Gay Anti-War Immigrant Shoots Friend of Vice President Dick Cheney

Armstrong, Texas, February 15, 2007 -- A gay immigrant anti-war activist hunting together with Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly shot and seriously wounded a member of their party earlier this week in what has been termed an "alleged hunting accident".

28-gauge Perazzi shotgun similar to the one used by Mr. Thimbles to shoot Vice President Cheney's friend Harry Whittington28-gauge Perazzi shotgun similar to the one used by Mr. Thimbles to shoot Vice President Cheney's friend Harry Whittington

The victim, 78-year-old attorney Harry Whittington, sustained major shotgun trauma to the face, neck and chest, and is currently in critical condition at a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, battling potentially lethal heart complications brought on by his injuries.

According to Vice President Dick Cheney's eyewitness account, the shooter, Chauncey Thimbles of Providence, Rhode Island, failed to follow basic hunting procedure when he fired his "sissified 28-gauge Italian designer girly-gun" on what he claimed was a covey of quail, instead striking Mr. Whittington, who was approaching behind him and to the right, "full in the face from thirty yards away." Mr. Whittington, who had been hunting together with Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Thimbles at the 50,000 acre Armstrong ranch in Armstrong, Texas, was struck by between 100 and 200 lead pellets of the kind used in small game hunting.

"It's disgraceful," said Vice President Dick Cheney, who, after informing President Bush and the White House press center of the shooting, held an independent press conference on location at the Armstrong ranch within hours after the incident. "The man's a menace, and there's no doubt in my mind he and other dangerous gay anti-war immigrants like him should be incarcerated without bail or access to legal counsel until this matter has been thoroughly investigated."

Vice President Dick Cheney's taxpayer-funded medical team and ambulance, which are always nearby and on immediate call to attend to his frequent heart failures whenever he travels on either public or private business, were luckily able to dress Mr. Whittington's wounds within minutes, after which he was evacuated to a nearby hospital for further treatment and diagnosis.

Vice President Dick Cheney then called a press conference to announce the incident, after which he and the other guests sat down to an angry, tearful gourmet dinner of fresh quail, wild rice and French Bourdeaux at the ranch and awaited further news regarding Mr. Whittington's condition from Mr. Cheney's aides and Secret Service detachment.

Mr. Thimbles, who recently immigrated from Canada after marrying his male partner, had already been taken into custody by the local sheriff and was reportedly being "severely questioned" as to his role in the incident, using coerced interrogation methods recently approved by the Vice President's office.

Vice President Cheney said the police report will show that Mr. Thimbles fired on Mr. Whittington in "clear, sunlit conditions with only light ground cover".

"You'd have to be the world's flightiest and most inexpert marksman to make a mistake of that kind. It's the cardinal rule of hunting safety," Vice President Dick Cheney said. "Always make sure your target is clear. Narrow-gauge quail hunting is a man's game, and if you don't know what the hell you're doing, you shouldn't be out there in the first place. Either that, or this was no accident, and that's what we're going to find out."

The NRA, of which Vice President Dick Cheney is an outspoken member and supporter, was equally quick to condemn the incident.

"Shootings of this kind by inexpert, improperly trained gun-handlers, whether accidental or not, do nothing other than give the noble sport of hunting and the protection of our second amendment rights a bad name," said Thorp Wyatt, a NRA spokesman. "I hope the shooting of Vice President Dick Cheney's good friend Harry Whittington is investigated to its fullest extent and the perpetrator brought to justice – Texas-style."

Peni Jacuzzi, Mr. Thimbles' same-sex partner, at first tried to deflect criticism of Mr. Thimbles by suggesting it was Mr. Whittington, not Mr. Thimbles, who had failed to follow correct hunting procedures.

"I'm told Mr. Whittington had separated himself from the line occupied by Vice President Dick Cheney and Chauncey in order to retrieve a brace of quail that he'd already downed, and came up from behind without announcing his presence," said Mr. Jacuzzi. "In my mind, that failure to follow proper procedure should exonerate Chauncey of any wrongdoing in the unfortunate shooting."

This theory immediately met with a storm of criticism, primarily from the conservative right.

"That's complete bull-cookies," said Warner Varmit, a staunch Republican and local landowner whose 22,000 acre ranch is near the Armstrong property. "I don't care whether you run straight into the line of fire wearing feathers and a tutu—the responsibility's still always with the shooter to decide when to pull or not to pull the trigger. If there's someone in your way, you don't shoot--end of story. We issue over one million hunting licenses a year here in Texas. There's about 30 accidents, maybe only four or five of this type. What are the odds this one was?"

"I heard Mrs. Armstrong say 'there may be a beer or two in there' when describing the picnic lunch the hunting party enjoyed a few hours before the shooting," said William Kristol, a right-wing policy analyst and editor of the conservative Weekly Standard. "I, for one, would like to know what Mr. Thimbles' blood test shows, and I think the American public deserves to know that too."

Bellicose right-wing radio commentator Rush Limbaugh pulled no punches in his assessment of the incident, asking "Would you rather be in the path of Laura Bush's car or of this butt-muncher's shotgun? I think I know what my answer would be."

Members of the Christian Right and the anti-abortion movement were also quick to condemn the shooting.

"No one who truly believed in a culture of life would perform this heinous act, accidental or not," said Dr. James Dobson, chairman of the conservative anti-abortion organization Focus on the Family.

Christian radical Pat Robertson, in his daily television program The 700 Club, said Mr. Whittington was "probably being punished by a vengeful God for the crime of going hunting with a sexual deviant, and rightly so."

Reporters, few of whom appeared eager to pick up the story after Vice President Dick Cheney's initial press conference at the Armstrong ranch, were chided by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan for ignoring what he apparently considered to be the top story of the week. The clarion call was taken up by loud demands in conservative opinion pages for the media to do their job and get to the bottom of what many are now calling "a national disgrace".

"If it had been Vice President Cheney who had pulled the trigger, now that would have been a story," said one baffled Washington reporter. "I don't know why they want to keep flogging this one. It's just a gay anti-war activist and some rich Republican crony."

But during several consecutive White House press briefings, reporters who wished to ask questions on healthcare, the deficit, and the Iranian nuclear program were repeatedly steered back to the shooting by spokesman Scott McClellan.

"I think today what we're focusing our efforts is on what are the most pressing priorities before the American people," Mr. McClellan said. "And that's where we're focusing. An old friend and supporter of Vice President Dick Cheney has been shot by a gay anti-war activist immigrant, and I think that's one of the top priorities of the American people right now. If you want to keep focusing on how to make health care more affordable and accessible, that's your prerogative, but I'm moving on to the shooting."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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