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Of Veeps, quail and Dead-eye Dick

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We don't know exactly what happened with the shooting down in Texas when Vice President Dick Cheney splattered a friend with bird shot, but clearly, something went wrong. It could be Cheney's hunting buddy — can you put a Texas lawyer on a mantel or is there some rule under the Not Really Endangered Species But Some Things You Really Shouldn't Shoot No Matter How Strangely Appropriate It Might Seem At The Time Act that would frown on it? — was in the wrong place. As was the quail, it would seem. It could be that stresses of age and office have worn a toll on the VP. It could be that his friend was insufficiently aware and dangerously inattentive It could be a lot of things. Fact is, though, that the guy who pulled the trigger bears a burden, just as the guy who's behind in a rear-end collision. If there's a measure of this incident, it will be in the way Texas law enforcement investigates the shooting and what conclusions it draws. There would appear to be a great many extremely qualified witnesses in the form of experienced hunters, Secret Service agents (looking out for armed quail, no doubt), and possibly others who can fill in details as to the vice president's conduct before and after pulling the trigger. VP Cheney, however, has no doubt earned the sobriquet Dead-eye Dick, which will be uttered either with some degree of admiration or as an insult, depending on the political leanings of the speaker. But it's better than ending up as a Quayle. Really.

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