Harry Whittington, the guy Dick Cheney accidentally shot in the face during a February 2006 hunting trip, might be the most forgiving man in the world. In an interview with the Washington Post, the courtly and conservative 82-year-old Texan sharply refuses to discuss whether the vice-president apologized, and was understanding about the fact that White House staff originally blamed the victim.
But that's not all. As with all things related to Dick Cheney, the facts seem to get uglier with time. The article reveals that the shooting was much worse than reports originally indicated.
The shotgun sprayed upward of 200 birdshot pellets at Whittington, causing scores of wounds. His facial lacerations were the most dramatically bloody, but the injuries to his neck and chest were the most serious. Four days after being hit, the birdshot near his heart prompted it to beat erratically, forcing him back into the intensive care unit. Doctors said Whittington suffered a mild heart attack; he thinks it was something less, a heart "event."
Still, the injuries were more dire than previously disclosed. Whittington suffered a collapsed lung. He underwent invasive exploratory surgery, as doctors probed his vital organs for signs of damage. The load from Cheney's gun came close to, but didn't damage, the carotid artery in his neck. A rupture could have been fatal, particularly since it took the better part of an hour to transport him from the vast Armstrong ranch to the Kingsville hospital.
Whittington and Cheney still share birthday greetings. Think of all the possible Hallmark cards!