February 12, 2006

Painful Lessons

This will be liberal blog fodder until 2009. Via the Associated Press.

Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.

Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was "alert and doing fine" in a Corpus Christi hospital Sunday after he was shot by Cheney on a ranch in south Texas, said Katharine Armstrong, the property's owner.


Armstrong said she was watching from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter got out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail.

Whittington shot a bird and went to look for it in the tall grass, while Cheney and the third hunter walked to another spot and discovered a second covey.

Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself," Armstrong said.

"The vice president didn't see him," she continued. "The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by god, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."

Luckily, Mr. Whittington's wounds, while painful, are not life-threatening, and the presiding officer of the Texas Funeral Service Commission will not yet become a client.

Some will enjoy blaming the Vice President for this one, but Harry Whittington bears a large degree of the blame for his shooting. You simply do not come up behind a hunter unannounced, especially while bird hunting when a passing shot is a distinct possibility.

I'd guess (this is hypothetical) that Whittington, having been shot in his right side, came up from the left rear quadrant of the Vice President. If the Vice President is a right-handed shooter as the majority of people are, Whittington would have been in Cheney's blind spot as he swung on a bird passing right-to-left. There is very little the Vice President could have done, except, perhaps, having gone hunting with someone a little more intelligent.

Regardless, I hope Whittington has learned something from this very painful experience.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at February 12, 2006 07:54 PM | TrackBack

Well, VPOTUS did shoot a lawyer.

Posted by: chsw10605 at February 12, 2006 11:42 PM

It happens several times a day in the U.S. and some of the people I have bird hunted with didn't do it by accident but would hang back until you got 40-50 yards ahead of them and burn you good. Field loads are really low powered ammo and would only be fatal to a human at close range.
Now if someone can talk Hanoi John, Dusty Reid, the Coward Howard and/or Hellary into going i'll be happy to provide a few boxes of Winchester XX 3in 00 Buck that will do the job.
Actually it's really funny, but guess the non-hunters and the super stupid (don't know a single barrel shotgun from a 50 cal machine gun and tried to ban them all) will have a field day with it.

Posted by: scrapiron at February 13, 2006 12:33 AM

Sorry CY, but you got this one wrong. Group hunt safety is very clear on issues like this: Don't take the shot until you are sure of the target.

It's that simple. I've seen this exact same situation avoided more times than I care to admit.

Theestablished rules apply to EVERYONE is the hunt group, especially those with firearms, and they are:

Always establish zones of fire. Know where you can and can not shoot. Obviously, they got out of the car, did not establiish zones of fire. If they had, Harrington would have known where not to go, and the VP would know when his shot zone was in and was out of range. They did not establish shoot zones. First mistake.

Always identify your target before shooting. This is the shooters responsibility. This was not done, and it is entirely the shooters fault. This was the VP.

When in doubt, don't shoot. Again, the VP's responsibility.

So, by my count, Harrington disobeyed one essential rule of hunting, he did not establish a shooting zone with the others and thus he entered an area of fire.

Cheney disobeyed two rules of hunting: He did not establish a shooting zone, he did not indentify the target before pulling the trigger.

These are rules that I myself learned quite well as a Boy Scout and thereafter.

Make excues, you are wrong. Cheney took the shot.

Simple as that.

Posted by: David (SNAFU Principle) at February 13, 2006 01:42 AM

By the way I read it, he had a clear target he was following in his sights (focusing on a target can make you get tunnel vision). I'll agree to the target zone/clear fire area but if you are following something as quick as a bird, your sight moves quickly and if Harrington moved up from the blind spot without announcing himself. This doesn't excuse all involved because gun safety should be number one. I hope this has a good outcome and pushes Gun Safety and not a bad one that pushes Gun Abolishment.

Posted by: Retired Navy at February 13, 2006 06:29 AM


We're going to have to disagree on this one. Cheney more than likely had a zone established, which Whittington then moved into from the rear, probably quartering in. Cheney did establish a target, swung through, and fired. Whittington bears the bulk of the responsibility of this one, just as would a pedestrian that walked into on-coming traffic.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at February 13, 2006 07:08 AM

I meant Whittington

Posted by: Retired Navy at February 13, 2006 09:39 AM

The bottom line is this is just a minor bump along the way of history. It was an accident - plain and simple. It was a good thing it was bird shot. Unfortunately the left and MSM have decided to make it an issue. You know - it's probably bdcause Bush didn't implement stringent controls of bird shot, Whittington probably works for some competitor of Halliburton, bird shot caused know something like that. I saw on another site the following: "I'd rather go hunting with Cheney that for a drive with Kennedy."

So go ahead lefties - try to make a big deal out of nothing. Another "Scandal du Jour" from the "Society of Subversion". Where does it end?

Posted by: Specter at February 13, 2006 09:42 AM

The news reports are ridiculous; most say Whittington was hit by buckshot, some say bullets. There must be some very big mean quail in south Texas!

Posted by: Tom TB at February 13, 2006 02:40 PM

Were any of you there on Saturday during the shooting? If not, isn't it a bit pointless to sit there and fantasize about shooting zones and how Cheney and Whittington were "quartering in?" Cheney couldn't even get the right paperwork together, so how do any of you even know if he was following the appropriate protocols in the first place?

This is as bad as the Kennedy-conspiracy-cover-up freaks.

Also, sadly, the shot didn't prove "not life-threaning." Now he has birdshot lodged in his heart which could likely trigger another - that's right, he's already had one as a result of the shooting - heart attack.

Too bad.

