February 14, 2006

Just a flesh wound?

This just gets more and more bizarre:

The fellow hunter who was shot and wounded by Vice President Dick Cheney has suffered a "minor heart attack" after a piece of birdshot migrated to his heart, a hospital spokesman said Tuesday.

Posted by binky at February 14, 2006 01:54 PM | TrackBack | Posted to You Can't Make This Stuff Up


Even before the heart attack, Majikthise posted some reasons to wonder. Notwithstanding Cheney's companion's comment that these accidents "come[] with the turf," the delay, to me, is the biggest thing. I don't want to pretend I have any real reason to make more of this than necessary, but it certainly does fit the profile of someone trying to get things in order and stories straight. And I think the comments regarding the severity of the injury posted by Majikthise are especially interesting, because I don't pretend to know how serious a 28-guage wound is at 30 yards, but it's

a) hard to imagine that any shotgun wound to the head, neck, and torso is minor, and

b) it's somewhat difficult to understand how if he was coming from behind them he took an upper body full of lead.

it almost makes one wonder whether secret service agents can claim privilege under circumstances like these if subpoenaed as material witnesses in a grand jury investigation.

Posted by: Moon at February 14, 2006 02:10 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I don't want to really get into the whole thing, but what struck me is that I don't usually associate "peppered" with "penetrating the heart," you know?

Posted by: binky at February 14, 2006 02:15 PM | PERMALINK

well, but "migrated" only requires that it have gotten into his circulatory system, which could have happened at impact or during surgery at a fairly superficial level. but yeah, my reservations remain.

Posted by: moon at February 14, 2006 02:18 PM | PERMALINK

i'm not fan of cheney, and this is no defense, but this is the same sort of accident that took down greg lemond in his prime, though lemond took the shot to his chest.

At the 1989 Tour de France, with 37 shotgun pellets remaining in his body (including some in the lining of his heart), LeMond was hoping only to finish in the top 20...

Posted by: bmj at February 14, 2006 03:03 PM | PERMALINK

This hunter's take on the storyline as offered by Cheney's people raises some good questions.

Oh, and if the poor guy dies, does Cheney get charged with manslaughter?

Posted by: jacflash at February 14, 2006 05:25 PM | PERMALINK

I have a family member who lost a limb to something similar. These things do happen, but I think the response of the hunting community has been pretty consistent. Last night I checked out Ted Nugent's page, and the hunter discussions focused around using this accident as a bad example to promote following safety procedures.

And a random thought, I still have my Team Zed commemorative water bottle from 1989. Lemond!

Posted by: binky at February 14, 2006 07:44 PM | PERMALINK

jacflash, thing is, if whittington's death would expose him to some sort of manslaughter charge (and were he a normal citizen it certainly could, although in a hunting setting prosecution is pretty rare for obvious reasons), then whittington surviving would still leave cheney exposed to any number of lesser charges, such as attempted manslaughter (unlikely) or reckless endangerment (possible), or texas's equivalent statutes. of course, he's also in theory exposed to a civil claim predicated, if nothing else, on negligence.

but that was why i raised the spectre of a grand jury investigation. when something plainly criminal or thought to be criminal happens but authorities can't nail down enough to comprise probable cause to arrest, they may seek recourse before a grand jury, where evidence may be submitted and testimony may be taken under oath in an effort to garner enough, in the aggregate, to support an arrest.

i'm not saying i imagine this will happen here -- i imagine it won't -- but it could is the thing, and the more i think about it, the more i think the secret service agents there would be hard-pressed to cite privilege in refusing to testify to what they saw.

Posted by: moon at February 15, 2006 12:12 PM | PERMALINK
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