It is too early to officially claim this is a cover-up, but it sure stinks of it, and the press is hot on the scent:
The more than 18-hour delay in news emerging that the Vice President of the United States had shot a man, sending him to an intensive care unit with his wounds, grew even more curious late Sunday. E&P has learned that the official confirmation of the shooting came about only after a local reporter in Corpus Christi, Texas, received a tip from the owner of the property where the shooting occurred and called Vice President Cheney’s office for confirmation.
The confirmation was made but it is not known for certain that Cheney’s office, the White House, or anyone else intended to announce the shooting if the reporter, Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, had not received word from the ranch owner.
Why not report an accidental shooting, as no one on the planet thinks the Veep was busting a cap in an 80 year old blue blood out of anger. This is simply emblematic of this administration- the desire for secrecy and loyalty always trumps doing the right thing and good, plain common sense.
It bugs me that he won’t even take responsibility for shooting his own gun – instead, send a spokesman to say it was the guy’s fault for coming up from behind without announcing himself. Do they really think that if they never, ever admit to making a mistake, that more than a few slavish Bushbots will actually believe they can do no wrong?
Karl was on vacation and couldn’t be immediately reached to formulate how to make it the fault of the shootee.
‘Why not report an accidental shooting’
To avoid the pending media frenzy over what is likely to be a minor event?
‘send a spokesman to say it was the guy’s fault for coming up from behind without announcing himself’
Well, from what I’ve read, the dude did not announce himself. But Cheney also violated rule #4 of gun safety.
No, it’s an accident. What’s there to be a frenzy over?
Now, if Dick had invited Michael Moore or John Kerry out for some huntin’, and there’d been an accident, we’d have reaosn to be suspicious.
Bob In Pacifica
Cheney came into office with a reputation for drinking, along with two DUI convictions. Hit-and-run drivers tend to wait for a day until they turn themselves in so as to get the booze out of their bloodstream. I would be curious if the hospital followed the law and immediately reported to the police that they had admitted a gunshot victim. Does anyone in Texas have the balls to turn in the Vice President? Does any Texas Ranger have the balls to ask Cheney to take a breathalyzer?
However, it did momentarily distract me from the testimony of Libby, that Cheney had ordered him to illegally disclose classified information in order to bolster the war effort.
But John Kerry would be worse.
But the Democrats would be worse.
But it’s Clinton’s fault.
But Hillary is evil.
The Disenfranchised Voter
That’s John’s whole point. It was an accident, so trying to keep it hush hush is a pretty freakin’ stupid idea.
Thus, it is the dumbest cover-up ever.
Seriously. They seem to prefer being shady–even when they could be nice and clean and open about things.
Bob In Pacifica
By the way, how come my post has that “Your comment is awaiting moderation” thing stuck on it?
You’re right, John. As much as I support this administration, I often shake my head at their reclusiveness and arrogance. I would like for McClellan to write a memoir about his days in office to get a glimpse into what we suspect already as a very paranoid group.
Is there a possibility that charges could be laid for negligence or something like that, though? If so, that would be a reason to try to cover it up. (Not that Cheney would ever actually see the inside of a courthouse, but he’d just prefer to not have to sully himself that way, I’m sure.)
You must have been posting from a new IP, and your first comment from that IP needed to be approved.
Where are all the Second Amendment fans from that other thread? I’d sure like to know whether it’s common for hunters to spin around and shoot at ground level, and if someone happens to be behind you “unannounced,” then oh well they get shot in the face.
Of course it’s just an accident. That’s all the more reason to just take responsibility and be done with it.
I think Scottie’s memoirs would simply be repetitions of “I’m not going to comment on an ongoing investigation” and “I think we’ve already addressed that, Helen.” And a lot of blank pages to reflect the blank stares.
The Disenfranchised Voter
Dick Cheney Quail hunting game
The likelihood of criminal charges is quite low, particularly since I’m not even sure if it’s a crime to shoot someone in Texas. Could you file a civil suit, sure, but you’d like to think Cheney would pick up the guy’s medical bills as a matter of course. Either way, it makes no difference if you announce it to the media, unless you think the guy won’t realize he’s been shot unless he reads it in the paper.
Oh, sorry. That’s right. First thing you do when a friend gets put in the hospital with a gunshot wound is hold a press conference.
Does it occur to anyone that if Cheney’s first response had been to immediately work up press releases that this would have been much worse?
