Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cheney Shooting Simulation

Click on the pic to watch the video

While it's only fair to point out that Jones is biased towards finding fault, I would have to say the Corpus Cristi Caller-Times video simulation was probably biased more the other way. This simulation certainly addresses many more aspects of the shooting than the Caller-Times simulation did. Jones shows how far away he is from the target, and addresses the penetration depth and spread at different distances, things the newspaper's simulation sure didn't.

After having watched both, I'd say I lean more towards Jones' explanation. Something I found interesting that was not brought up in the video was the large bruise on Whittington's jaw that seems would have likely been caused by the wad which made the larger hole in the cardboard targets at the shorter distances of 30 feet or less in the demonstration. Surely no one would be expected to be very accurate in judging a distance under these circumstances but there is a world of distance between 30 yards and somewhere less than 30 feet. I believe there is ample reason to demand that an even more thorough followup is in order.

Something else that just doesn't add up is this. According to the official incident report Cheney said "There was a single bird that flew behind him and he followed the bird by line of sight in a counter clockwise direction not realizing Harry Whittington had walked up from behind and had positioned himself approximately 30 yards to the west of him." Well I have a few problems with that account.

In the Feb 27 Newsweek article The Shot Heard Round the World there is a graphic accompanying with the print article called In the Line of Fire that tries to show what happened. Well, as I couldn't find the graphic online, I took a picture of the part I want to point out and posted it here.

I hope you can make it out. It shows Whittington after walking up positioned to Cheney's right, and Cheney spinning 270 degrees counter-clockwise before shooting. If that's the case, Cheney tracked the bird in a circle past Willeford all the way around to fire at Whittington. Is this not reckless as hell or what? Shouldn't a shooting under these circumstances be some sort of criminal negligence? Reckless endangerment?

Also, how did Whittington manage to get hit on the right side of his face if he was to Cheney's right? If he had just walked up on Cheney's right, it seems he would have been hit on his left side, or if he had turned and was facing Dick, which is what the picture shows btw, why were there no injuries to his left side? If Whittington was to Cheney's right, he must have been turned around facing more towards the direction he just came from at the time of the shooting.

The official report states "that Mr. Whittington was standing on ground that was lower than the one [Cheney] was standing on." The report also gives the exact gps coordinates for the location it calls Comal Pasture. The fact that Newsweek's representation draws heavily on this report, its positioning of Whittington to Cheney's right in what it describes as a "dried pond bed" lends some credibility that this is an accurate depiction of where and how they claim the shooting occurred.

Am I the only one who finds this version of events unlikely? To believe this story, one would have to throw occam's razor out the window on a whole variety of points. Investigators are never supposed to do that.

I know this is old news already, and the media is ready to move on, but everything about the shooting just stinks. Why should the VP get a free pass that no one else would in similar circumstances? Of course he shouldn't.


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