I’ve left this alone because I think it’s just a tragic accident. Hunting accidents like this occur and they almost always leave someone in pain and someone else feeling terrible. That’s bad enough.
With a figure like Cheney, though, the media jump in. In this case, they have used the incident to vent frustration at things that have nothing to do with the accident. They’re using it to attack the vice president for secrecy on other subjects, and using a terrible, trying event to make a political point.
Granted the VP’s office could have handled this better. Had we seen on Sunday the pain we saw yesterday, this whole story would have been a relative non-event. But we didn’t.
And granted, the reason we didn’t makes little sense. To have someone release the news because they “understand hunting” is odd. The fact that they were the head of the game and fish bureau is irrelevant. The event, was an accidental shooting. That it took place while hunting is background.
We didn’t need someone from game and fish, we needed to see someone who was hurting because he was responsible for bringing pain to a friend. Everyone understands that. It doesn’t require knowledge of buckshot, gauges, or orange vests. It requires an understanding of friendship and a sense of profound remorse for a terrible accident. That was what we needed Sunday.
But if that’s the story, tell that story. Don’t use this as an examination of secrecy on policy issues, or ongoing investigations. To use this incident to make a political statement belittles the life of a man who has experienced great pain and the man who has experienced great guilt. It also makes the media look less dignified than they usually do – if that’s possible.