Outrage roars across social media

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Royal Purple Staff Opinion

A lion-killing dentist sounds like a character you might find sitting around Ted Nugent’s poker table, but here in America, that dentist has become the new most-hated man in the country – the target of Internet shaming and social media moralists.

Earlier this summer, Dr. Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, catalyzed a firestorm of debate over the ethics of big-game trophy hunting when he killed a “beloved” lion named Cecil near Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

Cecil was regularly sighted by visitors to the park and was part of a study being conducted by Oxford University, so he even had a GPS collar.

Palmer allegedly paid hunting guides somewhere around $50,000 to be taken on the hunt. The group lured Cecil out of the park, and Palmer shot him with a crossbow.

Cecil suffered for 40 long hours after being shot. The hunting party tracked him down, nearly two days later, and shot him with a rifle. Once dead, Cecil was skinned and beheaded, his corpse left unused. The group also tried to remove and destroy Cecil’s GPS collar.

Zimbabwean police arrested the guides who took Palmer on the hunt and have also requested Palmer’s extradition from the United States.

Before we assume this guy is just some rich, sadistic individual (he is a dentist after all), we should take a look at his side of the story. After all, Palmer has publicly apologized for the slaying.

“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt,” Palmer said. “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”

It seems like a pretty candid apology…or is it just a sordid sorry? Does Palmer actually feel remorse for what he did, or is this merely a response to the outcry directed at him on social media?

Until recently, Palmer has had to shut down his dental practice and vacate his Minnesota home. His vacation house in Florida was sprayed with graffiti, and pig’s feet were thrown on his driveway (why pig feet? Isn’t that kind of hypocrytical? Like, condoning the killing of pigs?). In front of his dentist’s office in Minnesota, stuffed animals have piled up in protest of the lion-slaying.

Does that seem over the top? Out of line? At least he didn’t have to bleed for 40 hours with an arrow hanging out of his cracked ribs.

Despite its violent ending, Cecil’s martyr’s death has gotten quite a bit accomplished for animal rights activists. U.S. senators are working on a bill to make it illegal to bring trophies back to the United States, U.S. airlines have banned transportation of endangered animal parts into the country and in Zimbabwe, authorities are cracking down on illegal hunting.

Yes, Cecil died for a noble cause, and all we had to do was display our outrage on social media. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can shed light on an issue with the Internet? And not only that, but we can fix the issue too?

There’s no way around it, killing Cecil the lion was an abhorrent act. The animal was part of an endangered species. He suffered a great deal and was shot for just his skin and head. We as a society are dismissing the act as morally wrong, and we’re not going to allow it anymore.

The United States has gathered around Cecil, an animal with a name, an animal whose symbol represents something greater than his tragically shortened life – an end to big-game trophy hunting.

But now consider this: 3 million children die of hunger-related causes each year. Cecil has a name. These children do not. Where is the social media firestorm for justice for the 3 million nameless children who will starve to death this year?