese has arrived at the scene. Some pretty high position wingnut is reading this blog.

good call on the wingnut line to come--from Dickerson's article at Slate:

"Forty-five minutes after it was reported that Cheney's victim (that's what the police report called him) suffered a mild heart attack as a result of the pellets in his system from the vice president's Perazzi shotgun, I was getting e-mails from Cheney supporters arguing that it was no big deal because Whittington might already have had a heart condition."

The guy dies, Cheney's gone - he'll resign and Bush will be glad to be rid of him; he's been in the doghouse a while now, and this would be as good an excuse as any to ditch him.

There is a clip with Bill Maher on Crooks and Liars website entitled Bill Maher on Cheney. I agree with Bill, that there was 3 stories this week, and this shooting is the least significient.

"The guy dies -- Cheney's gone." Don't count on it. These guys have no shame.

This is a funny story if you like dark humor, so let's all blog it to death, but I just don't think it's an important story.

Just because Cheney is careless with a gun doesn't mean he's a bad Vice President, and none of this makes Bush a bad President.

Also, neither of those guys will be running in 2008.

Re .."a funny story if you like dark humor, so let's all blog it to death, but I just don't think it's an important story.."-
I disagree. The community of hunters (NRA or not), whom Cheney wooed with his "wink, wink/ nudge, nudge" sneer at John Kerry's goose hunt in Ohio last Fall are generally people who exercise a fairly traditional, "upright" sense of fair play and justice (of a pragmatically aligned sort). The ass-covering obfuscations and secrecy and deviousness, with just a trickle of "lip service" remorse isn't going to sit well with a lot of these people. It won't be a "big deal" on its surface; but the rankling in the hearts of these (mostly) men may prove to resemble the "low grade" heart attack that has afflicted Mr. Whittington, and militates against them acting as the "dittoheads" that Bush, Cheney & Co have come to expect from them... ^..^

This is going to be the biggest joke punchline against gun/hunting EVER advocate EVER.

Everytime they make "bla bla" gun..."bla bla" all people has to do is scoff and say "yeah, and tell that to Cheney" now move over. yer boring me.

My next mor important question. When will Cheney invite Bush and scalia to his hunting trip?

Okay so the rightwing is spinning hard trying to minimize this story.

this is hilarious. (also notice, how only today they implement the "damage control" Media move. (oh, it's a small scrape, minor heart attack, no problemo, can we move on now? privacy, privacy.)

And we got some serious wingnut operatives start posting here. (the smooth talker with subtle rationale one. instead of the regular shouting morons)

As of this minute, I am taking position, Cheney is hiding something major. Some pretty big negligence. The amount of spinning done the the wingnut crws is pretty impressive, and actually increasing. So they are putting more energy into damage control media moves.

Would the weapon and ammunition Dick Cheney shot have the force to imbed pellets near Whittington's heart at 30 yards? A hunter wears a decent amount of clothing over the chest, remember. So these pellets would have to have pierced his clothing, his skin and then lodged inside the body cavity, somewhere near or around his heart. The shot came from the right and the heart is on the left so that might add to the amount of tissue needing to be traversed -- but without more specifics that's hard to know for sure. That takes a decent amount of force at 30 yards. Any thoughts from our TPM hunters and clinicians?

Hope Josh will forgive me for snagging an extended quote, but this is really something that has been bugging me as well.

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