Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Cheney can't shoot

When I first read the news that Dick Cheney had accidentally (love that word) shot his friend (love that word, too) while hunting, my first thought was what a complete idiot he has to be. My second thought was that this is the second most powerful leader of the most powerful country on the planet.

Damn, that dichotomy scares me.

Here's what I published in today's paper. The direct link is here. Here's the text:
Tell Dick Cheney hunting's outdated
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The London Free Press

Long before gigantic supermarkets became our closest connection to the food supply, hunters roamed the land in search of dinner.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of his hunting partner on Saturday throws the need for modern-day hunting into further question. I doubt the second most powerful man on the planet was out shooting because he was hungry.

Cheney would call it sport. I'll politely disagree.

The International Hunter Education Association logged 850 hunting accidents throughout North America in 2002, the most recent year for which figures are available. Of those, 89 were fatal.

Hunting advocates say the accident figures are acceptable given the millions of hunters who take to the woods each year. I disagree. Even one death is too many, especially since it's been generations since we've needed to shoot wild animals for food.

Urban expansion makes a bad situation worse as it erodes the buffer between hunters and the rest of us.

So what's the alternative? Ditch the gun and go grocery shopping. It's infinitely safer.

Your turn - 2 parts:
  1. Does the thought of Dick Cheney scare you as much as it scares me?
  2. Is there still room for hunting in our supermarket society? (I think I'm being yanked off the hunters' birthday card list after this one.)
Update - The Free Press published these two letters to the editor on February 17th. Original page is here. It's nice to see I can motivate folks on all sides of a given issue to pick up a pen and write in. Here's what they wrote:
More killed on highways

In his Ink Blog, Tell Dick Cheney hunting’s outdated (Feb. 14), Carmi Levy suggests that going to the supermarket is safer than hunting.

He further writes that there is no longer a need to hunt for food. He cites 850 hunting accidents with 89 fatalities in all of North America in 2002. What he doesn’t say is how many of those fatalities were non-firearm-related accidents such as ATV collisions, slip-and-falls and other mishaps.

By contrast, Transport Canada reports in 2002 that there were 2,936 deaths from motor vehicle collisions just in Canada. So, do you really think it’s safer to drive to the grocery store?

Levy also questions the need to hunt in this modern day. There are many things we don’t need today. We don’t need to drive to the grocery store in a luxury sports car with more than 300 horsepower. If Levy thinks hunting is only about the acquisition of meat, he truly has no idea about the topic. He could learn. But that would mean he would have to leave the city where everything is done for him and go out into the wilderness. And a man has to know his limitations.

Tony Morrison

Hunting controls wildlife

Regarding the Ink Blog, Tell Dick Cheney hunting’s outdated (Feb. 14) by Carmi Levy:

The unsafe actions, like those of U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, influence even more non-hunters against the traditional sport.

Levy is an easily influenced person who did not evaluate the true nature of hunting prior to writing his column.

The need for modern hunting stems from a decrease in animal habitat resulting from urban expansion. When wildlife overpopulation occurs, ecological habitats exceed their sustainability. The Ministry of Natural Resources organizes annual hunts to regulate wildlife numbers.

If Levy is so concerned with his close proximity to hunters, he should consider who exactly hunters are. Many hunters, including me, are urban residents who venture to rural areas to participate in hunting.

Hunting is also defined by more than just “shooting a wild animal for food”; although a legal and ethical hunter will definitely utilize their harvested animal. The sport of hunting encompasses many values, including respect, camaraderie, responsibility, conservation and safety.

Levy fails to note that the IHEA statistics include fatalities that result not just from firearms discharging but from any accidental hunting injuries. Hunting is actually safer than many daily activities that citizens participate in.

In 2001, StatsCan recorded that a total of 3,032 Canadians died as a result of vehicle accidents. Statistics provide a guideline to ensure that safety is taken seriously by all citizens. Evidently, fatality statistics do not influence Canadian residents to give up their vehicles, and fatality statistics should not have a negative influence on the continuation of hunting.

