I’ve been watching this story about Cheney’s accidental shooting of a friend with some interest, particularly with an eye to what it means for powerful people in this country to confront their mistakes and what stance they choose to take. So, needless to say the reports about how long it took for Cheney to report the incident and Whittington’s prognosis have been telling. Assuming the best about Cheney’s humanity, I wonder how he is handling this both mentally and spiritually.
Andrew Sullivan has two fascinating posts about this whole thing. First:
Just a word, if I may. You are employed by the American people. You are not a monarch; and you are not a Pope. You have seriously wounded another human being. The news was kept from the public for a day. The man is in intensive care. There are many serious questions about the incident: How did it happen? What happened immediately thereafter? Why the decision to keep it secret for so long? The least the American people deserve is your own account in public in front of the press corps. Who are you hiding from? And who on earth do you think you are?
The second post is even more interesting, since I’ve been tossing it around for two or three days now and haven’t really heard anyone else talking about it: what happens if Whittington dies?
He’s 78. He got hit in the face and body by a spray of tiny pellets. He’s back in intensive care. It’s not inconceivable that the vice-president may have accidentally killed someone. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. I don’t know Texas law; and I’m not a lawyer. But wouldn’t this be a case of something like negligent homicide? Maybe some Texas lawyers are out there; and could clarify.
Lets give Cheney complete benefit of the doubt: it was an accident, not intentional, and he’s deeply grieved for what happened. Still, manslaughter doesn’t always require intent (manslaughter is better here than Sullivan’s “homicide”). Could Cheney be facing criminal prosecution for this…?
Prayers ascend for Whittington and Cheney both…