When I think “responsible gun owner,” I generally think of hunters. Being raised around firearms in rural Oregon, I’ve known many people who responsibly own guns, and some that help make ends meet by hunting food for their families.
One thing that’s considered extremely important while hunting is correctly identifying targets before shooting them — you know, making sure that a deer isn’t really a person, or an out-of-season deer (or doe). Making sure that the moving deer you’re shooting at is alive and not being pushed on a cart is crucial as well.
That’s what happened in upstate New York Saturday when one hunter, mistaking a dead deer being pushed on a cart for a live deer, and shot the hunter who was pushing the cart. Luckily, the second hunter wasn’t killed — only wounded in the hand and butt.
The incident occurred at about 10:25 a.m. One hunter was from Wappingers Falls, the other was from Beacon. No further information was available.
It’s still more excusable than Dick Cheney shooting Harry Whittington in the face, neck, and chest. When Cheney shot Whittington, he broke two very basic safety rules — never point your gun at a person, and look for blue sky beneath a bird before you shoot at it. In fact, the police report noted that if Whittington hadn’t been below him on a slope, the shot would have hit him in the legs.
Even more telling is that the White House at the time blamed Whittington, saying he “failed to follow hunting protocol” by not announcing his presence. That’s not how it works — you have a responsibility not to point your gun at someone. It’s not their job to stay out of your way. Oh, and Cheney never apologized, publicly or privately.
The moral of the story is, be sure of a target before shooting it. And if you can’t tell the difference between a live deer and one being pushed on a cart, maybe stay out of the woods entirely.
H/T: ABC News | Image by Bob McNally For the Times-Union