I know I've been strangely silent during the past week. The news events just seem to keep speaking for themselves, without any help from me.
Regular readers of this blog, if there are any, probably remember that I'm a hunter, and proud of it. I think hunting is a great way to connect with the great outdoors, and encourages people to take up an interest in wildlife conservation and habitat preservation. Here's a link to one of my favorite hunting entries to MyMountain.
Here in Minnesota, I'm generally in good company when I express my love of the hunt. I have faced challenges expressing this opinion while residing in more urban environments, such as Chicago, where guns go hand in hand with gang activity and robbery and many people have never had the opportunity to experience a responsible hunt. Growing up in Minnesota your experience with guns is probably a positive one, as opposed to growing up in Cabrini Green.
So I have to say that my heart goes out to Dick Cheney. I can only imagine how aweful I would feel if I accidentally shot someone.
I am incredulous at how the White House has handled the entire situation. First a delay in releasing the news, which suggests to me a continuation of a policy of not being forthright.
Then they decided to blame Cheney's shooting victim. Yes, because it was apparently his fault for "stepping out of line." Every responsible hunter knows that if you pull the trigger and someone gets hurt, its the shooters fault. No question. You do NOT pull the trigger unless you know what your bullet (or pellets) are going to hit.
Then spokesman Scott McClellan thought a more lighthearted approach would be best. So he decided to find humor in the situation, which seemed to be working until the 78 year old victim had a heart attack. Not so funny now, eh?
Sadly, this entire tragedy we see playing out in the news just seems to be the latest in a series of communications blunders that the American people are coming to expect from this administration. I know being forthright is a near impossibility for an administration that is feeling besieged to the point it needs to authorize secret spy programs on its own people. But if George Bush were to ask me, I would give him two points in just four words so that even he could understand it.
1. Be honest.
2. Fire McClellan.
To wrap this up, no matter how you feel about guns, I'd ask you to consider not lumping responsible hunters in with "gun enthusiasts." The problem with the NRA is that they do not know the difference. So intent are they to protect the supposed right to bear arms, that they do the entire fraternity of responsible hunters a huge disservice.
However, I don't believe that my ability to share the magic of a hunt with my children is in any way compromised if I can't use automatic weapons. View this short video and you'll soon understand what I mean. People who use automatic weapons and who like to blow things up are not the kind of people that you will see me hunting with, ever.
Them, or Dick Cheney.