It’s amazing that so many people thought that a guy getting shot in the head was funny.
OK, I get it. I know that a few million Cubs fans wouldn’t have minded shooting Dale Sveum (and a number of his predecessors) when he was managing the team. But there is second-guessing and there is second-guessing.
It came out this week that earlier this fall two former Milwaukee Brewers teammates, Sveum and Hall of Famer Robin Yount, were on a quail hunting trip in Arizona when Yount hit Sveum with a shotgun shot. Just because Sveum didn’t die, didn’t get put into a coma, or wasn’t hosptialized, the incident has been played for laughs. Strange world we live in. However, there was probably a pretty fine line, like maybe two inches, between comedy and tragedy.
Hunting accidents happen all of the time, though I believe that more hunters are injured or killed falling out of tree stands during deer hunting season than are harmed by a hunting partner getting them in their sights. It’s just wild, though, to hear people joke about the Sveum situation when there is otherwise so much anger focused on gun violence and the killing of young people in the cities (especially Chicago) with handguns.
Of course, passionate gun owners and government officials often can’t tell the difference between intelligent gun control legislation and extremism. There will always be accidents involving guns of every type, but hunters use of rifles and shotguns in the field is a legitimate, ingrained, American tradition. Using glocks and .45s in the commission of robberies is not. The average person on the street can tell the difference, but lobbyists and elected officials can’t. Yount and Sveum were indulging one of their passions. The byproduct was unfortunate.
This hunting accident was Yount’s fault. He was aiming for a bird, but clipped Sveum in the right ear, drawing blood from pellets propelled by his shotgun. Yount lost track of where Sveum was–which happened to be between Yount and the bird and higher on a hill. Yount shot the bird, but Sveum was collateral damage.
The incident called to mind the case of former vice president Dick Cheney, who shot a hunting partner on a trip into the wilderness several years ago. People are still wondering what really happened in that case. In this instance, Sveum, well aware of the previous incident, began comparing Yount to Cheney as soon as he realized he was more in need of a bandaid than stitches. If you are Sveum you have earned the right to joke about things.
There is a lot of relief when something like this is over and the damage is not too severe. There is a lesson about gun safety here and how important it it is to pay attention 100 percent of the time in the field. Sveum sounds as if he took it all pretty well. It doesn’t seem as if the matter will jeopardize the friendship between Yount and Sveum, but maybe next autumn they should just sit in the living room and play poker, instead of venturing out for quail. Or if they must go outdoors, perhaps they should just have a catch like they used to do in Milwaukee.