Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Low Fuddgate Ahead: DUCK!!!!


This brings us, to nobody’s surprise, to Dick Cheney. Or, as the British press has taken up calling him, Duck Cheney.


Cheney shot at a quail and hit a lawyer instead. It’s not certain that he intended to do this. You can eat the quail, after all. And Republicans usually don’t shoot lawyers for the same reason that sharks won’t eat them: professional courtesy.

In any event, Duck Cheney managed to mix up a 165 pound lawyer dressed in orange for a ½ pound bird dressed in nondescript plumage, and bagged that sucker. Nailed him pretty good, too. Number 8 shot at 30 yards, and the sum'bitch is STILL in intensive care two days later. The NRA will have a job offer for Cheney if he ever leaves his position as vice-president.


Look, I’m not saying that old Texas law that it was legal to shoot a politician on sight, on the basis that the sum'bitch probably deserves it, was civilized or moral. I just think they should have thought it through before ditching it, is all.


Yeah, he’s still vice-President. Plugging a politician might be against the law in Texas, but in the GOP, plugging a lawyer is just one of those things. Boys will be boys.

Shooting quail is not exactly sporting. They have a series of defense mechanisms that work pretty well in nature when they have to escape from a predator, such as a retarded Samoyed dog, but which aren’t nearly as effective against a .28 gauge shotgun. Having a bunch of them burst out of the grass all at once making as much noise as possible does a good job of flummoxing a fox or a bobcat, and the bit where the mother pretends to be injured to lure predators away from her babies is a true marvel. (I got to see it one morning as I was walking the Samoyed mentioned above.) He was a gorgeous dog with shining white fur and bright eyes that totally belied the utter lack of any mental processes occurring behind said eyes. He would have made a great governor of California: he was dumb, white, and photogenic.

I saw a quail limping down the walkway in front of us. I stopped, and after a brief pause to strangle himself on the leash, so did my dog. I watched the quail stagger along, dragging a wing. Suddenly, six chicks darted across the walkway into a culvert. My faithful hound, engrossed in pondering the universe, managed to miss all this.

Momma bird continued to drag wing. Dog remained blissfully unaware. Bird got exasperated look on face, and cooed. Dog’s ears stood up. Bird clucked, loudly.

Dog finally caught on.

Owner got shoulder dislocated.

Mamma got away flying nicely on “broken wing, babies safe.

(Owner considered bringing shotgun on future walks so that, in event that such incident should occur again, owner could unshoulder shotgun and shoot the dog.)


Cheney and his buddies had been shooting quail from a vehicle. This is so unsporting that it’s banned in all public hunting areas.


In fact, such behavior is known as “poaching” in most public lands. Locally various law enforcement groups have decoys – quail and one fairly real-looking mechanized deer – that they put along the side of various state and county highways. After a while, some moron comes along and sees the decoys, and thinks “oh, easy shot.” You might think that it would be some toothless redneck moron in a 58 Chevy pickup, but in fact, it’s more likely to be an affluent suburbanite in a brand-spanking new Hum-vee. He shoots at the decoy, and grinning law enforcement offices emerge from bushes to tow chagrined big-game hunter away.


It isn’t just the fine and the inconvenience. It’s the humiliation. Among hunters, getting fooled by a decoy is subject to a certain amount of ridicule, say until the fourth generation after you’ve mercifully died.


Cheney, however, was hunting on private property, where such a tawdry practice is legal.

Cheney’s the type of guy whose idea of sportsmanship involves shooting kittens in a cardboard box. It’s why he’s done so well with the GOP.


There’s a lot about the story that doesn’t make sense. When you’re standing among several other people, as Cheney was, and you know people are behind you, as Cheney did, you don’t whip around and fire before you can see what you’re shooting at, as Cheney did.


Then, too, there is the question of what he was shooting at. The official report makes it clear there had been shooting several minutes earlier, and quail don’t like sudden loud noises. They tend to vanish over the horizon in a hurry. If there had been shooting moments before, there wouldn’t have been a quail for Cheney to shoot at.


Then there’s the matter that the cops declared that neither alcohol nor drugs were involved. I’ll bet the mortgage that Cheney wasn’t tested for either.


Well, there’s something we can thank the Republicans for. My girlfiend noted that during the Clinton years, during the great Clinton cock hunt, Republicans got the courts to agree that Secret Service agents could be subpoenaed and compelled to testify about the actions and malfeasances of their charges.


So if someone would be kind enough to get a judge to find probable cause and issue a warrant (non-Republicans still have to get warrants, it seems), then maybe we can subpoena the Secret Servicemen on duty that day and find out what they have to say under oath.


Oh, I don’t think Cheney shot the lawyer on purpose. He has people who can do that for him.


But I don’t think we have the full story there. Not by a long shot. Or even a short shot with buck.

Thanks for the help Zepp.

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