All that Dick Cheney needed to do after his hunting accident was notify the White House and release a brief statement, something like the following:
"While hunting yesterday at approximately 5:30 p.m. the Vice President discharged his weapon and accidentally hit Harry Whittington, a member of the hunting party, with birdshot. Mr. Whittington was rushed to Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital, where he is in stable condition. Doctors expect him to recover fully from his injuries. Mr. Cheney regrets the incident and offers his apologies to Mr. Whittington and his family."
That's all it would take to make him look like a human being. Instead the white house is spinning like mad, first trying to absolve Cheney from any wrongdoing, and then actually stating that the 78-year-old Whittington was at fault.
This is just disgusting on many levels. I may be personally offended by these captive-bird shooting parties, but that's Cheney's hobby, and it involves guns, so accidents are part of the deal. But Cheney's lack of response and obsession with secrecy has resulted in other people having to spin the events for him. His silence implies his approval of all the excuses being made in his name, even the blaming of the victim. That is what is really the most disgusting. But I suppose I should have learned by now to expect nothing better from him.
When you're vice-president, it is up to you to keep the public informed, and up to you to take responsibility for your actions. Unless you're a Dick.
Update: news is out that apparently a pellet embedded in Mr. Whittington has moved, lodged in his heart, and triggered what doctors are describing as a "minor heart attack" resulting in cardiac catheterization. All you hunters out there -- I'm curious -- is this what usually happens in one of these commonplace, trivial incidents in which you get "peppered" by a fellow hunter? One of those things that you laugh and joke about later, together, around a roaring fire? One of those bonding opportunities that makes you better friends? I'm just asking.
Update 2: it seems fairly likely to me that alcohol was involved in this accident; initial reports on MSNBC contained references to beer-drinking but were later redacted; an article on Capitol Hill Blue, unconfirmed, cites a secret service agent's report that Cheney was visibly impaired. Recall that Cheney has two drunk-driving arrests under his belt, one more than Bush. It also makes sense of the delay in reporting the incident to authorities. But maybe this is just because I can't imagine that blowing away dozens of tame birds on a reservation would be very much fun, unless enough drinking was involved to make it challenging.