13 February 2006

Fowling Up

This weekend's most prominent firearms mishap is the sort of thing that one can't put in fiction, because nobody would believe it. It's bad enough when a Justice1 of the Supreme Court goes on a questionable duck hunt. It's even worse when, on yet another fowling event, the Vice President—the same individual, mind you, who invited Justice Scalia on that ill-fated trip—shoots one of his hunting party, apparently by accident.

Various media figures are arrogantly demanding an explanation as to why Cheney didn't call Tim Russert while his gun was still smoking and announce the incident. There's a very simple reason that nobody appears to be looking at: How about the victim's privacy? Perhaps that wasn't the intent in delaying an announcement (I'm predisposed to question the motives of any attempt to control the news cycle by this Administration), but the delay at least allowed time to confirm Mr Whittington's condition and notify his relatives directly.

All of which begs the question of why, after these incidents, anyone would ever again accept a fowl-hunting invitation from Dick Cheney.

  1. One minor protocol point: Although the statutes call them "Associate Justices," there's no good reason to do so, since their leader isn't just plain "Justice"—he's "Chief Justice." It seems a bit weird (and perhaps vaguely disrespectful) to have a chief and eight associates… but nobody in the middle called plain old "Justice," especially when the lower courts don't divide their titles the same way.