Friday, July 31, 2015

empires of the future

At the heart of the Cecil-Lion incident, my thoughts crystallize around two points.

1.  For me, the aspect of it that really is sickening is that these three hunters -- the Minnesota dentist and the two Zimbabwe people -- went to this animal preserve (sanctuary, national park, whichever it is) with a plan to lure out this partially-tame lion. 

Now, he wasn't a pet -- like a house-cat or something...and he wasn't a strictly "wild" animal anymore, either.  He lived in a "gray area" in between.  He had a sort of "a deal" with humans operating that park.  He doesn't kill anybody, and -- they take care of him in some way -- keep him protected.

I don't know what it is about this aspect -- the luring... but -- it's distressing.  It's a breach of trust, betrayal...It's an unholy transgression, a cheat, small, ugly, uncourageous, picking on an animal that isn't really wild, that doesn't have the accompanying wariness.  It's dishonorable, venal, vile, underhanded, cruel.



Last night I was trying to think of the right word to name what this activity seemed like -- but I couldn't really find any words which I felt suited the situation.

And Point 2:  The 40 hours.  The 40 hours between the moment when

dentist walter palmer shot Cecil with the bow-and-arrow and

the moment when they shot Cecil to death with a gun.

40 hours is more than a day and a half, and if I were on that jury in Zimbabwe I would want a full report on exactly what everybody was doing during that day-and-a-half plus another four hours.

Where were the three "hunters"?
Where was Cecil?
What was Cecil doing?
What were the three humans doing?
How long did each of the humans sleep?

Did Cecil get any sleep, that the hunters know of?

Were the three humans standing over Cecil, watching him suffer and giggling maniacally in a mad orgy of freakish cruelty?

(palms up)

The 40 hours is a problem.


And speaking of "a problem" -- a person who needs that "head" on his wall, and in his facebook photos that badly, that he goes to such extremes that it isn't even "hunting" it is only a mean trick -- has issues.

What those people perpetrated upon that animal was not

"a hunt";

It was a dirty trick.
An extremely disgusting cheap dirty trick.  (And again -- there isn't really a word for this...)

------------------------ Wow.  You -- fooled -- a lion.  You fooled a semi-tame creature that was accustomed to trusting humans.  Wow are you ever talented and smart not.


Another point I noticed in this story, Walter Palmer apparently has a need to push against the rules, or cross the line and break the rules -- he  had some trouble with authorities a while back about a bear he killed in Wisconsin.

(I've wondered whether some people want to do certain things mainly because they're really not "supposed to" -- like smoking marijuana...I've questioned whether, once it's legal, maybe the people who smoked it when it wasn't legal will not enjoy it as much because the "taboo" element of the experience will have been removed.)

That's why I wondered, when I read a CNN article (excerpt below), "Couldn't these folks just smoke pot instead?" ...

---------------------- [excerpt, CNN] ------------------- As barbaric as this hunter's actions appear to have been, he has plenty of company.  Wealthy thrill-seekers kill approximately 600 lions every year on trophy hunts.  Unfortunately, Americans are primarily to blame:  Over half of all lions killed for sport in Africa are shipped to the U.S. as trophies.

Sadly, lions aren't the only imperiled species hunted for sport.  Americans continue to kill rhinos, leopards, elephants, polar bears, giraffes, leopards and a variety of other animals for gruesome mementos, collecting heads as if they were merit badges. 

Perhaps the more perverse part about this is that the rarer and more endangered these species become, the more valuable they are to trophy hunters, as evidenced by the $50,000 price tag of this hunt and the even more egregious $350,000 permit auctioned off earlier this year by a member of the Dallas Safari Club to kill a critically endangered Namibian black rhino. ------------------------- [end CNN excerpt]


I'm not anti-hunting, and a lot of the time I don't worry about wildlife in other countries.  No one has the energy to "worry about" "Everything" ... I guess it's like how some people feel about voting -- how much difference would my small contribution make? -- and while I appreciate Nature, I'm not intensively "into" it -- I read in a novel the observation that if you look closely at the natural world, it's just one animal attacking or eating another.  Stuff -- eating other stuff.

One minute you're sad about a lion.  Then the next minute the lion's killing something else, and then you're sad about THAT.  I can't do it...
a.  God created it.
b.  I can't understand everything.
c.  I can't worry about everything.

Outdoorsy people like to feel "one with nature !" --

I am more like Woody Allen -- "I'm two with nature" ...

Once in conversation I told a friend, "I think nature's overrated."  She started laughing so hard -- she said, "I don't think I've ever heard anybody say that!"

Honoring Cecil

"To hunt a species to extinction is not logical."
  > Dr. Spock