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COOL HAND DICK- Questions remain in VEEPSHOOT

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Message Michael Hammerschlag

FEB 15 11pm Not content with sending Americans to die by the hundreds in a disastrous unnecessary war, Dick Cheney has taken to blasting them personally. At the huge Armstrong ranch across from Padre Island Nat. Seashore in Kenedy Co. TX, Dick shot his hunting partner Harry Whittington in the face, neck, and chest in “clear sunny flat” conditions Sat 5:30pm, according to the TX Parks-Wildlife Accident report. Big time Dick is a big time bird killer. In western PA in 2003, “Cheney shot more than 70 ringneck pheasants and an unknown number of mallard ducks (adden.- in a few hours). The birds were plucked and vacuum-packed in time for Cheney's afternoon flight to Washington, D.C.” (Doesn’t PA have a daily limit?)

Possible CRIME 1: The Veep refused to talk to a deputy sheriff when he came to the ranch at 8pm; not until 8am, 14 ½ hours after the accident did he make a statement… or long enough for the alcohol to burn off. When your rich powerful people (or just average Joes) get together for shooting or boating or golfing, they usually get plastered as they celebrate their mastery of the universe. MSNBC had a now-deleted quote from Armstrong “There may have been beer available during a picnic lunch that preceded the incident. There may be a beer or two in there," she said….” Cheney had two drunk driving arrests in Wyoming, in Nov. 62 and June 63. Brit Hume says Dick admits to having a beer at lunch. "I did ask the hospital spokeswoman Sunday whether there was any blood alcohol tests taken," said Times Caller reporter Katharyn Garcia in our interview, "and she laughed and said she was not aware. Today it was again asked in a press conference, and they said 'NO COMMENT' this time.
See Dick. See Dick drunk. See drunk Dick shoot Harry. See drunk Dick sorry + worry. See Dick call creepy Karl.

P CRIME 2: FAILURE TO REPORT ACCIDENT. Story of Cheney asking Katherine Armstrong to notify local paper is nonsense on its face. It wouldn’t happen that way. Truth is, they probably attempted complete suppression of story, but she spilled the beans, eager for the fame of a world story or realizing the scandalous effects of suppression. The story is Armstrong called an absent Corpus Christi Caller Times reporter friend (registration) at 8am and left a message, then called the newsroom at 11am and told reporter Katharyn Garcia, who reported it at 1:48pm after confirming it with the White House and hospital. Other reports have the reporters digging it out when they discovered the Veep was at the hospital.

In an Wednesday interview, Garcia swore by their account: "No we didn't root out this story ourself. We did get a phone call from Armstrong. We did not know Cheney was in town". Armstrong didn't sound eager or anxiety ridden, Garcia said, "She sounded pretty calm. When I asked Leanne McBride (Cheney's spokesman), 'Why the delay.. would it have come out if the Caller Times had not contacted you?', she said, 'I'm not going to speculate.' " I wonder what would have happened if Whittington had died (see movie Fargo). Ridiculous effort to portray it as harmless accident- with a “pellet gun” or BB's ( it's called buckshot) and outrageously Whittington's fault. A 20 hour delay in releasing vital news to public- almost 2 day delay before Scotty not answering questions in an embarrassing press conference- still without a word from the pathological secretive Veep until 4 days elapsed.

Cheney talked for 25 minutes at 2pm for broadcast at 6pm on, of course, friendly FOX NEWS. Now national scandals are only to be rebutted on the official propaganda channel. "Like Bonnie interviewing Clyde", said CNN's Jack Cafferty. "The image of him falling is something I'll never be able to get out of mind.. it was one of the worst days of my life [Harry's too]... We went over to him, obviously, right away.. I'm guessing (he was) about 30 yards (away)," said Cheney. So Harry was close, and not behind brush, and behind Dick- all egregiously reckless. "I'm the guy who pulled the trigger.. and shot my friend," said the widely disliked Veep, backing away from his craven "Harry's fault " story. More at bottom

P CRIME 3: Story is utterly not credible. ABC reports: According to Armstrong's account,
---she saw the incident from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter, identified .. as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Pam Willeford, got out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail. As Whittington went to retrieve a bird he had shot, Cheney and Willeford spotted a second covey. Whittington came up behind and failed to signal that he was there or announce himself, which is proper protocol for hunters.----

When you shoot a bird with a shotgun, the other people are going to stop and pay attention to where that bird fell and where that shooter is going. Also a shotgun blast may make all birds for 50-100 yards take flight, so there is nothing to shoot at without changing position or a significant wait. A hunter disputes that: "the birds can crouch down". And one doesn’t have to announce oneself from behind, a shooter should never shoot quickly behind him (let alone at dusk- 5:30pm), where the safe zone is for other members. Likewise no one can shoot when a party isn’t all together. This wasn’t just lame farm raised quail hunting; it was car hunting, a pitiful and unmanly approach to the great outdoors- illegal in Texas unless done on the owner's land. If Armstrong could see them all from inside the car, they couldn't have been far.

