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The Firearms Waiting Period
No, that's not the waiting period to buy a gun. If you're Dick Cheney, that's the time you take until you get around to reporting you've shot somebody. From a letter in the IHT:

Let's be honest here: As someone who learned to hunt pheasants and quail by the time I was seven years old, the concept that I could shoot someone in the face with an imported Italian shotgun without being investigated by the local sheriff is beyond belief. One rule for the kings, another for the peasants who day by day realize we live in a state more closely resembling the former Soviet Union than the America we grew up in and love. Will Affleck-Asch, Seattle

And, by the way, I'm pro-Second Amendment, as in, I'm for the right to bear arms -- such as a rifle or a handgun for self-protection, and for the reasons it was included in the Constitution ("well-armed militia," blah blah blah, should the need for citizen armament ever arise). I do not, however, think your right to bear arms means you should get to own 26 Uzis.

Posted by aalkon at February 17, 2006 9:33 AM

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This letter says the reader doesn't know about jurisdiction. If you think a local Sheriff can arrest or even impede someone from the Senate on up, think again. Early on, it was recognized that Senate votes could be influenced by simply preventing them from appearing at the Capitol building. Thus, no local police force may apprehend or even impede an officer of the Senate. You'll notice that the VP is one of these.

So, now: try to figure out yourself just who you report such an accident to: the Governor of the state? The state police?

So far as limitations on weapons possessions go, such ideas are interesting to me, because the list of atrocities committed by police - yes, American police - is pretty long, and they don't have any trouble accumulating arsenals because of the "snow job" going on about police protection. Warren v. DC puts the lie to that con, but people don't know about it. Steven Spielberg owns one of the finest collections of WW2 arms there is, including dozens of machine guns. It makes him one of the 250 thousand-or-so Americans who legally own real machine guns - and who stay out of the sensationalist media, eager to sell Kleenex.

People have this idea that they got from the movies - that a lot of guns makes you more effective than one gun. Meanwhile, the most effective killers in history, professional snipers, use bolt-action rifles.

Posted by: Radwaste at February 17, 2006 4:02 AM

I think it's ridiculous that people think the story is how long Cheney waited to tell us about it. The story is that the Vice President fucking SHOT a guy. That Pelosi can only make fartlike noises about the administration's patterns of secrecy shows how dim the Democrats are.

This was stupid, pathetic, arrogant and clumsy behavior, and Cheney deserves all the shame and embarassment it will inevitably come to him. I wish Dems had the focus to help bring it.

Posted by: Crid at February 17, 2006 10:06 AM

The dems can't be the ones to bring this up. It would be some sort of violation of an unwritten code between everyone who reaches the level of Congress to let shit like this go.

We have to rely on the press; and luckily Cheney is a secretive, abusive guy and has been a total prick to the press for years. So I hope they are like a bunch of pitbulls and never let go; Cheney deserves it.

But I know this will go away eventually.

I do feel sorry for the poor bastard that Cheney shot.

But I am positively GLEEFUL that at the end of this miserable administration, everything is spinning down the frigging toilet for a man who will go down in history as the most incompetent man ever to sit in the oval office.

Posted by: Jim_M at February 17, 2006 10:39 AM

> everything is spinning down the frigging
> toilet for a man who will go down in history
> as the most incompetent

THE most incompetent? Are you sure? A month or so ago, I tried to compose a ranking of the 10 presidents in my lifetime. The list was very, very crowded at the bottom. Kennedy almost killed us all with a clumsy nuclear exchange, and that gives him a special category. Reagan was taunted mercilessly for many of the same things that Bush 43 is. But at the end of the day the USSR was gone, and he'd been right all along.

I think you're making an important and disturbing point. Nowadays presidential politics demands that people make these very nuanced interpersonal judgments about people, because that all they make time to make, and the media make that an easy path to choose. So no matter how events swirl around these guys, people want to hang on to those first judgments. Bush 43 is stupid; Clinton's just a horndog; Bush 41 was preppy, Reagan was an aloof actor.

People who compose their entire political outlook around the personality of one man, por or con, are making a mistake.

Posted by: Crid at February 17, 2006 11:17 AM

The lead story on CNN.com right now is "Shooting victim apologizes to vice president."

"CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (CNN) -- Harry Whittington said Friday he was sorry for what Dick Cheney and his family have 'had to go through' after the vice president shot him in a weekend hunting accident."

I know these guys are pals, but if I was in the hospital with a heart attack and bullet wounds in my face, the first thing on my mind would not be the pain and suffering of the moron who shot me... unless I was pondering ways to inflict it.

WTF is wrong with these people? It's not healthy to be so devoted to another person that you apologize to them for shooting you. The slavish devotion of Bush-Cheney's supporters, and the mass media's complete failure to call any of them on it, is really starting to frighten me. And I'm a lifelong conservative.

