will brady's ruminations
This from Jim Shepard at The Outdoor Wire
Who was responsible for the accident in Texas. Was it Cheney? Or was it Whittington, who wandered into the line of fire without Cheney's knowing he was there?
"In hunter education, we have the four cardinal rules, and among them is: 'Know your target and beyond,' " said Thomas Baumeister, education bureau chief for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Helena, Montana. "We drill that into these young hunters. You need to know where your target is, what's in front of your target and what's beyond your target. It's the hunter's responsibility before he pulls the trigger."
(The other three cardinal rules are: Always treat your gun as if it were loaded, always point the muzzle of your gun in a safe direction, and always keep your finger off your trigger until ready to fire.)
Do accidents happen in hunting? Yes, they do. And, in a way, they may be more likely to happen among shotgun hunters seeking birds than among rifle hunters going after big-game animals.
"Because a shotgun is used on game that jumps up in front of you and takes rapidly to the wing and you have to make a split-second decision on whether to fire, it is a lot different than sitting on a hillside and looking at a buck for five minutes, trying to decide whether or not to take that deer," he said.
"You have that added element of surprise in shotgun hunting. But we teach young hunters don't just focus on the bird, you focus on the surroundings -- where the dog is, where your partners are," he said.
When Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally peppered his 78-year old hunting partner Harry Whittington while quail hunting in Texas last weekend, he set off a series of chain-reaction events that have raised the hackles of hunters.
The first - and most expected reaction - was from our friends at The Brady Center. Their response was characterized by some pro-gun organizations as a "joyous dance in the blood" by Jim and Sara Brady. Having been shot (unfortunately, not by shotgun pellets), I can't find any reason to cheer about someone else getting blasted, but I'm not making a living off my having been shot, either.
Jim Brady's quip "now I know why Dick Cheney keeps inviting me to go hunting" was a good ad-lib, but it pointed out a simple fact about "the Brady bunch" - anytime something bad happens with firearms, it's good news for their fund-raising. They're clearly not disinterested observers.
Unfortunately, they're so plugged-in to the mainstream media that the Brady Center was being quoted before all the pellets had been removed from Mr. Whittington.
A series of responses sent to me by concerned - and angry - readers has pointed out that the Vice-President's accident was roughly the equivalent of having won the Powerball lottery.
Shooting accidents among hunters are not unprecedented, but they're certainly far less frequent than anti-firearms groups would have you believe.
It seems appropriate to measure hunting accidents in Texas. In 2004, there were 1.1 million hunters and a total of 29 hunting accidents. That works out to 2.7 accidents per 100,000 licenses sold. In that total, only four were fatalities.
Of those accidents, shotguns account for the large majority of the accidents - 19 of the 29 (65%). A goodly amount of that total is due to the fact that bird hunters are in close proximity to each other, the guns fire hundreds of pellets rather than a single projectile, and the shot spreads from the instant it leaves the barrel. In other words, wandering from an assigned shooting lane - something Mr. Whittington admits he did looking for a downed bird in tall grass - exponentially increases the chance of being hit by pellets. Fortunately, those pellets are very small for dove and quail. Very small, incidentally, is approximately the size of a pinhead.
Rationalization aside, however, one fact remains: Vice President Cheney took a snap-shot and struck another hunter.
If he were a young hunter, he'd be watching as his parents locked away his firearms until he could demonstrate that he was responsible enough to be allowed out in the field again. Unfortunately - for all of us - he's in a higher-visibility position, so the entire hunting and firearm industry's feeling the heat from his accident.
As hunter education trainers have pointed out, Mr. Cheney should have stopped hunting until Mr. Whittington was back in position. When a hunter drops out of the line formation generally used to move across hunting areas, all hunters should stop until he's back in position.
He also violated the basic rule of hunting: "be sure of your target - and beyond" when he turned and fired - and the shooter's always at fault.
Because hunting incidents like this one are classified as "accidents" there will be no charges filed against Mr. Cheney.
Unfortunately, a man who should serve as one of the best spokesmen for hunters and shooters as anything but the "Bubba" caricature normally hung on sportsmen has been rendered impotent by a momentary lack of judgment.
No, Mr. Cheney won't be charged, but all hunters have been convicted
As a licensed hunter, I personally find Mr. Cheney's behavior disgusting and reprehensable. I know if I were involved in a similar mishap I could well be facing [at the least] involuntary manslaughter charges. I won't hold my breath waiting the that to happen in Cheney's case.
news from the o.r.
blips + updates
On The Home Front
. Well, I'm out of surgery. No longer on morphine PO shots. Can again think in two coherent sentences in a row. The nursing staff at the hospital let me check my e-mail, and my weblog, to keep me out of their hair a few minutes.
One good think about being bedridden
is that I've been able to watch many of the events in Torino. Brings me back memories of when I worked at the 1980 Lake Placid Extrvaganza. Of course, I was working so I didn't see all that much back then.