Can a 1/11” pellet (#7½ load in 28 gauge shell), penetrate to the heart from 90 ft? A 90ft test shot on a lifesize human cutout by Caller-Times photog George Gongora shows a spread from the waist to the top of the head, whereas the filled in damage profile of the Parks-Wildlife report shows impacts from the mouth to just below the sternum entirely on the left side in a far more concentrated pattern. This would indicate a much closer distance, although some shotguns have a choke that controls the spread. A normal spread pattern at 90 ft. is a 44” circle, almost 4 ft. Even fully choked, the spread circle at that distance is 26”, whereas the Parks-Wildlife drawing of Whittington shows a tight circle of about 12-13”. Imagine what this does to the neck and face. Notice there are no pictures of the grievously wounded Harry. It was not a "mild shooting", as FOX and Veepfans were pushing. Pellets penetated his trachea and one his liver, as well as the one that "migrated" to his heart (illegally, no doubt).

P CRIME 4: Like Cheney himself, who during 2000 race was pushed out of the ICU after heart surgery almost immediately to prevent questions about the ticket’s vitality, poor (dim) Whit was forced out of the ICU only as a PR stunt to make the Dick seem less liable for what was just a “humorous accident”. He was a 78 year old shot in the face and neck and heart with up “to 200 2½mm pellets”, the most serious injury one can have, and reported as stable, which means he wasn’t dying (yet). That 28 gauge birdshot shotgun shell holds only 308 pellets *(410/oz), so Whittington received 2/3 of the blast, difficult at 90 feet. "I don't think it was that far," says a Dallas hunter, "the effective range to kill birds (with that light shot) is only about 50 yards". Once the wounded elderly Harry was pushed out of intensive care monitoring, he perhaps was dying… of a heart attack. The injuries were so serious that they couldn’t remove most of the buckshot "To go ahead and take each BB or pellet out, sometimes the treatment is worse than the affliction," said Dr. David Blanchard.
Whittington's buckshot wounds- TX Park +Wildlife accident rpt

Failure to have proper hunting permit for quail hunting. Apparently the blasting veep failed to obtain a $7 UPLAND GAME BIRD hunting stamp, for which he was cited. POACHING

Rolling Stone has a 2004 devastating account of Cheney’s propensity for causing disaster in everything he touches, from flunking out of Yale to trashing Ford’s reelection bid to almost bankrupting Halliburton to the Iraq War: The Curse of Cheney. “He has the least interest in human beings of anyone I have ever met," says John Perry Barlow, his former supporter.”

Again the media is swallowing patently ridiculous contentions on a huge personal scandal- the first Veep involved shooting since Aaron Burr "won" his duel with Alexander Hamilton in 2004- such as "it was Whittington's fault". Apart from being contemptible and cowardly, that one reporter actually repeats that shows how redocile they've become and how clueless they are about guns. It's always the shooter's fault- like the person who causes a rear end crash, it's his job to avoid shooting the people or the dogs. One sobering realization about the recklessness of all this; with Cheney's omnipresent Secret Service detail, if Harry had shot Dick, he would have likely been riddled with far more than a load of buckshot.

TIMELINE of EVENTS (since adjusted by CNN to a more Cheney friendly version)- CC Times-Caller
click to enlarge

*another hunter computes 275 pellets, making %striking Harry even higher

There were three of us who had gotten out of the vehicle and walked up on a covey of quail that had been pointed by the dogs. Covey is flushed, we've shot, and each of us got a bird. Harry couldn't find his, it had gone down in some deep cover, and so he went off to look for it. The other hunter and I then turned and walked about a hundred yards in another direction -- Lies + Possible Lies
Q Away from him?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Away from him -- where another covey had been spotted by an outrider. I was on the far right --
Q There was just two of you then?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Just two of us at that point. The guide or outrider between us, and of course, there's this entourage behind us, all the cars and so forth that follow me around when I'm out there -- but bird flushed and went to my right, off to the west. I turned and shot at the bird, and at that second, saw Harry standing there. Didn't know he was there --
Q You had pulled the trigger and you saw him?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I saw him fall, basically. It had happened so fast.
Q What was he wearing?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He was dressed in orange, he was dressed properly, but he was also -- there was a little bit of a gully there, so he was down a little ways before land level, although I could see the upper part of his body when -- I didn't see it at the time I shot, until after I'd fired. And the sun was directly behind him -- that affected the vision, too, I'm sure.
But the image of him falling is something I'll never be able to get out of my mind. I fired, and there's Harry falling. And it was, I'd have to say, one of the worst days of my life, at that moment.
Q Then what?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, we went over to him, obviously, right away --
Q How far away from you was he?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm guessing about 30 yards, which was a good thing. If he'd been closer, obviously, the damage from the shot would have been greater. [Ah, it was]
Q Now, is it clear that -- he had caught part of the shot, is that right?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- part of the shot. He was struck in the right side of his face, his neck and his upper torso on the right side of his body.
Q And you -- and I take it, you missed the bird.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I have no idea. I mean, you focused on the bird, but as soon as I fired and saw Harry there, everything else went out of my mind. I don't know whether the bird went down, or didn't.
Q So did you run over to him or --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Ran over to him and --
Q And what did you see? He's lying there --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He was laying there on his back, obviously bleeding. You could see where the shot had struck him. And one of the fortunate things was that I've always got a medical team, in effect, covering me wherever I go. I had a physician's assistant with me that day. Within a minute or two he was on the scene administering first-aid. And --

SIMILAR POINTS in SLATE and KOS . Will be dull roar by Friday. Dick's dishonest dissembling will not stand.
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Michael Hammerschlag's commentary and articles ( have appeared in NYT, IHT, Seattle Times, Providence Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, Hawaii Advertiser, Capital Times, MediaChannel, Modern Photgraphy; Moscow News, (more...)

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