Dick Cheney's reluctance to reveal how his Armstrong Ranch idyll exploded into a bird-shot blunder triggered readers to pepper the V.P. with charges of sly unaccountability. But others insisted that the only misfire in the overblown affair was the press shooting itself in the foot
Vice President Dick Cheney decided that Katherine Armstrong, owner of the land on which he accidentally shot Harry Whittington, was the best person to tell the press about the event [Feb. 27]. Cheney handpicked someone who had potentially serious liability issues to give the story to the media even before the President was informed. The disclosure that Cheney and his friends were hunting from their cars without proper licenses adds a smarmy exclamation point to another display of his arrogance and disregard for the law.
Huber Heights, Ohio, U.S.
The most disturbing excuse for the delay in reporting the accident to the public was that Cheney had no press officer with him. Why couldn't he write his own statement about something supposedly so straightforward? How could relaying facts be beyond his ability? If only Cheney were committed to truth and transparency, and if only he were candid enough to face the public outside the comfort zone of Fox News. The media overreacted to the delay in reporting the shooting, but Cheney's excuses attest to his secretiveness.
William A. McCartney
Delaware, Ohio, U.S.
Safety-conscious hunters learn that it is their responsibility to know where the rest of their party is before taking a shot.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, U.S.
Good Grief! I can't believe the media could read so much into a simple hunting accident. The real story was how reporters went completely berserk, looking under every rock to find dirt. All the facts were in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on Monday and the sheriff's statement released on Thursday. What fools you make of yourselves although it was hilarious watching the circus.
If I as a police officer, shot someone accidentally and did not talk to investigators for 14 or more hours, I guarantee that the police department would take away my badge. Cheney's decision not to publicly disclose the accident until it was convenient for him shows more of the same "We're above the law" attitude from Republicans, when what they should be is beyond reproach.
Chicago Police Department, Chicago
It's puzzling to think that anyone could enjoy blasting away at quail. The quail's little "bobwhite" whistle is one of the most beautiful sounds. Quail are farmers' friends, eating insects that are harmful to crops. These gentle birds harm no one and take good care of their families.
Mounds, Oklahoma, U.S.
Dick Cheney is the poster boy for the "shoot first, think later" approach, whether it involves war, torture or just plain getting even.
James B. Morin
Guasti, California, U.S.
Grim News from Greenland
"Has the meltdown begun?" [Feb. 27] reported the discovery that Greenland's glaciers are melting faster than anyone expected. That is more proof of global warming, and the resulting rise in sea levels makes the immediate impact of climate change worse than anticipated. The glaciers are also receding at Glacier National Park, Montana. We are having milder winters in the Midwest, and tropical frog species are disappearing. What more evidence do we need?
Our greedy, growing world is fast running out of resources, two of them being oil and freshwater. Maybe we have to rethink our priorities. It might be better to build pipelines to ship pure glacial water to thirsty parts of the world, as I haven't met anyone yet who drinks oil.
Truro, Massachusetts, U.S.
U.N. Ambassador John Bolton's answer to your question about the possibility of a more aggressive response to the genocide in Darfur was quite telling [Feb. 27]. He said, "You could end up with a lot of dead military people and not save a single civilian." The Janjaweed militia, which is doing the killing, is armed with rifles and riding horses and camels. Surely the U.S. military is capable of taking them on.
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Silver but Unsafe?
Re "The rise and fall and rise of a skating superpower" [Feb. 27], about the Chinese ascendancy in figure skating: Time said the pairs figure-skating team of Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao "nabbed the silver." Nabbed indeed. Zhang Hao flung his partner into the air with all the grace of a stevedore hurling a sack of cement onto a ship. That Zhang Dan didn't sustain a more serious injury is a miracle. Zhang Hao's seeming disregard for the safety of his partner was nothing but a savage show of physical strength and should have been heavily penalized by the judges, no matter how the couple executed their moves after the chuck. You describe their victory as "a valiant silver." I think a sadomasochistic silver is more like it.
Brian C. Russo
Were the Olympic games necessary to introduce Torino to the world [Feb. 27]? In Italy, Torino is known as an industrial city, but perhaps outside Italy it is unknown. Italy isn't just Venice, Naples and Milan; there are also a number of very nice, small cities. People of the Piedmont region may have a reserved character, but they are not inhospitable. They are like a timid boy: at first they might seem unsociable, but all things considered, they are only prudent. I would like to invite everyone to visit Torino. In this city there are many things to discover!
I find it slightly disturbing that Time didn't use the opportunity of its Olympic reporting to counter all the overhyped expectations about how well the American athletes would do in Torino. Athletes from all over the world should be recognized for their achievements. To focus so much attention on U.S. athletes instead of recognizing the top individuals in each contest is rather narrow-minded. I find it only fitting that some of the prominent U.S. competitors underperformed. I would have preferred a little less cheering for your home team.
I have to disagree with your critic's assessment of the movie Crash that "people either like the movie or loathe it" because "it is too wide-ranging to really draw you into the lives it recounts" [Feb. 27]. People loathe it because they are forced to recognize their own flaws in the ugly and in some cases unforgivable failures of the movie's characters. I loved Crash because it is not just a story about the people of Los Angeles but also a beautiful film that shows the very real flawed and fractured lives of regular Americans.
Natalia Medina Coggins
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Hamas Takes the Helm
Before winning the legislative elections, Hamas strategically took charge of many Palestinian educational and social-aid institutions while teaching schoolchildren hatred and continuing to advocate the destruction of Israel [Feb. 6]. The swindling ways of the previous Fatah government made it easy for Hamas to be democratically elected. In the 1930s, Hitler also achieved democratic election by appealing to the populace with the same form of mass appeal. Let's hope the U.N. and the E.U. will not become emasculated appeasers. It would be an exercise in futility to negotiate with enemies who are intractable in their determination to destroy Israel.