Radical combat veteran Stan Goff tears into the Cheney shooting, rips out the underlying issues of gender, race and class:

'Dick Cheney has constructed himself as a hunter... consistent with his supposedly intimidating predator image....

'One need merely note the symbolic exhibitionism of consumer masculinity all around us to see why this has been so politically effective. Gym-rat WWF musculatures that don't exist in nature, SUVs the size of small tanks jacked up on giant wheels, t-shirts that declare "Insurance by Smith and Wesson," and as we scale the class ladder the more subtly stated accoutrements of masculine dominance, from the "corrective" tailoring of the man's suit to the Valexta briefcase. Masculinity itself is more often than not a game of dress-up, a pose, the ultimate life sentence of tough-guy theatricality for men.

'In an era when even the American male working class is as commonly found in an office cubicle as a factory, when we spend an average of 7.5 hours a day in our homes with televisions on, drinking in this cognitive data stream of fantasy gender-norms, when we live in places called Fox Run with no foxes, Deer Park with no deer, Sleepy Hollow that is in fact a bulldozed lot built over with masonite boxes, it's little wonder that even the old oppressive masculinities — at least actually connected with where one lived and what one did for a living — have given way to costume-consumer masculinity....

'The fact that this is a country where a large number of men — many who vote Republican — actually do have more than passing familiarity with firearms, and actually know the basic safety measures that are required to properly handle them, is now a problem for Dick Cheney. Many of us learned firearms in the military, and since the mid-eighties there have been very sharp penalties in the military for "accidental discharges." The military learned, slower than most, that there are two simple rules that will prevent the accidental discharge of a weapon and the collateral damage that can result.

(1) Never place your finger on the trigger until you have aligned the sights on a target.
(2) Never point the weapon at anything until you have identified it as something you intend to shoot.

'However pathological the macho death-cult of guns is in this country, the people who have taken the trouble to learn anything about firearms at all now know that Cheney is what my dad used to call a pig-hunter and a fool that traipsed around after his "one beer" lunch on the quail preserve with his finger on the trigger. He's no more a hunter than Bush is a cowboy.'


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