Vice President Richard "Dick" Cheney's shooting of 78-year-old hunting companion Harry Whittington last Saturday has brought on an onslaught of jokes and comments. There are a couple of angles which I don't think have got a lot of coverage.
Locally, has anyone tied this to our former Governor Jesse Ventura's comments about "you haven't hunted until you've hunted man"? Minnesotans may recall that Jesse was being interviewed at a time when his choice for the Department of Natural Resources commissioner was under question. Jesse dismissed deer hunting as being for wimps, and said that until you've hunted man, a prey that can shoot back, you haven't really hunted, alluding to his time in the military. By his reckoning, I guess Vice President Cheney has now really hunted, though he kind of cold-cocked Mr. Whittington. Pity he hit him in the face, it sort of ruins the trophy.
It's also illuminating to recall that during the 2004 election, John Kerry was mocked by the Bushies when he went hunting. As I recall, Mr. Kerry never shot anybody accidentally (he did shoot people while in the employ of the United States Government, much like Mr. Cheney just did, but that was in Vietnam, and he didn't just wing them). The sniggering mockery looks pretty lame now, as Mr. Cheney's gun handling skills appear deficient.
Mr. Kerry was also mocked during the 2004 campaign for having an $8,000 bicycle. Mr. Cheney's shotgun is a custom-made Italian Perazzi that runs $7,500 or more. Both men are plenty wealthy, they can spend their money where they want, but why is it worth mocking to have an expensive bike but not to have an expensive shotgun? Appropriately enough, the Perazzi home page has a graphic of a man with a sight aimed at him. Now, if you were John Kerry, wouldn't it be deeply tempting to say Mr. Cheney, if you like shooting so much, why didn't you come and join us in Vietnam rather than getting multiple deferments? The Army would have shown you how to handle a firearm properly too, so as to minimize these friendly fire casualties. (I particulary like Mr. Cheney's baby deferment: one day the government said married men without children would no longer be exempt from the draft. Nine months and two days later, the Cheneys had their first child. That's performing on demand!)
Finally, it's interesting to note that the Law and Order Vice President didn't have the required Quail Stamp for his hunting license. He's since sent in a check for $7 to get this. No word on whether or not he had the Lawyer Stamp, or what the bag limit is on 78-year-olds.