I understand why we’re upset about the lion. I’m upset about the lion. Luring an animal – and in this particular case, a glorified pet – off of a wildlife preserve, shooting it with a bow and arrow and then tracking it as it dies a slow, miserable death is horrible. This Walter Palmer guy is an asshole. But I don’t understand why we’re more upset about the lion than we are about things like late-term abortions or the atrocities Mugabe, Assad, ISIS, etc. commit every day or all the deaths we see on the streets of Chicago every weekend. What happened to the lion is awful, but with everything that’s currently going on in the world, this is what you have a mental breakdown on live TV over? Really? ISIS is throwing gay people off roofs every day. Assad is barrel bombing children every day. Poachers killed five elephants – who are much more endangered than lions – in Kenya on Monday. Toddlers are getting killed in gun crossfire in Chicago every other weekend. This man lost his life over a front license plate. Planned Parenthood is harvesting the organs of babies born alive. Why the national mental breakdown over a lion, for fuck’s sake?
Our brilliant media has spent more time on the lion in one day than they have on the Planned Parenthood videos in two weeks. Syrians should call themselves Cecil the Lion to get talk show hosts to cry whenever they’re slaughtered. Maybe if illegal immigrants started killing lions instead of people we could get some sanctuary city legislation passed. Maybe if a VA employee killed a lion they could be fired. But until then veterans will die and no one will care. I think it’s outrageous that a dentist signed a deal to give a lion billions of dollars in sanctions relief that won’t even prevent the lion from getting nukes. How awful. People should really do something about that.
Congresspeople are calling for the feds to investigate this dentist who, it appears, thought he had all the proper hunting permits and both Zimbabwe and the Justice Department are having a hard time figuring out if he actually broke any laws. “People on the internet are mad so let’s bring the full force and power of the federal government down on this guy’s head even though it’s not clear he broke any laws” seems like a bad way for a free society to operate. What a ridiculous society we’ve become. A dentist in Minnesota has lost his business, gone into hiding, and has to fear for his life because he killed a fucking lion no one had ever heard of three days ago. Insane. The media is looking into his political donations (because that’s how you find out if he’s really EVIL). Celebrities (like Sharon Osbourne, whose husband is known for biting the heads off animals and shooting his ex-wife’s cats) are tweeting about how this dentist is the worst person on earth and it will be so great when he loses his business and even his life. Leftists are suddenly concerned about infanticide, for once in their lives…
The Progressive Mind:
Lion infanticide: Bad
Human infanticide: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Picture baby lions being killed, cut up and sold off as parts and then you’ll understand why many people are upset about what Planned Parenthood is doing.
And now, of course, progressives have to make this about politics and social issues and deeper meanings: “It’s more than a story about a man who killed a lion; it’s about gender roles, gun culture (or bow culture), values, America’s place in the world.” Oh shut up. It’s about a nation of children – who don’t possess the maturity to take on real, complex problems – being sad about Simba. Don’t overcomplicate this.
Meanwhile, starving, unemployed Zimbabweans are like, “Hey Americans, take your dead lion concern and fuck off. We have real problems here.” This is such a First World Problem. Americans look at a lion and see a cartoon character. Zimbabweans look at a lion and see either what ate their family or what could feed their family. Your average Zimbabwean doesn’t care about Cecil the Lion. You average Zimbabwean cares that they’re unemployed, starving, and dying of preventable diseases thanks to a vicious dictator. And Americans look like privileged little assholes when the only moral outrage we ever muster about Zimbabwe is over a fucking cat.
It’s funny that the crowd that gets heartbroken when our justice system gives sadistic murderers death sentences wants to have a corrupt, foreign dictatorship execute an American citizen for the legally disputed killing of a non-human. All because murdering any living thing is bad, bad, bad. Obviously, there’s a severe lack of reason going on in this hysteria, which probably explains why there’s so much hypocrisy here.
We can see the hypocrisy in the fact that the land where Cecil lived is one of the worst places to be a human on Earth — yet no attention seems to be paid Zimbabwe’s people in all the fuss surrounding a lion. It’d be akin to America going nuts over a slain crocodile in Cambodia while Pol Pot is committing genocide — and we completely overlook the genocide part. Zimbabwe is ruled by arguably the most vicious and corrupt despot living today, Robert Mugabe. Mugabe has managed to accumulate an extensive record of human rights abuses that would make past tyrants jealous…The nation is also home to one of the most corrupt judicial systems on the planet. That’s the same judicial system that’s now being called upon to try, convict and execute Walter Palmer.
While Mugabe’s shameful human rights record and the necklacing of Zimbabweans in South Africa both qualify as justifiable outrages, neither inhumanity elicits much attention from Americans or prominent left-wing groups. Maybe it’s because many young Americans have come to associate lions with cherished moments of their childhood, thanks to “The Lion King” and the prevalence of Beanie Babies. As we all know, there’s no popular children’s film about a white family having to flee their farm because of their skin color or toys of necklaced Zimbabweans. We as a nation look downright stupid when we go nuts over a dead animal while ignoring the crimes committed against humans in the same land. It’s time American liberals put down the stuffed animals and look at the world as it really is.
Take comfort, Lion Justice Warriors, in the fact that Cecil the Lion had a much better life than the average Zimbabwean.
P.S. You want to blame someone for lion deaths? Blame Mugabe.