Lindsey Rawlings
(a woman, a hunter, and a UWO student)


Anonymous said...

I think the shame of it is that it wasn't reported to the media until almost 24 hours after it happened.

I'm not against sport hunting when it helps to control the wildlife population and regulations are followed completely. Chaney, it turns out, didn't folling regulations completed and will get a "warning"...not even a fine.

Jef said...

Personally, I think George W. is a puppet for Carl Rove and Dick Chenney, so yes, he does scare the hell out of me.

I grew up with guns and I have respect for them. My father explained to us that guns were dangerous, and if we ever wanted to shoot them, he would take us to shoot them. Therefore, I never had a desire to touch them on my own. Over the holidays, I went skeet shooting with my father and enjoyed it. However, they are trying to pass a law that will allow employees to bring guns to work, and that scares me when I consider some of the people I have worked with.

In conclusion, my partner and I were discussing how the Secret Service probably would have taken out Chenney's friend with no questions asked if his friend had accidentally shot Chenney.

Anonymous said...

Like the person above, hunting is not the main issue - although it's a goofy form of "sport" to me (entertainment as best I can tell). I think it's a better view deep into the minds of a scary bunch of people.

While young, male, muslim extremists scare me a bit - redneck, powerball, imperialistic Americans are far more concerning. I'm certainly not anti-American... far from it. In fact I would say I qualify as a very conservative person politically - but the Bush administration is out of control.

It's like they are the biggest, meanest, most ignorant redneck ever. I can't believe the country is falling for it.

Backfire aka Plucky said...

What scares me most about this is that I wasn't surprised, even a little bit. I saw the news tape at the bottom of the screen over the weekend and just though, "Dumbass", and kept flipping.

The hunting issue is one I have to think about often, living in Virginia where there are an abundance of hunters. Hunting for "sport" is ridiculous to me. Who really *likes* the taste of venison, anyway? However, controlled hunts for population control are necessary in some areas because the predators were hunted out. Tough situation.

mattviews said...

I think this shameful hunting incident of Cheney, like many of the pretroleum rumors that pointed to his collusion, shows again how shady our V.P. is.

I had very weird vibe of Cheney even during GWB's presidential campaign. Scrupulous pursuit of The Economist confided my qualm of him. I don't want to go into politics and try to keep it away from the blog...but he established a secret Energy Task Force, (I think that's what it is called?) formally known as the National Energy Policy Development Agency, for the purpose of making recommendations to President Bush on energy policy. In formulating a new energy strategy for America, the task force met secretly with lobbyists and representatives of the petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, and electricity industries...the whole Haliburton scandal...

Anyway the point is...Cheney is shady. This hunting incident reminds me of how the Governator's convincingly performed mea culpa for never having a motorcycle license. He never got a fine and in fact escaped the citation altogether because of a loophole in California law that actually allows one ride a sidecar with just a driver's license to operate a car.

Moon said...

Yeah, he scares me..the whole redneck administration scares me..that said... I abhor the idea of *SPORT* hunting...there is no *sport in random killing...but hunting to eat is a different thing...yes supermarkets are abundant now but not everyone can afford what they want all the time...I grew up on deer or moose meat..my father hated hunting..but once a yr he would get a (one) deer or moose and we would have meat for the year. He never killed more then we needed for that year. We never hung the heads belonging to part of our plates on the wall either.....I haven't eating deer or moose in atleast 20 yrs but I know some families who do for the same reason we did when I was growing up.

Bess said...

1. Cheney? Yes. Maybe it's the beady eyes.

2. Hunting? I'd say there's still a place for it. I don't see anything less gruesome in the methods of the supermarket society -- animals raised in bondage to be slaughtered on the assembly line. I'm not a vegetarian, and I eat non-free-range meat, but I can't say that I feel great about where it comes from. One thing that's true about hunting: you have to put a little more work into your meal. And a lot of hunters give the whole "season" a clear ritual significance (whether they'd call it that or not), sometimes crass but sometimes very spiritual. There's something to be said for knowing what animal you're eating, for giving recognition to the life that's going to nourish you.

