Thursday, February 16, 2006

And in the news...

Bast commented that she was surprised I hadn't had something to say about Dick Cheney this week, so here goes:

For those of you who've had your head up your ass for the last few days, United States Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a friend while they were both hunting at a private ranch at the weekend. Now, hunting accidents happen all the damn time, and it's only to be expected when you've got a bunch of people running around with guns, shooting anything that moves. I also don't have anything against game hunting myself. But here's the list of things i find absurd or even worrying about the whole thing:
  1. The VPs office didn't report the shooting to officials until 24 hours later, and only then after a local paper had already reported it online (after the ranch owner had called them). The fact that the vice president would shoot someone and not report it immediately to the authorities is just plain disturbing.
  2. Cheney didn't have a legal permit to hunt quail at the time, so yet more law breaking going on.
  3. Cheney's PR people originally started off blaming the victim, saying that he had gone to locate a lost bird and then failed to indicate to the VP and others that he was behind them. Frankly this kind of statement should get the entire PR department fired (or at least shot at a little). Cheney himself has finally come forward and said "You can't blame anybody else. I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend."
  4. The PR office tried to pass it off as a minor incident, saying the Whittington never lost consciousness and was fine. They failed to mention he was rushed to ICU. On top of it all, he suffered a mild heart attack a few days later when one of the pellets of birdshot found its way to his heart. Playing down the gravity of the situation was certainly not going to save Cheney any face, so why even bother? Again, some mild shooting is required.
  5. I'm not bothered by hunting when it's done by serious hunters and where the animals or birds have a fair chance to outwit or escape the hunters. But the birds Cheney was hunting were pen reared and released right in front of him, to be shot in large numbers as they flapped around in utter confusion. This isn't hunting, it's target practice. The 10-person hunting party downed 417 birds in one morning. There's nothing even vaguely skillful about it. Cheney paid good money for a guaranteed kill. He almost got one more kill than he bargained for.

Really, that's about all i have to say about it. The whole thing is really laughable.

Even more disturbingly in news from the States this week, child murderer Dena Schlosser is pleading insanity after she chopped the arms off her infant with a kitchen knife. While this would normally be an open and shut case of severe post partum depression, what makes it utterly creepy is that when she emergency personnel arrived at the house after she calmly called 911, they found her sitting in the living room, covered in blood and still holding the knife, listening to a church hymn. The day before, she told her husband she wanted to give the baby to God. The family is saying she was influenced by the charasmatic leader of the non-denominational church she attended, Rev. Doyle Davidson. Apart from telling her husband she wanted to give her baby to God, she also said she wanted to give her to Doyle. The fact that her husband didn't think this was worrying only goes to show how deeply imbedded they were in their religion.

Now, there's no doubt that she was crazy. She'd been charged with neglecting her children earlier that year, and had displayed symptoms of post partum depression after the births of her two elder children too. But had she not been a religious woman, entrenched in a religious community with a religious husband, it is entirely likely she would have been urged to seek psychiatric help, rather than religious help. She was not possessed by demons. She was not having trouble interpretting what her god wanted of her. She was crazy. She needed help. Maybe if she'd got it, instead of religious platitudes, she would have been stopped in time.

But that's just my opinion.


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