Hunting Accident

I have been asked often this week if I see any parallels between the hunting accident at the center of my novel, “Before You Know Kindness,” and the hunting accident involving Dick Cheney and Harry M. Whittington.
I don’t. In the novel, the rifle was fired by a 12-year-old girl with no knowledge of firearms who didn’t even realize the gun was loaded; in the case of Dick Cheney, the shooter (Now often do you get to use the words shooter and Dick Cheney in the same sentence?) was the Vice President of the United States who may (or may not) have thought Whittington was a member of Al Qaeda. A perfectly reasonable mistake: Cheney’s boss, after all, spent most of the Vietnam War keeping the Gulf Coast safe from the Viet Cong.

Chris Bohjalian
Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is the author of eighteen books, including his forthcoming novel, The Guest Room. His other novels include the New York Times bestsellers Midwives, The Sandcastle Girls, and The Double Bind.

3 thoughts on “Hunting Accident

  1. Maxine says:

    What to make of this? Are we to reasonably conclude you are a Democrat and/or don’t like Cheney?
    You don’t like the idea of hunting, period.
    I see parallels. If nothing else, the two accidents created an awkward situation for everyone. In both cases someone was injured.
    Nobody did anything intentionally.
    You don’t want to hear this; but, the 12-year-old was drunk and/or under the influence of marijuana.
    Cheney may have consumed alcohol prior.

  2. lissa says:

    While there might be technical and circumstantial parallels, I see them as different in that one incident led to the almost-destruction of a family and the other led to nation- and world-wide mockery. As well, one took place on a hunting trip while the other was purely happenstance. That, to me, is the biggest difference; one was carelessness while the other was a purely tragic freak accident.
    Perhaps substance abuse comes into the picture but is more important in the book than in the real-life incident, as it perpetuated the shooting; however, in the book, the substance abuse was rebellion on the part of a child while Mr. Cheney’s beer was – I would imagine – imbibed with full knowledge that impairment of one’s reflexes was quite likely to ensue.
    While Mr. Whittington might suffer scarring and certain post-traumatic stress, he did not suffer half the injuries – both physical and emotional – suffered by Spencer and his family.
    arallels? Only if you draw direct black-and-white lines. But life has more gray areas than black-and-white…
    Lissa (Montreal)

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