Also, there's a little poetic justice in the occasional hunting accident. Not that I'd wish being shot upon anyone, but if you're out doing the shooting, well, turnabout is fair play, right? (Oh, and I wonder what the figures are for industrial accidents and fatalities in meat processing plants.)

Thanks for your recent comment, by the way. I'm really enjoying your blog. :)

Kara said...

Dick hunting is ridiculous..stop, wait...rewind. The idea of Dick C. hunting is ridiculous...(note to self, think before typing)
As for hunting in todays society, yes, there's still a need. I know a few low income families that get their years meat that way.

Olyal said...

Woohoo!!! I'm back in Carmi-land and I'm loving it!!!
I've kind of caught the tail end of this Dick Cheney thing so I don't think I'm as up (or down?)with the story as I could be...
But seeing as I have just returned from a country where hunting is still a valid method of gathering food, this story has given me a fair bit of food for thought. Hunting as a sport is a waste of food, resources, time and animals. Hunting to feed your family is a totally other issue.

birdychirp said...

Am VERY scared about Dick Cheney.

And I can see nothing fun or recreational about guns. The thought of them preys on my mind when I am in the US.

Jamie said...

In this area if it weren't for hunters, we'd have to pay someone to thin the deer population. So while hunting is archaeic and a stupid excuse for gun ownership, it does still do SOME service. Can't say much more than that as I'm pretty apathetic about the whole hunting thing, BUT:

Dick Cheney scares me. At least there's no talk of him running for Pres that I've heard yet, or I'd be moving north with y'all!

If I'd shot someone, I am not so sure I'd get off so easily. Lesson learned, Money buys power, power buys lots of buckshot, and if you pay your fee's you can shoot your friends.

Viamarie said...

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Photominer said...

Hiya Carmi, as a country kid growing up one deer often meant new shoes for us (money not spent on a side of beef) so I'm pro hunting, if you eat what you shoot.

abetterjulie said...

Since he is like next in line and all, wouldn't you think that he would have had others with him while he walking around with live firearms who could have perhaps pointed out that the dude wasn't a deer? If the guy dies, does that mean Dick has to face manslaughter charges? Hahaha...how silly of me! People in power being forced to follow the rules of the common man...what am I thinkin'?

Lisa said...

1. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. I think so. I've never hunted and couldn't do it, but where I leave its a HUGE sport. Everyone I know that hunts has huge freezers that they fill with meet, and it feeds them for an entire year.

Paste said...

DC is only marginally less scary than his boss.
As to the shooting/hunting thing how killing animals can be described as sport is beyond me. Hunting animals to cull a too large population I can just about live with but in this case these quail were bred to be shot and released into a confined area for the hunting party to shoot. The birds were not 'wild' had no idea of the environment that they were in; it was clay pidgeon shooting with live clays - SICK!

Anonymous said...

1. Yes

I don't really care if people hunt, but it really annoys me when they shoot things they aren't supposed to.

Like they think they are shooting a deer but oops that was your dog?!? Gosh those antlers he was wearing were so tricky.

Or they think they are shooting a bird but, nope, it's a man.

Look first, then shoot bo bo.

Maybe there should be some kind of hunting penalty for that. Like no more hunting for you Mr. Cheney.

Not that someone who is 5,000 years old and has no heart should be hunting anyway. Sorry but it's true. I'm suprised he didn't give himself a heart attack. (What am I saying? Send him back out there right now - we should be so lucky!)

Anonymous said...

Second most powerful? I too say he wields more power than Dubya does. What surprised me most was that he wasn't adequately licensed to hunt. Seems like just one more example of how he's above the law, doesn't it?

