If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve likely heard the story. A Minnesota dentist by the name of Walter Palmer went to Africa, paid some rather shady dudes a large sum of money to lure a lion to him, and then he shot it with a bow. It was apparently only afterwards that they realized the lion was tagged with a GPS collar. They hastily tried to cover up what they had done, but the story broke all the same.
And the aftermath? Complete and utter outrage.
People took to Facebook, sending Palmer angry messages. Some even threatened to kill him (or at least told him he deserved to die a slow death). For at least a week straight, my Facebook was flooded with stuff about Cecil the lion, ranging from “what kind of monster would do this” to “so everybody cares about Cecil but nobody cares about this military solider who died saving his comrades?” While I understand the outrage to some degree, it got way out of control for far too long. And we’re still seeing the lingering effects of it. I saw a news story earlier today that was essentially just “Walter Palmer’s dentist office reopened, but he’s still in hiding”.
Now, people can be outraged by whatever they want, which is why I don’t agree with the litany of people who were saying things like “how dare you get outraged by the death of one lion while all this other horrible stuff is happening.” People can care about multiple things at a time. The media would often have you think otherwise, but its true. Just because some people are angry about the lion doesn’t mean they’ve suddenly stopped caring about starving children.
However, I do believe that the situation surrounding the story was majorly overblown.
Consider this: nearly a century ago it is estimated that there were more than 200,000 lions roaming wild in Africa. And now, the most recent surveys say that there is less than 30,000. Poaching is not a new thing. It has been going on for quite a long time. Yes it is true that Cecil was a research lion, but it can’t be the first time something like this has happened. And the news keeps calling him “beloved” over and over. I didn’t even know a lion named Cecil existed until this happened, so I have to wonder how many people outside the research team that tagged him actually knew about him.
And another thing, I find it kind of funny that people even bothered threatening Palmer with death. “You killed this lion! What a disgrace! Now I’ll kill you!” Really? You hate the violence he perpetrated against this animal, so you threaten him with violence? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
I would like to point out at this time that I do not feel sorry for Walter Palmer. The guy’s one and only statement seems to hint that he doesn’t really care about what he did. You can read the full statement here.
I want to point out this particular line: “Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”
Sure, it seems apologetic enough, but I can’t help but find it strange that he has to point out that he loves hunting and practices it “responsibly and legally”. It’s almost like an underhanded way of saying “sorry but not sorry”. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he truly is sorry about what he did. But at the same time, the man hunts wild animals for sport. I can’t imagine that he’d feel that bad about it. I bet he’s more sorry he got caught than anything.
In any case, I’m not here to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t be angered by. This was just my take on a story that’s been in the news for some weeks now. Fortunately the whole thing seems to be tapering off, which honestly should have happened already. There’s been no new information on the subject. Palmer is still in hiding and his hunter guides are going to be put on trial. Let the story die, and we’ll pick it up later if anything exciting happens. Enough is enough.
Well that’s all I have for this week. Tune in next Wednesday for another post, and as always, have a wonderful week everyone.