Dear Mr. Vice President


Generally, I don't mind seeing some politician going hunting with his buddies. Not that I'm for it: I think hunting animals with firearms is a rather unequal contest, and really not in accord with a Gospel way of life. Still, I can't demand that everyone live to that standard. I'm willing to tolerate sport hunting.

However, I think it's a bad idea for Mr. Cheney for a couple of practical reasons.

First, I think it's bad politics: hunting has the image of being generally a rich men's sport. This isn't something that the Veep, with his WASP-businessman image, should seek out.

Second, it's not prudent: the risk, small as it is, of being injured oneself or, God forbid, injuring someone else is not acceptable for a sitting President or Vice-President. When you go into the top two jobs, you simply should put hunting on hold for eight years.

Now that Mr. Cheney's had an accident serious enough to put a friend in the hospital, he should admit his blunder and do an act of penance for it: take a stand for hunting safety by giving up the sport. For him to persist in hunting at his age, after having made this somewhat dangerous mistake, creates an argument for banning hunting generally: probably not something he wants.

From a Catholic point of view, of course, safety -- protecting human life -- is more important than sport.


"Hunting has the image of being generally a rich men's sport."

Huh? Where? Certainly not in Texas!!!!

Here in Virginia, hunters have the opposite reputation, as regular-guy, salt-of-the-earth types. You can still go fox hunting around Middleburg, and I think some Brits go there to do that, but we have hundreds of thousands of hunters, from all walks of life.

Also, from the news accounts I read, the guy who got shot was at fault, because he made no effort to indicate his position.

It's Bush's fault!

I dont think of hunting as a rich mans sport - coming from the west coast. But I do think the VP could have at least bought a hunting licence, or did he figure he didnt need one being VP?

In New England, the perception is that hunters = rednecks. Every blue collar male in the state hunts here. And a lot of their wives.

The White Collar types are often much to dignified to dirty themselves with such a redneck activity. Working in the Portland office of one of the world's largest banks, I get a lot of very befuddled looks when I mention that I hunt.

Rich man's sport? No way. Maybe in Africa, but not anywhere in the US that I'm aware of. Quite the opposite is true.

Cheney had a hunting license. He didn't have a stamp for the particular type of fowl he was hunting. Looks like an oversight, but I'm sure some folks will say it's an example of how republicans think they are above the law.

RC, I love your posts, and almost always agree with you. But you comne across in this letter sounding like a pantywaist city boy.

Well, you got me pegged!

--born in Brooklyn

"hunting has the image of being generally a rich men's sport"

Bill beat me to it - where do you live, Bubba? Not here in Texas, where - after one has sought the wisdom and counsel of the timid creatures of the forest - it's nice to sit down to dinner and eat a few of'em!

"hunting has the image of being generally a rich men's sport".
Just for the record... not in PA, either.

Cheney had the hunting license (cost $125). He didn't have a stamp. This stamp was newly introduced only five months ago and so lots of people aren't aware of it, even in Texas. That's why he (like every other person found not to have it) was given a warning.

I've blogged about other pet peeves in this story, including reporters saying he was using "buckshot" (the guy would be dead!).

But then, they don't even pronounce his name right.

Perhaps I shouldn't even have offered an opinion on the socio-economic image of hunting; it seems to have distracted us from the more important aspects of the case. Now that Mr. Whittington has a bit of metal "touching or embedding into the heart muscle", the life and safety issues seem a bit more urgent than they did yesterday. But perhaps no one disagrees with my views on those.

Incidentally, I have to give credit to the wag who started offering T-shirts today at cafepress: they feature a pellet-shot pattern, the seal of the Veep's office, and the words "The Vice President shot me and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

I am more upset by the arrogant assumption by the elite media that the first responsibility of everyone involved in the incident was to provide a personal account to the Fourth Estate of what happened to them virtually instantly---and when they weren't treated as more important than even notifying scattered family members of the victimn, throwing angry hissyfits like the supremely ego-driven what's-his-name Gregory of NBC.

I'll disagree. If the reports are correct, then Mr. Cheney's hunter-safety creds aren't really in question; Mr. Whittington's are. He should have made his presence known to the rest of his party, rather than wandering off alone and returning to the group quietly.

Besides, if the guy's as rich as they say, why didn't he have a dog retreiving his prey?

I disagree with you that using firearms to hunt is contrary to a gospel way of life. Try shooting a partridge at 70 metres with a 410 shotgun and see if you can hit it. I couldn't so there's no mismatch :)


I'm assuming you don't eat meat. It's illogical to condemn a hunter unless you also condemn the guy working in a slaughter house. Oh, you mean the slaughterhouse guy wouldn't be in a position to accidentally shoot a human being? Well then, pilots shouldn't fly planes because there is a possibility of loss of human life. Bus drivers shouldn't drive, policemen shouldn't police.....well you get the idea.

"Oh, you mean the slaughterhouse guy wouldn't be in a position to accidentally shoot a human being? "

Shoot, no. But accident sin slaughterhouses are much more likely to end in death than pepperings on a quail hunt.

Nan, is there some confusion about what I intended? I didn't write that hunting is immoral, let alone that all killing of animals would be immoral. (See St. Peter's vision in Acts 10, for example.)

We live in this world where original sin has made it normal that we kill and eat animals. Within the limits of our duties toward animals, this is acceptable.

But I could have been plainer about the idea. Killing animals for whatever reason is decidedly a this-worldly activity: there will be no killing in Heaven. There will be a new creation in which redeemed man is at peace with the world around him. People who embrace non-violence completely, for example, monks, have the opportunity to bear witness to the new creation which is to be our destiny. This is not a matter of duty: it's an evangelical counsel. So there's the Gospel ideal.

Some readers seem to think I declared the risks of hunting excessive for everyone. The attentive reader will know I didn't argue that; instead, I contended they make it imprudent for someone in Mr. Cheney's or Mr. Bush's office.

Sorry if I misunderstood your post. Where do you draw the line though? If I understand you correctly, you mean that the president and vice president shouldn't put themselves in danger unnecessarily - is that correct? Wouldn't flying in that helicopter be out then? What about standing in front of the press corps (a little joke)? I recall a picture of Bush using a chainsaw to clear brush. Do they ride horseback? I'm still of the mind that those 2 shouldn't have to confine themselves to stamp collecting while serving their country. Did you hear the guy Kalb last night on Fox news? He started out with the same argument, but his mask slipped and he became quite agitated,asking O'Reilly if he(O'Reilly) has ever been hunting quail on a 5,000 acre private ranch. His point then seemed to be the one others have found faulty - that hunting is a rich man's sport that only privileged people like Cheney could indulge in. O'Reilly of course made the "who cares" point. I think O'Reilly can be obnoxious, but he was spot on.

Some guys went hunting and one of them got shot accidentally but fortunately he's all right.

There is no news here. This is a completely private matter.

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On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on February 13, 2006 7:11 PM.

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