Posted by: Questioning at February 14, 2006 02:31 PM


I've been on game drives for various species of animals from birds to deer working with groups of hunters from two to more than dozen, so I have practical, firsthand subject knowledge. Just how much bird hunting have you done?

Cheney obtained an out-of-state license an other traditional doumentation, but did not obtain a new upland permit issued for the first time in Texas, just this season. That does not relate in any way to his hunting experience, or prowess or safety protocols, which acording to witnesses who have hunted with Cheney, is very good.

As a matter of practical hunting and common sense, a man coming in to a group has the responsibility of letting the other hunters know he is approaching, especially when pass shooting.

You also do not read any better than you shoot or talk about shooting; Whittington's doctor's have made it readily apparent that this is not a life threatening event.

Of course, the hospital spokesmen are proving to be as clueless as some of the media.

The Fox News story referred to the pellet in Whittington's heart as being the size of a BB (4.5mm), while the CNN story claims it is even larger, at 5 mm.

Cheney was shooting 7 1/2 shot in his gun, and 7 1/2 shot is just 2.41 mm, or half the size claimed by these hospital, either two pellets are side-by-side, or they have the measurements wrong.

I think it's time for another doctor to read those X-rays.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at February 14, 2006 03:11 PM


Are you perhaps referring, with an extended interpretation all your own, to this article?

Hunter Shot by Cheney Has Heart Attack By LYNN BREZOSKY and NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writers

I think you should read it again:

The victim, Harry Whittington, was immediately moved back to the intensive care unit for further treatment, said Peter Banko, the administrator at Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial in Texas.

Banko said there was an irregularity in the heartbeat caused by a pellet, and doctors performed a cardiac catheterization. Whittington expressed a desire to leave the hospital, but Banko said he would probably stay for another week to make sure more shot doesn't move to other organs or to other part of his body.

"Some of the birdshot appears to have moved and lodged into part of his heart in what we would say is a minor heart attack," Banko said in a news conference outside the hospital.

David Blanchard, chief of emergency care, called it "a silent heart attack, an asymptomatic heart attack. He's not had a heart attack in the traditional sense."

The doctors said Whittington did not experience symptoms of a heart attack or any other problems. They left the birdshot in place and said he could live a healthy life with it there.

So where is the big deal? A pellet moved into his heart. The doctors caught it. They say he will live a normal, healthy life. Move on to the next "Scandal du Jour" brought to you by the traitors of the Democratic Party. Nothing to see here folks....move along.

Posted by: Specter at February 14, 2006 03:33 PM

Specter -

I don't think there's any reason for you to be rude, right? I was only commenting on CY's assertion that this is a "not life-threatening" injury. So, you think a heart attack and the potential of unremoved birdshot to move to other organs is not life-threatening?

Also, maybe you should read the reports again yourself. They didn't catch anything - the pellet is still in his heart and they do not know how to remove it, hence the reference that it could still cause another heart attack.

As for the "nothing to see here folks," if Wittingdon suffers another heart attack or worse, would that be something worth taking a gander?

Posted by: Questioning at February 14, 2006 05:13 PM

CY, The shooter always bears final call. That is basic hunting.

Everyone knows that.

Don't pull the trigger until you are sure of the target.

This is drilled into a shooter again and again in exactly the scenario that unfolded for Cheney.

Blindside, moving left or right, track target, confirm target, shoot.

Whittington bears the bulk of the responsibility of this one, just as would a pedestrian that walked into on-coming traffic.

Your analogy is not correct. Whittington did not knowingly "walk into traffic" that is, an area of danger. He obviously was not clear on it. The entire group bares that burden.

Again, don't take the shot. Cheney made the classic mistake. He put the trigger before the target.

It happens a lot.

But, blaming the victim is just nonsense.

Now, if it comes out that Whittington was fast behind brush, and was not in Cheney's line of sight, and the pellet spray cut through brush to get to Whittington, that would be another thing entirely. But, none of the reports have stated that.

Distance seemed to have been the culprint. And, putting trigger before target.

Posted by: David (SNAFU Principle) at February 14, 2006 09:10 PM


I beg to differ. When you said:

Questioning said: Also, sadly, the shot didn't prove "not life-threaning." Now he has birdshot lodged in his heart which could likely trigger another - that's right, he's already had one as a result of the shooting - heart attack.

You were being condescending and trying to make more of the accident than was there to begin with. Note, you said:

Emphasizing what Questioning said: the shot didn't prove "not life-threaning."

Other than the double negative, what you were saying was that Whittington had a life threatining heart attack. You also stated that Whittington could "likely" have another.

Of course, that was your opinion. But it IS NOT what the doctor's said, and if you had actually read my post and followed the link to that article you would have realized that.

But undeterred by your utterances, I will reiterate for you (from the updated article here):

Whittington suffered a "silent heart attack" _ obstructed blood flow, but without the classic heart-attack symptoms of pain and pressure, according to doctors at Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial.

The doctors said they decided to treat the situation conservatively and leave the pellet alone rather than operate to remove it. They said they are highly optimistic Whittington will recover and live a healthy life with the pellet in him.

And now Harry "Even though I Got $68,000 I didn't take the Money" Reid is saying that the delay in notifying the poor, poor reporters was indicative of the way the WH is being run. What a load of BS.

I guess that just goes to show how the WH was run under Clinton - you remember - when Hillary delayed releasing Vince Foster's suicide note for 48 hours...

Get a grip - It was an accident. Nothing more.

Posted by: Specter at February 14, 2006 10:00 PM

Sorry - here is the link.

Posted by: Specter at February 14, 2006 10:02 PM