“It is not known for certain?” Well, I guess that nails it, right?
This isn’t a coverup. As far as I can see, nobody actually told anyone to keep the news out of the papers. It’s just that nobody down there put a high priority on making a media circus out of it while somebody was recovering in the hospital.
FDL last night deconstructed the language of the ranch’s statement and decided that it had a healthy dose of PR: The victim was ‘”sprayed” or “peppered” with “small shotgun pellets.” It “knocked him silly.” He was “telling jokes.” Certainly not wounded.. no! He was in “VERY stable” condition, as I just heard on CNN. That’s even better than stable!
And you can hardly blame them, I think. I’m more perplexed by the blame-the-victim meme going around, particularly by Matalin. By now I admit that I have no clue how an ordinary American thinks, but seriously, isn’t he making himself look terribly by denying what common sense tells us — that the shooter in a hunting accident is responsible for what he did?
Okay, I know, we should wait until we find out whether the CIA is responsible for giving Cheney bad intelligence on the quail.
Leaky Dick doesn’t like being laughed at. It makes him feel uncomfortable.
A great man should not be made the butt of unkind jokes.
The Disenfranchised Voter
How about a public apology to the guy, moron?
You party apologist wackos never cease to amaze me.
Ditto. I bet he’d have a lot of tales to tell. I’ve felt sorry for that poor bastard on more than one occasion. It can’t be easy being the spokesthingy for a group that sees openness and transparency as anathema.
I heard the he shot him in the face and chest. Unless it was an accidental distcharge that was one hell of a whoops.
This is exactly the kind of reflexive urge to defend whatever the administration does that I think John was fishing for when he made this post. Seriously, John, good job, this is great stuff.
I’m with Otto. I think Scottie’s already been lobotomized. The guy’s gonna need years of therapy to rediscover his own thought processes.
Of course, it’s possible that he’s evil in a deceptively dull package. In which case, let’s find him the sex partner of his choice and let the videotaped blackmail begin!
Meanwhile, every post I’ve read from hunters today says that the shooter always takes responsibility. Will Cheney?
It sounds pretty petty to complain about an 18 hour delay.
As usual, it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. Has anyone found out if this trip was another one of those “shooting pheasants in a barrel” trips?
No, it’s not. Hunters take gun safety *very* seriously. If things went down as described, Cheney is an idiot. A dangerous idiot with a gun. As a Second Amendment fan, the blame the victim game really gets on my nerves. The person pulling the trigger is always at fault.
Some speculation at FDL:
Will a modern shotgun go off if dropped?
Pb: I believe it was a quail hunt set-up on the urban “drive-by” model.
The quail were Crips, Dick and his fellow sportsmen were Bloods.
Picture a bunch of fat white guys in a Hummer waving guns out the windows.
Apparently, it was. They put the fish in a barrel, and Cheney still manages to shoot a fellow hunter. Priceless.
I think that he would have an icepick to the head before he could enjoy his earnings. No one goes off the plantation and lives to tell about it.
Two birds with one shell: First, ignore the fact that Cheney has a large staff; second, distract from the near-certainty that Cheney has had press minders managing this from the beginning. See above for meticulous parsing of the statement; also, it’s pretty clear that official Washington knew about this on Sunday morning. You can’t tell me that Howard Dean compared Cheney to Aaron Burr, on the same day he shot a man, just as a lucky coincidence.
Um, I think it’s Rule #1 of gun safety based on the NRA guidelines…
For all we know the guy was standing where he was supposed to be standing, and Cheney went all spastic with the rifle. The deal is, no matter what, the shooter is the one pulling the trigger, thus the shooter is responsible period. You don’t blame the victim here.
I think the reason they didn’t want to report this, although it doesn’t make sense for the property owner to go and ‘leak it’ to the local press, was that even if this was an accident this could be investigated as a criminal matter. Isn’t there state law requiring even accidental hunting incidents be investigated, and aren’t there penalties for misfiring and shooting someone? The cover-up is because even a misdemeanor charge on this could cause major problems for Cheney and the White House…
What’s a 28 guage birdshot spread at 30 yards (that’s how far they say he was now)?
It could be a coincidence. I mean, they do have a lot in common besides shooting people.
Burr killed Alexander Hamilton, while Cheney’s busy destroying the government that Alexander Hamilton helped create.
