Accidents will happen
I've lived in this town for thirty years, and to no one I'm a stranger
And I put new bullets in my gun, chamber upon chamber - Nick Cave
I hate the sense that TranceFormation of America makes. I've referenced the book several times here, notably with respect to Dick Cheney's endowment, Bill Bennett's sado-masochism and the ubiquity of Oz programming, and each time I've apologized for doing so. Cathy O'Brien's account of her decades of torture and mind control is a fittingly dissociative jumble of contaminated memory, fantasy and truth, and if the rationality of these times were any less attenuated I'd be inclined to not bother trying to separate the parts:
Dick Cheney, then [assistant] White House Chief of Staff to President Ford...was the reason my family had travelled to Wyoming where I endured yet another form of brutality - his version of "A Most Dangerous Game," or human hunting.... Dick Cheney had an apparent addiction to the "thrill of the sport." He appeared obsessed with playing A Most Dangerous Game as a means of traumatizing mind control victims, as well as to satisfy his own perverse sexual kinks.
It's just out of this world, right? But then Cheney goes and shoots a man, in this world - not the otherworld of O'Brien's narrative - so another suggestive point of unfortunate contact is made, and the weirdness bears down a little more.
Reportedly this was the first occasion for the victim, Austin "millionaire attorney" Harry Whittington, 78, to go hunting with Cheney. Naturally enough he's a Republican, and not surprisingly he's a Bush appointee: a few years ago, then-Governor George Bush named him to the Texas Funeral Services Commission. If that means anything to you, it probably means Funeralgate. TFSC was the investigating body on the case of Service Corporation International, headed by Bush family friend Robert Waltrip, which had been "recycling graves" and throwing corpses in the woods. Eliza May was the director of the TFSC when the investigation began, and was fired, she claimed, on account of pressure from the Governor's office to help his friend at SCI. Her replacement? Harry Whittington. (As we've noted, SCI has gone on to better things, like being tasked to disappear the dead of Louisiana.)
Whittington was shot by the Vice President on the happy Republican hunting grounds of the 50,000 acre Armstrong Ranch of South Texas. The ranch had belonged to late Bush "Pioneer" Tobin Armstrong, who died last October, and is now the property of daughter Katherine. Perhaps the most interesting family biography belongs to Tobin's widow and Katherine's mother Anne, who advised Nixon, served as Ford's British Ambassador, and "approved covert actions on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under Reagan." Perhaps also worth noting is that Anne was a Halliburton director when the company first hired Dick Cheney.
This happened on Saturday, but the incident wasn't news until late Sunday. What happened in the interim? I could imagine Cheney calling Wolf, the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction, to clean up his mess. But in the horror show we can't stop watching, Cheney himself is the cleaner. So how was the missing time spent?
Then, when the shooting was finally reported, it was told as a joke. Dick Cheney puts an elderly man in intensive care, and the newsreaders can't stop grinning. In the blogosphere too, it became a piece from the lighter side. What's that about, but a coping mechanism to keep the absurdity at safe distance. You let it get to close, it can either drive you mad or efface your presumption of the world. We need to be able to cope with the Deep Absurdity, but sometimes we need to stop laughing long enough to do something about it.
It's suggested that Whittington is wholly responsible for getting "peppered"(note: not shot in the face and chest), by his having separated himself from the hunting party and approached them from behind. Cheney, so goes the word picture goes, was tracking a bird, wheeled about, and - whoops.
An accident? Sure; could be. But just as possible is an intentional act, because in so much they do, the Bush Administration and Cheney at the head of its class conduct themselves with the berserking disregard of a thrill kill cult. They've shrugged "It was an accident" over too many bodies. Even those who don't know O'Brien's account of Cheney's love for hunting humans have been given great cause to wonder, what isn't he capable of? Remember, this is a man who attended the Auschwitz memorial ceremony dressed for a duck hunt, wearing a wool cap which read "Staff 2001." Was he enjoying a good, deep-body chuckle, knowing he wouldn't be held to account for it by anyone but people like us, and so could get away with it?
Guy de Maupassant's "Diary of a Madman" tells the posthumous, first person story of a respected judge whom no one would ever suspect of murder, and so he senselessly kills a little boy and a fisherman just because he could. ("Who would ever know? Who would ever suspect me, me, me, especially if I should choose a being I had no interest in doing away with?") Appended to the diary de Maupassant adds this remark: "Alienist physicians to whom the awful story has been submitted declare that there are in the world many undiscovered madmen as adroit and as much to be feared as this monstrous lunatic."
I frequently read remarks such as What will it take for Bush to lose his base? Eat a baby on live TV? Maybe we'll yet find out.