No big deal? Hunter shoots hunter. Why the media frenzy?
Accidents happen. But for a moment, consider what would have happened if Al Gore shot someone and then kept it quiet for 18 hours. Or if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had.
The vice president of the United States is a public figure, period. He travels on the taxpayers' dime with Secret Service agents, medical personnel and aides. All knew that what happened on a Texas ranch Saturday was bad. Yet despite working for the taxpayers, no one explained or felt they should.
Now consider if Joe Q. Public shot a hunting buddy. He wouldn't be surrounded by elite federal resources so, unlike the vice president, he would have to answer to someone. He'd have to call the police, right then, while his friend lay bleeding. He'd have to explain what he did, before, during and after the shooting. He'd have to give a sworn statement, in case his friend died or was permanently injured. Others present would have to give corroborating statements. And if 18 minutes went by before he called authorities, there'd be hard questions asked.
Cheney, whose public relations methods are Nixonian, often acts arrogantly. He wouldn't say who met with him in 2001 to help form the Bush administration's energy policy; he scoffs at even the possibility that torture, eavesdropping and secret prisons damage America; his chief aide, who says "superiors" approved, is indicted for lying about leaking a CIA agent's name. And now Cheney doesn't want to answer for shooting someone and waiting 18 hours to admit it -- his Fox News interview notwithstanding. When he avoids all the questions any other American would have to answer, that's a big deal.