Otto Man, that’s quoting from an old news story, though–check the date, December 9, 2003. Not that it isn’t still despicable (cue Daffy Duck) or anything, but I’m wondering specifically about the more recent alleged hunting trip.
Sock Puppet, re:Cheney and friends pointing their shotguns out of the hummer etc.–someone really needs to photoshop that. :)
It would if the saftey was off and his finger was on the trigger. And instead of dropping the gun he fell down.
Is Cheney a big enough moron for that to happen? I wouldn’t bet against it.
As I said in another post. My problem with this is that this administration takes no responsibility, and their first instinct is to deny / lie and blame the victim.
Spread assuming it was #8 shot, which if memory serves, would be about right. Just trying to figure out if the alleged distances and wound description match up.
Correct me where I go astray. I haven’t spent my day looking at this story. It seems like Cheney did something stupid, and then didn’t want anyone to know, even though everyone knew that it would come out soon. But, is this the story?
The guy was walking up behind Cheney, ‘unannounced’ (instead of sneaking up behind hunters and prey and yelling ‘here’s johnny’). Birds fly in front of Cheney, he follows one, does a 180, shoots, and hits his friend. That is what I read, is it right?
If it is, then he raised his gun, followed a flying bird (I assume it flew over his head) in the air, then continued to follow it all the way down to the point that he could shoot a man in the torso, 3 feet from the ground.
I don’t care about the cover up, I just don’t think this man gets to hunt anymore. He shot at ground level behind him while hunting in a group. Idiot.
My mistake! Thanks for the catch.
Maybe Cheney was scared to be out there in the wild, where the pheasants haven’t been housebroken yet.
srv: From firedoglake,
Are they admitting Cheney wheeled around? I thought the story was that the septuagenarian ran out in front of the group. I know, pretty weird.
National Journal’s Hotline:
So was the report delayed and the police blocked from talking to Vice President Dick “2 DUIs” Cheney to allow him to sober up?
Ok, some think it’s not a big story. Although it is the only instance in my memory of a Vice President shooting anyone while in office since Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton back in 1804….
What are the odds of having a President with one DUI and a Vice President with two DUIs in office at the same time? Has this happened before?
The shooting and the convictions are both interesting bits of info for the history books and a future release of Trivial Persuit.
Cheney finally shot something that wasn’t caged up waiting to be shot.
5 deferments. Hunts caged birds. Shoots his friends.
Give that guy a presidential medal of freedom and full responsibility for our safety. Democrats are wussies.
The Other Steve
NO! The first thing you do is call the sheriff.
Hell, in most cities, a guy shows up at the hospital with gunshot wounds, the hospital calls the police.
The police investigate, find out what happened, and decide whether anything criminal involved. Even accidents can have criminal charges if they are the result of negligence. For instance the charge of Manslaughter may be applicable.
Last I checked we’re still a Nation of Laws, even if the Bushies do want to change that with their new Aristocracy.
Here in Texas we average 1 accidental shooting per 100,000 hunters registered in the state.
Looks like Cheney hit the trifecta!
Let’s hope the VP finds time to take an NRA gun safety course.
If his dues are paid up that it..
The Other Steve
My God, I hope that’s not true.
Nobody can lick our Dick.
Until I hear more, this (the coverup) is a non-story. There is no there there aside from innuendo. “It is not clear” is such a vague phrasing, and proves way too much.
McClellan also confirmed that Rove and Card were both involved early. So much for tbrosz’s theory of the heroic Cheney refusing to involve his personal concerns in the crisis.
At least Mary Matalin clears things up for us:
So he felt bad and all, but he didn’t do anything wrong. How very nice.
Good thing the police are on the case:
They were looking out for Mrs. Armstrong’s feelings, not trying to cover up for the Vice President.
Charlie Gibson makes a good point to Kathryn Garcia, the reporter who broke the story:
Hell, just go read the whole damn article: Shoots, Hides, Leaves
Now I can shut up and let y’all comment on this non-story.
I posted this elsewhere, but wanted to mention here what I found in the state statute:
So the question is, why didn’t Cheney and his people report this up
front, to begin with? What did they want to hide? Or are they so
accustomed to spinning/hiding everything that they just went straight
to cover-up mode?
Would that apply to invading other countries and starting wars, too?
There’s a post on TalkLeft confirming that a non-fatal shooting does not require an investigation, and indeed, that one is not being done.
