Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Get peppered! Everybody's doing it! Of course it's legal...

I haven't been reading the rightie blogs in the past couple of days, but Atrios has and he says that he's learned some things.
Every conservative on the internet is an avid hunter and they've all been shot multiple times.

Shotguns aren't really guns, just toys. You can't really hurt people with them, only animals.

It's standard hunter etiquette to yell and scream at your fellow hunters as they're stalking their prey.

The most dangerous place to be is behind the people with the guns.

And Dick Cheney was not drunk, so stop saying that.
I've already shared my own opinion on the "it happens to everyone" defense, but it seems it keeps popping up. John Dickerson said he's been hearing it a lot.
If you're thinking about getting into quail hunting, you should know one thing: You're going to get "peppered." It comes with the license. It hurts, but so do a lot of things in life. Only media elites run around trying to spread Neosporin on everyone who gets into a little hunting accident.
That doesn't seem to be quite true. According to the state of Texas's own analysis of hunting accidents (PDF link), between 1966 and 2005, there were 42.3 million annual hunting licenses were sold in the state, but only 2,616 accidents occurred. Leaving aside that there's no way of knowing how many people hunted without licenses, so we have no real idea of how many actual hunters were in the field in a during that time), that means that only .00006 percent of hunters were involved in accident during that time and that's only if the same idiot didn't make the same mistake more than once.

So the "it happens to everyone" meme is ridiculous, though it can hardly be blamed on the first person to toss it out, right? As far as I can tell it came from Katharine Armstrong first and she only served on the Texas Wildlife and Parks Commission for four years, two as Chairman (PDF link, see page 4). How could she know anything about it?

What I find most offensive here is how Cheney acted after being caught hunting without the proper stamp on his license. No, I don't mind that he didn't have it. That happens. For example, when I renew my clearance for the military, I still report that I have a misdemeanor charge of fishing without a license on my record. It cost me $75 for what would have been a $10 license.

And, in my story, you'll see the problem.

I pointed out when this first happened that I saw a pattern here. Aside from this administration's habit of shooting first and asking questions later (not to mention lying: everybody gets shot while quail hunting), you can also see their disdain for the law.
Vice President Dick Cheney was hunting illegally - without the required $7 stamp on his license for quail - when he accidentally shot one of his hunting partners, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials said Monday.

And so was Harry Whittington, 78, who was recovering Monday from a shotgun blast to the face, neck and chest.

In its report, the state agency that oversees hunting and fishing said it found that neither Cheney nor Whittington had purchased the game bird stamp required to hunt quail in Texas, although both had valid hunting licenses. Both will get warning citations, and there will be no fine or other penalty.

Cheney's office said Monday he hadn't realized he was lacking the proper stamp and has since sent a $7 check to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
You see that? Cheney committed a class C misdemeanor, which means he should have been charged between $25 and $500.

These are small sums for Cheney, certainly, but the fact that Cheney believes he can retroactively pay for something he should have had in the first place shows that he just doesn't care for the law. Will no one else be charge with this misdemeanor if they're caught? Can I drive without a license plate and, when stopped, just give the policeman a check for what the plate would cost? Hell no. I'm not Dick.

You may think I'm stretching, but this is, again, an example of how this administration thinks on larger issues. According to the Washington Post lawmakers seem to be backing off from their investigations of Bush's warrantless wiretapping program. But that's not all they're doing.
Senate intelligence committee member Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said in an interview that he supports the NSA program and would oppose a congressional investigation. He said he is drafting legislation that would "specifically authorize this program" by excluding it from the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court to consider government requests for wiretap warrants in anti-terrorist investigations.
In other words, the White House has broken the law, but the Republicans are going to rush in and make it all better by making it legal now. This is just like Cheney sending in his $7 check and calling it good. Bush won't have to pay for his illegal acts and those who should be watching over this administration are going to act like he was always able to tap Americans' phones without warrants.

As David Ignatius writes today, this administration has "blown past the usual rules and restraints" put upon past presidents. Seriously, though, what's stopping them? They've decided repeatedly to violate the law and the Constitution and, lucky them, they don't even have to send in a check to pay for their crimes.

The Republicans in Congress are volunteering to write those checks for them.

And they appear to be blank.

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