I just moved from the DC area. I love it, but it feels good to live further away from the seat of power.

Kristal said...

I am against 'sport' hunting. Why the need to go out and kill for fun? It just feels wrong. That being said, my husband is a hunter. He goes hunting a couple of times a year and, if he's lucky, brings back an elk or a deer. We have a very large family [seven kids at home] and grocery shopping is expensive. The meat he brings home is processed into enough sausage, steak and roasts to last for months. He also slaughters more traditional animals [cows, pigs] to stock the freezer. It is much cheaper to buy a whole animal and do the dirty work himself. My kids know where the meat they eat comes from and respect that an animal lost its life to give them nourishment.

Juggling Mother said...

I am totally opposed to "sport" hunting. In what way is it sport to kill? And what are we saying about our society when we need to chase helpless creatures & killto get excited?

re the other question, I am absolutely terrified about the whole US administration.

kenju said...

I agree with you, Carmi, and also with Daisy about not reporting the incident. It is shameful and scary.

Your Mother said...

Yes he scares me. Maybe not HIM, but his position.

My hubby is a "mighty hunter" (in his opinion) of deer. However, if we didn't eat the meat, he woudn't be. I won't make excuses for hunters or the need to control population, etc. What I will say is that hunting for sport is wrong to me. Additionally, one is never too old for a refresher course on gun safety.

sage said...

I often find myself more liberal than you, but not here (but then I grew up hunting). Yes, I find it scary that Cheney shot someone and it took so long for the media and the sheriff to be informed (you can see my satire on this my Monday's post). Even though I no longer hunt, I'm not opposed to the sport and do rather enjoy eating venison and elk that friends give me.

And someday, I want to paddle up to the Hudson Bay--in Polar Bear Country--and then I would like to have some kind of weapon with me.

sage said...

by the way, your title "Cheney can't shoot" is a little misleading (I have a sick sense of humor)

Anonymous said...

I don't have the statistics regarding mountain biking injuries, but I bet the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) does. Since the proliferation of internal combustion engines, there has been little need for using such an outdated mode of transportation. Mountain bikes typically do not kill living things, but are harmful to the environment (an argument I disagree with, but one that is used). By your argument, why do such a thing?

I am not a Bush/Cheney supporter, I'm not even a republican. I'm also not a hunter or gun owner. Frankly Cheney does scare the hell out of me, but not because he had a hunting accident. I think that argument is flawed.


Greg said...

Dick Cheney sends shivers of dread up and down my spine. As for hunting in today's society, only if it's necessary for survival do I think it necessary.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Cheney scares the hell out of me. As to hunting, it probably still has a place if the people doing it are responsible.

Malinda777 said...

Carmi, no secret we don't always see eye to eye. That's OK, that's why America is great. I'm a Texan and hunted for years. I love the "new saying" I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted Kennedy. NO he doesn't scare me, the other guy scares me if he doesn't know to stay in the line, or speak up...

Yes, the supermarket society still hunts... just not where you live. If you don't laugh too hard at this comment coming, I won't take you off the birthday card list...

Where I come from, you can still buy ammunition at the supermarket.
:)... Keep me as your redneck friend.:)

Unique Designs from Zazzle said...

i still say Dick Cheney was pig hunting and for a moment he thought his friend was Ted Kennedy.

utenzi said...

Michele sent me again today, Carmi. I'm commenting a few posts down.

The idea that Cheney could be president is quite scary. I think the man is very smart and capable--but with his way of thinking those very tools are what scare me. Whereas Bush often comes across as being a dumbass Cheney would not. As a vice president Cheney isn't as careful as he would otherwise be. I think he could do incalcuable harm--he does enough now.

I don't have any problem with people hunting although I've never had any interest in doing so. Whether for sport or for more practical reasons, hunting is a way of life for many. As long as nobody shoots me while I'm hiking...

Anonymous said...


michele sent me....