We asked our readers to offer their opinions on Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident. Here are excerpts from some of the responses we received:
Gerald A. Williams
As a former educator, I fail to understand why the vice president did not take the opportunity to emphasize the importance of gun safety, the need for hunter's safety courses and the constant danger involved with weapons. This incident could have been an excellent lesson for the nation, showing that even one of the most powerful men in the world can make a serious mistake. For our young hunters, it could have been a positive, in that accidents happen so quickly; for the average citizen, that any time you pick up a weapon there is a constant danger. He too failed to show the nation that everyone has the responsibility to immediately report and respond to law enforcement when an accident involving a weapon is involved. It appeared that he felt he was above the law, in that he did not meet with law enforcement until the next day.
Joan N. Grace
I think the media should just plain shut up! This was a simple, unfortunate shooting accident! How many of those do you think there might be daily? ... Drop the Cheney "Jack the Ripper" and get on to something really productive!
Can someone please explain how the VP could not see someone in front of him? I mean think about it. Secret Service people around and typically a dog to chase the quail out of the bushes and VP Cheney shoots a man instead of a quail. There is a huge difference in a man and a quail. On top of that all the VP is getting out of this whole ordeal a warning for not having a $7 license. He is not above the law and if it were any normal person, not someone in a political office, their life would be turned upside down.
We need to MOVE ON!! The only persons (Cheney) needs to apologize to is Harry Whittington and his wife. There is no cover-up or anything else involved here. Just a simple accident.
Boca Raton, Fla.
I am amazed that the press has given Cheney a pass on the obvious question: How much drinking was going on? There is no other conceivable reason why they would have negotiated a 16-hour moratorium with both police and press than alcohol. But this information has to be available, since the victim couldn't have been treated without such tests.
Coral Gables, Fla.
The most logical reason for Cheney avoiding an interview immediately after the shooting is that, as others have concluded, he had been drinking. Plus, the influence over the friendly police authority is evident when you consider that the officer's duty is to determine through investigation whether there has been a criminal act; it is not, as the sheriff admits was the case, to accept conclusions given by interested parties (i.e., Cheney confederates).
I believe this incident has been blown way out of proportion. The only reason the national press is making such a fuss about it is that they weren't the first to break the story. The large news organizations are like a bunch of babies sitting in the corner whining about nothing. Grow up and get over it! We have real issues that need to be addressed.
This is one more fine example of the media trying to make news out of something that is hardly newsworthy. This has nothing to do with politics, the state of our nation or any other topic that sane members of the public care about. This was nothing but an accident that happened on a weekend hunting trip. Big deal. There is no government conspiracy or attempt to cover up the truth. Move on to something that is really newsworthy, you lame reporters.
J. P. Rogerson
First of all, why are people making such a big deal out of this? Hunters have accidents all over the country and they seldom make national headlines. Second Cheney owes no apology to the public. He did not shoot the public, and he has already apologized to his friend that he did shoot. Yes he violated all four of the gun safety rules. I am sure he feels bad enough about it. But it is not our (the public's) concern. If the people of this Great Nation would worry more about their own short comings and fix them instead of trying to criticize others, we would all be better off!
Anybody else would have been arrested until a complete investigation could be done. Just another incident brushed under the carpet. This current regime in office is of the opinion they can do whatever it is at the time they want to do and are "above" untouchable.
La Mirada, Calif.
Dick Cheney shoots a lawyer; no problem. Bill Clinton engages in consensual sex; big problem. But don't worry, if there is an investigation of the Cheney accident, you can be sure that the vice president will not be put under oath, so there will be no penalty if he lies. Republicans don't believe in being put under oath. They want you to trust them.
Mt Vernon, Ill.
I don't know how Cheney feels about shooting his friend, but I know that if I was to have accidentally shot a good friend of mine, I would feel bad about it, and it would be a long time to get over this bad feeling. Everyone needs to leave Cheney alone until he is not feeling so bad about shooting a friend.
San Bernardino, Calif.
Dear NBC Editors, I wish NBC would do a deep analysis on the shooting. Something is not right about what happened at the ranch. Seems the situation points to Cheney having done something wrong and everyone is trying their best to cover the facts up. I want a re-creation of the shooting. I'll bet Cheney was a lot closer than people are saying. And how did birdshot get all the way though the layers of warm clothing and hunting vest to penetrate to the heart and liver? And a 15 hour delay before police could talk to someone? Something is definitely wrong with the story so far. Cheney's a civil servant, an elected official, that's all. He still has to obey the laws.
Fountain Valley ,Calif.
Shot that penetrated to or close to the heart says he was awfully close to the target; The Vice Presidents arrogance is consistent. He should be required to make a full disclosure. The Secret Service should be required to release a full report. The VP is not above the law; accident or otherwise!