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Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual

I live in a town of suspenders. The police chief is the current best example. He was just suspended for shooting his buddy in the back and then lying about it. They were out hunting—well, sitting drunk in lawn chairs blasting at squirrels.

One wonders if the Harney County sheriff, Dave Ward, should check suspended Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea’s cell phone and email records—perhaps O’Dea had just gotten off a call with Dick “Nothing to Apologize For” Cheney before opening fire on his pal.

“Gun safety” might be in line for the Oxymoron of the Millennium Award when police chiefs can’t handle weapons safely.

Was the victim causing the chief to fear for his life so the chief felt obligated to shoot him in the back? The victim was armed, no doubt, so that could be it.

Was the victim African American? Then no gun would be needed; Portland police join many other urban police bureaus in routinely shooting unarmed black males.

You remember Dave Ward? He was all over the national news last winter as the local sheriff trying to resolve the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by some far right armed wingnuts. He was patient with everyone and, with the exception of one armed occupier who repeatedly proclaimed his right and intention to shoot any and all with his openly carried weapon, Ward got everyone through the situation without bloodshed. He must be truly astonished that people keep coming 300 miles from Portland to commit mayhem in his previously sleepy county. I think we can all see his eyebrows arch as he was initially told that the victim of the April shooting—who was taken by medical helicopter to the hospital in critical condition—shot himself in the back. Riiiiiight. Did the victim sneak up on himself too?

Other sage advice from the likes of Dick Cheney helped O’Dea decide to try to cover it up. Seriously? Chief, did you think that we wouldn’t find out? Yes, it took a month for it all to spill into the news, but a helivac to an ER? Interviews by deputies of all parties? You were the Chief of Police, for goshsakes.

It’s time.

Time to repeal the Stupid Second Amendment so the citizens of the US can slowly lose their lethal firearms and police will not have as much justification for packing guns everywhere they go, shooting everyone who might make them twitch.

Time to retrain police to resolve conflict without violence.

Time to begin to disarm more and more officers.

Time for Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward to catch a break and stop having to deal with armed loonies.

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Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and founding director of PeaceVoice

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