The gang that couldn’t shoot straight

 

When I was younger and more inexperienced behind the wheel, I reversed into a dusty old Mercedes that had been parked behind my little SUV while I sat in the car with a friend looking at the sea that stretched in front of us and talking. I looked at my rear view mirror, but not at my side mirrors, and confidently drove back until my car thudded on the right side of the Merc.

 

The man who was sitting inside came out. He didn’t threaten to shoot me on the spot, to throw me in the sea or to perform any violent or disgusting acts on me. He actually apologised.

 

I’ll run that by you again: I hit this nice man’s car and dented it and he ran out of his car apologising profusely, waving his hands and saying “I’m sorry” as if he was the guilty one and I was going to take out a whip and punish him.

 

I pointed out that it was my fault. His car was stationary and I had hit him. My car wasn’t even scratched and his had a dent like the Ngorongoro crater. I gave him my name and phone number, got back into the car, checked every single mirror, turned my head to look behind me, and drove off. He never called me. Maybe he still feels it was his fault.

 

Some people are just too nice it seems.

 

Case in point Mr Henry Whittington, the 78 year old Republican who was accidentally shot in the face and upper torso while hunting with US Vice-President Dick Cheney. After he had half his face blown off by the VP, suffered a minor heart attack and ended up in intensive care, Whittington, who still has a piece of buckshot lodged near his heart, went on the record to say that he was very lucky to be alive then noted that accidents “can and do happen” and said “my family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this past week.”

 

Mr Whittington is forgiving and loyal to a fault (he is also a lawyer, but nobody’s perfect). He not only forgave the misfiring VP but also apologized, rather than threatening to sue him for every last cent. Most of us would want to skin Mr Cheney alive if he sprayed our face with buckshot and then tried to hide the truth. Cheney didn’t tell anyone for a whole day and only went public after the news was already reported.

 

Katherine Armstrong, whose mother owns the ranch where Cheney was unsuccessfully hunting quail said "I would shoot with Dick Cheney everywhere, anywhere, and not think twice about it". She also said, "The nature of quail shooting ensures that this will happen. It goes with the turf."

 

It ensures it? Hunting quail ensures you will get blasted in the face? It ensures that you will spend the night in hospital? It goes with the turf? Why? Is this what they call “friendly fire”? What kind of quail-hunts do they have in Texas? Do they fight to the death? Is it a contact sport? Will they be using H-bombs next?

 

And if the ruling Republicans can’t even go quail hunting without peppering 78 year-olds with buckshot, what chance do they have with those “smart bombs” they use? And what chance does everyone else have surviving them? 

 

Cheney has apologized, of course, and by the time you read this, the press will almost certainly have forgotten and forgiven him. But the incident will live on for posterity thanks to all the T-shirts that have been sold commemorating it. You can buy a shirt online that reads “Dick Cheney shot me and all I got was this lousy T-shirt”. CaféPress,com, which sells clothing and accessories designed by internet users worldwide, has some forty pages devoted to Cheney themed T-shirts. Some of the T-shirts produced read: “Cheney’s got a gun”, “Cheney can’t find Bin Laden but it’s open season for elderly lawyers”, “Shooting an old man in the face is probably the LEAST EVIL thing Dick Cheney has done” and “How can I get Bush to go hunting with Cheney?”

 

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