It was all the more exciting that I agot to work with the young athletes from the People's Republic of China; spending Chinese New Year celebrations getting buzzed on Sorghum liquor [tasted horrible, but what a kick!; driving down a winding dark mountain road, on a blustery snowy night [one of the few we had that year], in a tiny Fiat with the Italian bobsled team who, wehn I nervously said that the road was daangerous in bad weather, stepped on the gas; or when I discovered that my security access for working with the Chinese athletes allowed me access into virtually all Olympics events, even thinks reserved for IOC members ant their guests. I could talk a lot more about this but I must be mindful of gracious tolerance of the staff at the hsopital, so for now, I'll sign off.
"We're the NRA!
". On the Cheney "hunting accident", while I haven't been able to comment pubically, I really wanted to tell someone a quip from when I lived in the Adirondacks.
During a big murder trial [a woman had stabbed her phalndering husband 37 times with a screwdriver] local wagas joked that if she were a man there wouldn't have been a trial since everybody knew that in the mountains "there are no murders, only hunting accidents"
Really, does this not yet beg the question as to how a man who several times avoided the military draft, and now, evidently, not only can't shoot straight but mistakes a human being for a quail, has been placed in trust of making military decisions? Perhaps he needs to get around to sign up for an NRA Hunter Safety Course
More Glacial melt in Greenland
. That G*D There's no such thing as global warming.
Now, back to The 2006 Winter Olympics
other places to visit
While I'm away these sites might keep you occupied
John Strain's Online Journal
. Personal touch. May be writing about anything from the Boston Marathon to local Louisiana beers
; from progress in the Big Easy [with a positive, yet generally pragnatic spin that one doesn't hear in the national sensationalist rags we call "the Media
"] to insights into working with troubled souls.
Joel Sax's Pax Nortana
. Lover of memes and quirky pop-culture exams; reflecting long and serious on issues affecting people with perceptual discontinuties [that's "mental illnesses
" to the uninitiated]. ...and the occasional side trek down some wonderful canyon to watch the wildlife and the stars.
: Yesterday he wrote about the self-absorbed idjot who called 9-1-1 because Burger King wouldn't make it
with the toppings she wanted. Must be an Orange County problem. But, really, Joe generally writes about far more serious stuff than this.
Steve Gilliard's News Blog
. Through, thoughtful and thought provoking news stories taht ought to be on national media but ~mysteriously~ don't usually get covered.
. News and views from across the Atlantic. It's a breath of fresh air for me.
; from Desert Hot Springs in California comes a beautifully designed, lushly photo-filled journal full of quips and opinions on everything from the serious to the mundane
. Highbrow, literary, artistic and literate. The perfect cure for the malaise caused from waitch too many episodes of Fear Factor, Ray Romano reruns, and Mad TV. But be prepared to think! [from Canada]
Dave Harper's Space Coast Web Journal
. An ex-Republican reporting from Jeb Bush territory.
Pam's House Blend
. Ms Spaulding's a Lefty African American Lesbian not afraid to speak her mind and able to think fast on her feet. Frequent updates on politics and gay rights issues.
Robert Crook's Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen's homepage
. The news is environmental, conservationist, decidedly pro-hunting. Always fresh and with a keen ear for what's going on with firearms issues as well as Connecticut traditional food-gatherer interests.
cosmic reportage for an out-of-balance world.
Tim Zimmerman's Wetass Chronicles
. When you really, really really need
to get the cobwebs out of your head, Tim'll tell you how others do it. On the edge a bit, but, I'm sure their snapses snap sharply after some of thier adventures.I'll be back when I get back
Gotta do this early.
My Valentine's wish for BruceIt's been 15 years living in sin,
and six months in what politics
won't call matrimony
Maybe ion another 15 years
we can be fully legal
but it's legal enough for me, now
and with a nod to Brokeback's "fishing buddies"
just had to put this second image up
There's always time for picture takingSomething I may be doing without the next couple of weeksThe snowstorm kept us inside all day. I stared at the wall.
That knife blade comes closer
. At 1030 hours, in zone 5 of GMT
tomorrow surgery is about to commence. Getting that distended belly taken care of. Back once the sutures take hold I suppose. That, and when the docs figure I'm out of billlable medical insurance hours.
I won't be able to have my cell phone, and shall be away from the computer for probably 3 to 4 days. Nothing to do except play with the morphine drip controls. One of the nurses at work said that makes it worth while... but maybe that speaks to an entirely different issue, and it isn't my own.
Anyways, I'll be off from work for the next week after so it's likely I'll have alot of posts up during that time.
War veterns protest Iraq war
. A march from Mobile to New Orleans Mobile. The New Orleans Veterans’ and Survivors’ March “Walkin’ to New Orleans” March 14-19, 2006
First read about it at Feral Scholar