Dick Cheney's Hunting Fiasco

Posted on February 13, 2006

Most people thought it was some kind of joke because it's almost exactly like the quail hunting scene in Wedding Crashers starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, but it turned out to be true: Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his lawyer in the face while they were hunting quail on Saturday.

Luckily for the nearly 80 year old attorney, Harry Whittington, Cheney is in such poor health that he travels with a full medical team and has instant access to an ambulance. Whittington was helicoptered to a hospital in Corpus Christi on Saturday evening, and was still in the ICU as of Sunday evening. The hospital listed his condition as "stable," which is one step down from "good." The Austin attorney reportedly was sprayed in the face, neck and chest with buckshot.

Kathryn Armstrong, the daughter of the owners of the ranch where Cheney was hunting tried to downplay the incident. She told reporters that "This is something that happens from time to time. You now, I've been peppered pretty well myself," which leads to the inevitable question: is she insane? It "happens from time to time"? Yeah, I've heard of accidents like this happening, but only when everyone in the hunting party has had a few too many cocktails. After all, if you're sober and in broad daylight, a quail breaking cover from the ground and a 6' tall white guy don't look much alike.

Notice that a) the story wasn't reported until 24 hours after the accident occurred and that b) Ms. Armstrong's statement blames the victim. But anyone who's taken a hunting safety course knows that if you have a weapon it is your job to know where your fellow hunters are at all times.

Of course the jokes have already started: "It took 40 years, but Cheney finally saw some action." "Good thing he got those 5 deferments to get out of going to Viet Nam: otherwise his platoon would never have made it back alive." Cartoons showing Cheney as Elmer Fudd the Hunter are also starting to surface. Let's hope that Mr. Whittington makes a full recovery. And that he declines the next hunting invitation he receives from the Vice-President.