Let me get this out of the way right up front, as a hunter I find the practice of shooting habituated animals just outside of national parks – parks anywhere in the world – reprehensible. It’s not hunting, period. To call it “hunting” is to defile the word.
If the Minnesota dentist who recently shot the famous lion just outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe had any knowledge about the conditions of the “hunt”, if he knew, or even suspected, that laws were being broken in the taking of the animal, then he should face the full penalty of the law.
But, death threats from pseudo-celebrities? What the hell has happened to this world? Wait, don’t answer. I think I know this one.
There were two things I was certain of the moment I first heard this story:
1- The media reports of the lion’s death will be as sensational and hyperbolic as possible.
2- Reactionaries will descend out of the ether calling for the death of the dentist.
Check and check.
On the first point, snap judgments and spasmodic reactions are the social norm now, and the mainstream media is more than happy to feed the beast. I just read in one account that the lion was “skinned alive.” Call me a skeptic, but I don’t think so.
Nothing turns on a content manager more than a story about a human doing something despicable, and this story has it all — A mean, rich, old American dude enjoys torturing animals in exotic locations for his personal satisfaction. He spends ungodly sums of money pursuing his sadistic passions, and he gloats about it publicly. Dentist as Satan.
Since he is obviously The Devil, we are free to cast as many stones as we like. We can even suggest that he suffers from microphallus, because, well, it’s funny.
But wait. We don’t yet know if the dentist did anything against the law. You can debate the morality of lion hunting all you like, but in Zimbabwe it is legal.
As I said at the outset, I don’t think shooting habituated animals near a park or sanctuary is hunting in any way, shape or form, but we don’t have all the facts yet in this case.
Rationality suggests that we wait for the authorities to determine which, if any, laws were broken by the dentist and his guides before we begin the sentencing phase in this kangaroo court.
Never mind that.
Reason and the internet are mortal enemies. Let the death threats commence.
Even deep thinkers like Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne have publicly condemned the dentist to death.
Morgan, who regularly disproves the theory that a British accent makes everyone sound smarter, even suggests he would like to hunt down the dentist and kill him personally. “Then we’d calmly walk over, skin him alive, cut his head from his neck…”
Isn’t this the same Piers Morgan who outspokenly and continuously condemns the proliferation of violence in America? With his many faces, you’d think he could find a better one to show us.
Now, if it turns out the dentist knew what he was doing, then I hope they take him back to Zimbabwe and he gets to experience the local prison system for a very long time.
Until then, what’s that ubiquitous and infernal meme again?
Oh yeah, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”