If this incident had been reported immediately, and the Vice-President had come out quickly and said, "this is a terrible accident, and I clearly feel bad about what happened. It just shows that no matter how experienced you are, you can still make a mistake and accidents can still happen. This should be a lesson for hunters everywhere" or something like that, this would have remained where it might otherwise have belonged, provided it is true that alcohol isn't a factor: fodder for late-night comedy skits. Instead, the handling of the incident has become, as thereisnospoon has so eloquently pointed out, a metaphor for the way this administration handles every single other problem: try to control the media first. If that doesn't work, blame the victim. Whatever happens, never admit any sort of wrongdoing.
I mean, let's take a look at Cheney's only official statement concerning the incident, as released by the Washington Post:
"The vice president said that his thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Whittington and his family."
Oh my god! This is a sick joke. I mean, first of all, he has the statement released in the third person, rather than issuing a statement himself. Second: "his thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Whittingon and his family"? I SHOULD HOPE TO HELL THEY ARE!! HE SHOT THE GUY, DIDN'T HE? I mean, that's the type of impersonal statement you release when some acquaintance gets sick or has an injury or something. When you're the reason the injury took place, isn't it incumbent to go a little further? Maybe "express deep regret" at least? Something?
This administration is really something else. What's sad is if it takes something like this to get the average person to actually realize it.