Cecil, and the other lions in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, live in a “free roam” zone, which means they cannot be hunted. So Walter James Palmer, wanting one of those lions as a trophy, and having paid $50,000, elicited the help of two locals. Together, they tied a dead animal to a car as bait, parked it just outside Hwange, and waited for the lion.

Palmer wounded Cecil with an arrow. The injured, terrified animal hid and suffered for 40 hours until Palmer and his two fellow assassins found him and shot him with a rifle. Then they skinned him and removed his head. They also tried to destroy the tracking collar that Cecil had been fitted with, knowing that they were in trouble.

The outrage, disgust, and hatred for what this Minnesota dentist did has come from all over the world. Today, Palmer put out a reprehensible statement which said, in part, “I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.” Which pretty much amounts to, Oops, wrong lion.

Murdering an exquisite and endangered animal is not an activity. Soccer is an activity. This was cold-blooded murder, as were all his other “kills” — a bear, a rhino, a cougar, to name just a few. And he didn’t “take” the lion — he is responsible for a horrible, gruesome end to a life that was supposed to be protected.

This is not an isolated incident. Far from it. Canned hunts are big business. There are more Walter Palmers out there than most of us want to know about. But we need to know about them, because they aren’t going to change. Something died in them a long time ago — humanity, compassion, decency are extinct in people like this.

Sometimes it takes one incident to propel people to address the bigger issue. In this case, it is to ask why the hunting and killing of animals who are endangered for many different reasons is allowed at all. A century ago, roughly 200,000 lions wandered across Africa; now there are less than 30,000, and their fate is a fragile one. No one knows what will happen to Cecil’s family now. He led two prides — six lionesses and 12 cubs — with another male, Jericho. Jericho will be unable, on his own, to protect the two prides.

I pray this isn’t a quick news story. I pray that an example is made of Walter Palmer, that serious charges are brought against him,  and that serious change is discussed going forward from here. The people who feel just fine about the “activity” of slaughtering beautiful and endangered animals will never be rehabilitated. They will never transform into sensitive human beings who believe that they are meant to be stewards of this earth. It isn’t in them. Their blood runs cold and their hearts are hard as stone.The rest of us have to close ranks and stop them from killing.

6 Responses to THE MURDER OF CECIL

  1. David Marks says:

    I am utterly sickened by the vulgarity of this hideous act. There is no question that Palmer is best suited for long term incarceration. Brilliant piece of writing, Patti, and no matter how horrific the narrative, it’s very necessary to read this one.

  2. Helene says:

    A heart wrenching and informative read. There is nothing in my entire being that can understand the reasons behind why a human can get so much enjoyment from seeing another living being suffer such excruciating pain and loss of life. It is unfathomable. It is wrong. It is pure cruelty and there is absolutely no excuse or reason for it to happen on any level! #disgust #palmerkarma #thekingisdead

  3. Well done, and thank you for this. I can’t help but think of Hemingway. As much as I love his writing, he too enjoyed the “activity” of killing great and wonderful animals in the wild. Hunters call it “taking,” a disturbed euphemism for what is now and always has been barbaric.

  4. Marcus Barone says:

    As The World Court has a category “crimes against humanity”…so should there be ample protection of wildlife..In these times where wildlife is on a thread of worldwide extinction , a UN or World Court resolution should be adapted punishing hunters of all protected and non protected species..The fines should be nothing short of imprisonment…very long term…

  5. His Doctor’s oath of help, do no harm doesn’t jive with Putting an arrow in an animal who suffered in hiding for hours until they completed the deed. Just can’t imagine his filthy fingers in my mouth.

  6. kara fox says:

    sickens me. hope he is imprisoned all alone so he can reflect on his cruelty and inhumanity toward a living being..

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