It is no accident that one of the two men who accompanied the dentist on the safari, and who have now been arrested, was a farmer (the other was a professional hunter hired by Palmer as a guide). State wildlife officials claim that Honest Trymore Ndlovu helped lured the lion off the wildlife reserve and onto his property, Antoinette Farm, where the beast was killed. Why would he do such a thing? Perhaps because he is a farmer in a country where agriculture is an industry of destitution. Zimbabwe was once celebrated as the “breadbasket of Africa,” whose fertile earth supplied the world with abundant tobacco, corn and wheat. Today, 76% of its rural population lives in abject poverty, dependent on foreign food aid and desperate measures — like the poaching of the wildlife that inhabits its otherwise barren lands, or rendering assistance to those who want to hunt or poach.
In 2000, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe enacted a disastrous land-reform policy. Farms were divided up and nationalized and many plots were handed out to generals and ministers. Thousands of white landowners were violently evicted from their farms, which were then parceled into smallholdings and given to black Zimbabweans. The destruction of property rights led to a disintegrating economy and widespread poverty. Poaching — to feed the insatiable demand for rhino horn and ivory in China and other parts of Asia — became rife and much of the wildlife in Zimbabwe was simply wiped out.
Until 2000 Zimbabwe had a successful wildlife-management program, with many big-game animals flourishing. But by 2003, a staggering 80% of the animals that had lived on Zimbabwean safari camps (which employed firm quotas to regulate animal population sizes) had died. By 2007, there were only 14 private game farms in the country, compared with 620 prior to the land seizures of 2000, according to a National Geographic report. With the protection of private game reserves nearly nonexistent, once abundant wildlife began dying off, hunted by desperate farmers with no other options for sustenance. Despite the passing of harsher laws for poachers in 2011 illegal hunting in Zimbabwe is still big business…Many conservationists believe allowing the community to reap the benefits of wildlife management — by, ironically, running the sorts of safaris on which Palmer shot his lion — will help curb illegal poaching. But it is impossible to have that debate while the world brays for the ruin of a lone Minnesotan dentist, and fails to criticize a regime whose policies were responsible for the almost complete extinction of Zimbabwean wildlife in the first place.
I think lions are cool and I think anyone who can gleefully kill one for fun is a jerk, but Palmer and his children shouldn’t have to live in fear for their lives over killing a cat. It’s ridiculous. While I’m not personally a fan of trophy hunting and this kill seems especially cruel, hunters like Palmer actually do more for conservation than all of the whiny Twitter users bellowing from their basements combined. America’s now-biweekly sport of “let’s find a jackass doing something nasty somewhere on earth and ruin his life to make ourselves feel moral,” will end badly at some point. One of these people will actually get killed at some point because they had the bad luck to be the random choice of the Outrage Mob this week.
And I find the current moral preening by people who have given zero fucks as Mugabe has absolutely destroyed Zimbabwe, its people and its wildlife extremely irritating. I don’t remember any of these Lion SuperFans being upset a few months ago when Mugabe slaughtered and ate baby elephants and lions at his birthday party. I haven’t seen any of these people get upset over the elephants killed on Monday that I mentioned above. Spare me the hypocrisy, leather-wearing burger-eaters. i don’t mind people being upset about the death of a beautiful, majestic creature, carried out in a cruel way. I’m bothered that these same people are not bothered by so many other cruelties, and have just latched onto this one as a form of social signaling more than anything else. And that’s because this is easy.
The last few days undoubtedly have shown that the moral priorities of a great many Americans are woefully inverted…It’s not difficult to see that our inclination to mobbishness is, at least in part, a reaction to being psychically overwhelmed by issues that are too complex, and too many, to sort through. Instead, we retreat, aiming to seize upon occasions for easy moral outrage. In the midst of so many troubles about which Sharon Osbourne, let alone the average Yelp reviewer, can do so little, social media is the perfect medium for theatrical, self-affirming expressions of moral superiority. The shrinking of the world has, in fact, shown us just how big it is. What can you do? Well, you can get mad.
There are no solutions to this problem, but it might be mitigated. In an earlier time, the excesses of a Walter Palmer would have been the interest of Zimbabwean authorities, perhaps a few American policemen, and whatever private sporting organizations he belonged to. The “daily business” of London lawyers, Dutch cat owners, and electronica producers in Dubai — all of whom have demanded that Palmer himself be hunted down — would have been considerably more provincial. Without neglecting crucial matters of national or international concern, an effort to refocus on the provincial could do much good. What does it matter to a citizen of Buffalo, N.Y., or Plainview, Tex., that a Minnesota man killed a lion halfway around the world? Nothing. But it matters a great deal if your Buffalo neighborhood is succumbing to blight, or if your child’s Plainview public school is lousy. And, of course, about those problems a person can do something. This is “daily business” to which one can actually attend. The problem, of course, is that you cannot credibly posture on Twitter about a dangerous intersection nearby. Rage is easy; responsibility isn’t. Most people would rather roar about lions.
Amy Otto expands on why this has become the perfect story for our dumb media:
Cecil the Lion is the perfect media story because it requires zero resolution. It simply creates a space for folks to morally preen about how sad they are about this. It’s a nationwide pity party. The media loves it because the story requires no deep discussion, no real inquiry, and no real thought. In other words, the media is stupid. Really, they aren’t clever at all. They are soaked in their own biases and have lost the capacity for critical thinking. Society loves a great story that we can all be against and say “that’s bad” and have to do absolutely nothing about. It’s the perfect zero-responsibility outragepalooza fit for the news entertainment business.
The media, the nation, and our government have become a nation of punters. We simply want to feel like we are right, not ever figure out what is right. So any story that needs no resolution but can create outrage plus be used as a tool to reconfirm biases will be huge. That’s why Cecil the Lion is still the biggest story this week.
Uh oh. Shit’s getting real now…
(All praise Ben Howe for that meme).