An interesting blogspheric aspect of this story is all the comments I’ve seen on other blogs claiming that getting “peppered” on bird hunting trips happens all the time.
And you still go hunting with these idiots??
This is almost poetic – Dick Cheney pulling the trigger without making sure its a clear shot.
The daily press gaggle (41 mins) features Scotty Mclellan quacking about the shooting from the very first question (about one minute in).
He starts out by saying they wanted to be focussed on making sure the victim was getting the proper medical care rather than releasing the story to the public. LOL. Again and again Scotty always claims that only one thing can be done at a time: it’s either get medical care or report the story. Like you can’t do both at the same time.
Listen to Scotty go quack quack quack. Here’s a RealPlayer video link (Firefox users may need to copy and paste the link into RealPlayer). He is truly a sight to behold.
Correct. Thus, the ubiquitous MASH units and constant stream of helicopters ferrying the wounded out of the hunting zones.
In fact, the guy Cheney hit this time is known around the area as “Old Buckshot-Head.”
The really funny thing was that Scotty was trying to claim that it was appropriate for the landowner to release the story to the press. wtf? Anyone in PR will tell you that you always want to control the story. Releasing it through another party is absurd.
Getting peppered is when someone shoots a shotgun in the air and some of the pellets end up falling on you. It happens.
Needless to say, you don’t end up in the ICU with face and neck wounds from “getting peppered,” but you shouldn’t expect precise language from the guy who said the insurgency was in its last throes.
Cheney: Wanna know what I’m buyin’ Ringo?
Cheney: Your life. I’m givin’ you that quail so I don’t hafta kill your ass. You read the Bible?
Harry: I’m a lawyer. What do you think?
Cheney: Good point. But there’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the donors through the valley of porkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost loopholes. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my campaign contributors. And you will know I am the Unitary Executive when I lay my vengeance upon you. I been sayin’ that shit for years. Especially at chicken suppers hosted by Militias. And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never really questioned what it meant. I thought it was just a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before you popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some cartoons this mornin’ made me think twice. Now I’m thinkin’: it could mean you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. Shotgun here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of porkness. Or it could be you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. Especially Al Qaeda and Saddam. And Iran. Also France. Maybe I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the big donor. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Harry. I’m tryin’ real hard to—”
Cheney: Ah, goddammit!
Harry: Arghhh! My face! You shot my face!
Cheney: Somebody call Rove. We’ll say he fell while eating a pretzel on a mountain bike or something. It’s worked before.
It’s never happened to me or anyone in my party in literally thousands upon thousands of shells expended.
Where are you guys hunting? Times Square?
You always want to control the story. Always, always, always. It’s already hard enough to control even when you’re the one in charge of it.
Apparently, the Secret Service did indeed prevent Texas lawmen from talking to the Veep:
However, I think we’re overlooking the wartime power of the executive to hunt humans. I’m sure we’ll hear some mealy mouthed apologia about how Cheney is only hunting hobos, but really, what if Osama were to show up on the Whitehouse lawn?
Ricard, Andrew, thanks for the links.
If you’re hunting quail in Texas, it is pretty common to have a 180 degree arc, and to be shooting low to the ground. If you know how shotguns are used to hunt birds, you know that you lead the bird, pull the trigger, and most importantly, maintain the barrel movement through the arc of the shot. So, I can easily see this happening, especially if the guy had walked off to pick up a downed quail of his own and was walking back to the group. I don’t hunt quail anymore, but when I did, I never did it in groups bigger than two for this very reason. It would be nerve-wracking if you don’t know your hunting partner well, because you’re contantly in motion trying to walk the covies up (that is to say, not in a blind, as you would be for duck, geese, or dove.)
It’s also not unusual in Texas to not call the high sheriffs after a hunting accident, unless there’s a dead body, especially on big spreads among friends.
(You are not free to consider this apologia for Big Dick Cheney.)
It’s also possible the man snuck up on Cheney while on an industrial-strength pogo stick. That’s about the only way I could see it could even be partially his fault, because otherwise Cheney took a shot at ground-level while blind. I would think they would emphasize not doing that during bird hunting that requires tracking your target…
It wasn’t a delayed report, it was a deferral of a report. Just another deferral.
A pity the deferral prevented a breathalyzer reading.
So the veep had a medical team in handy attendance. Does he go everywhere with it? At his or taxpayers’ expense?