Posted by: Gary at February 17, 2006 2:21 PM

Garry's right. It's like two little boys who burned down a warehouse. It doesn't matter that Tommy brought the matches, but Billy actually struck one. Considering the humiliation these two clowns have brought to the country, their feelings about each other are not so important.

Posted by: Crid at February 17, 2006 3:30 PM

>Their feelings about each other are not so important.

Yeah really. The media is oddly concerned about the trivia of this event: the delay in reporting, the feelings of the victim, and (smoking gun here) whether or not Cheney drank a Bud Light earlier in the day.

Um, hello? If Bush Junior chokes on another pretzel, this man becomes the leader of the free world. As it is he's a former Secretary of Defense, and has a lot of say in U.S. foreign policy. And he can't manage a quail hunting trip?

Posted by: Gary at February 17, 2006 7:14 PM

Radwaste writes:

This letter says the reader doesn't know about jurisdiction. If you think a local Sheriff can arrest or even impede someone from the Senate on up, think again. Early on, it was recognized that Senate votes could be influenced by simply preventing them from appearing at the Capitol building. Thus, no local police force may apprehend or even impede an officer of the Senate. You'll notice that the VP is one of these.

So, now: try to figure out yourself just who you report such an accident to: the Governor of the state? The state police?

Are you fucking nuts???? Have you, at long last, gone completely out of your mind?????

Oh, well, no one can arrest the Vice President, so I guess if he accidentally shoots a U.S. Citizen, we just shouldn't tell anyone. Poor Dick Cheney. I can see him right now... "Oh, gosh. I just accidentally shot my hunting partner in the face. But no one can arrest me, so I guess I better not tell anyone. Oh, woe is me."

Posted by: Patrick at February 18, 2006 10:27 AM

I have a lot of trouble with the idea that some people cannot understand what an accident is. I have already explained the difficulty of determining what jurisdiction to report this to. Now, perhaps, some of you will look around at other hunting accidents and see what has happened in those cases.

This has absolutely nothing to do with how competent anyone is in public office, and those of you who profess that should be ashamed at your lack of ability to discriminate such issues.

Posted by: Radwaste at February 18, 2006 7:58 PM

> to do with how competent
> anyone is in public office

Maybe... If we were talking about the mayor of San Antonio or a state senator from Oklahoma. But we're talking about the Veep here.

Imagine this story had come out of China, or Russia, or any nation in Africa, or most in South America. And imagine how it's been perceived among less-sophisticated news consumers globally. "The VP shot a guy... But he says it was just a hunting accident!"

Riiiiiiiiight...

Raddy, when your administration already has a (faulty) reputation for bloodthirst;

When "cowboy" imagery is at the core of much criticism of it, no matter how bogus;

When your career has included faithful service in the most corrupt White House in history, namely Nixon's;

When you've had two drunken drunken driving arrests;

When you've had four serious cardiac events;

When your practice of the sport includes DRIVING to approach pen-raised game;

When you've already shot a bird for dinner, effectively punching your ticket as regards the morality of the hunt....

WHAT POSSIBLE EXCUSE COULD BE OFFERED FOR THIS HUMILIATION?

It would be wrong to say I was a fan of the guy, but until last Monday a lot of sins were forgiven. No more.

Posted by: Crid at February 19, 2006 1:31 AM

>>Some people cannot understand what an accident is

On the contrary: I think you fail to understand the seriousness of the situation.

When you are around firearms and other human beings, there is no room for "accidents." When accidents happen on the hunting range, people die. It is irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

Which is what really disappoints me about this incident. To be fair to Dick Cheney, he's been something of a stand-up guy about it, accepting responsibility when it was entirely his fault.

But the responses we've seen, especially from the victim, fail to acknowledge the reality of the situation -- that men in various leadership positions were hunting without adequate safety precautions.

This is irresponsible under any circumstances. And when one of those involved happens to be a current Vice President and former Secretary of Defense -- positions that wield tremendous influence over military actions -- it's completely inexcusable.

Posted by: Gary at February 19, 2006 8:43 PM

Radwaste writes:

I have already explained the difficulty of determining what jurisdiction to report this to.

How about to the authorities in the area that the victim lives in????? The police do not have just a duty to arrest the perp, to be rendered null and void should the perp happen to be Vice-President. They have a duty to the victim. Insurance purposes, for example. And should Cheney eventually be forced to answer for his actions to an appropriate authority, we now have a police record that can be subpoenaed as evidence.

Just... unbelieveable. Totally unbelieveable.

It's just so mind-boggling that you seem to think that an accident report to the authorities would serve no purpose since they don't have the authority to arrest Cheney. Is that truly the only purpose that you can possibly think of for a police report documenting this horrible accident?

Posted by: Patrick at February 20, 2006 7:48 AM

Correction: my earlier comment should have read "Cheney accepting responsibility when it was NOT entirely his fault."

Posted by: Gary at February 21, 2006 3:02 PM

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