Saturday, February 18, 2006

Accidental Shooting

Just last week, the Vice President of the United States of America shot a 78 year old man in face while hunting for farm raised quail at a Texas ranch. No big news here, as this happened about a week ago. But, as funny as this story has been for me and for a lot of people, I'm starting to wonder about the whole dynamics of the accidental shooting in terms of it being an instance of violence. I think that in a lot of ways it boils down to whether or not an accident is a violent act or not. When looking at violence defined as something that has an intentionality to it, it doesn't seem to be a violent act. In other words, what makes this accident any different than the inattentive driver who "t-bones" another car in a intersection? When a car slips on the ice and hits on-coming traffic, does one commit a violent act? That being said, intentionaliy can become a cop out for all those times in history where where a person or persons become un-intentional casualties to people's accidents. I don't mean to say though that intentionality doesn't have anything to with the value judgement pertaining to the accident.

This event in which Dick Cheney shot his friend in stead of a small bird has another little wrinkle to it than just being purely an accident. That wrinkle is the situation Cheney found himself in in the first place. That situation is one in which he felt that he needed to use vacation time to hunt farm raised birds almost literally from his car. I wonder why Cheney needs to commit a violent act in the first place. As the Vice President of the USA who has been gainfully employed for all of his life, his need to hunt that bird had nothing to do feeding himself. Moreover, any aspect of sport has to be ruled out since he had someone else find the bird for him before getting out of his car to "hunt" the bird. The only thing I am left with is considering why he or anyone else needed to kill something. Is this an innate need in all humans? And, if it is, what does that say about us as human beings, animals living in an ecosystem, as the children of God?

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