Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Sacrifice of Cecil

Gary Larson, creator of the cartoon series "The Far Side" is one of my favorite thinkers.  He personifies animals in a lot of his cartoons, giving them human perception but with animal limitations.  
Example:  A deer looking at a telephone ringing at his desk. The caption: "There it goes again and me without an opposable thumb to pick it up."  Another cartoon shows an elk with the mark of a target on his neck.  A second elk is looking at the pattern and says, "Bummer of a birth mark, Hal"
I was thinking of Gary Larson as the news of Cecil the Lion's death went viral. One of Larson's other  cartoons immediately came to mind.  It is a "two panel". In the first we see a timid bear calmly drinking water from a lake.  Behind him, hidden in the brush is a man with a huge gun ready to shoot the bear.  In the last panel the "hunter" is standing in his trophy room.  The same bear has been stuffed and mounted in a standing position, teeth snarling, claws ready in a menacing attack pose. I wonder how the asshole dentist from Minnesota will pose Cecil? Certainly not as he looked during the 40 hours they tracked him while he was bleeding to death.   
The very sad part of the Cecil story is that Walter Palmer, the dentist, hunter and killer has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars killing leopards, bears, rhino's and other exotic animals. In fact Cecil was not even the first lion he has killed. Even though he is a felon convicted of "poaching" wildlife, he has been able to continue this "sport" unfettered until now. But here is the fact that is chilling. Palmer is not really the worst of the problem only the most visual right now.  
Palmer is part of a very small minority who can spend big money to hunt big trophies.  Most don't have $55,000 to throw away, and some who do have that kind of money also have a soul, so "killing" would not be a way they would spend that kind of money.  The real problem?  The unseen masses of poachers who are killing these beautiful animals FOR money.  When the tusk of an Elephant, the paw of a tiger, and the horn of a Rhino can be sold for big bucks on the black market, mercenaries get involved. Our wild life is not endangered because of rich jerks like Palmer who have penis issues, our big animals are endangered because of the value of their parts on the black market.  As long as people place value on the parts of certain species of animals, then there will be people willing to break any law to satisfy that want. In these modern times, other than food value, what need does their killing fill that can not be accomplished with some artificial item? 
The value is based in superstition and misplaced ego.  The ego of a trophy hunter who can showcase the head of an exotic animal on his wall really says, "Look at the money I have to be able to afford such an item."  And the superstition of predominately Asians who believe the horn of a rhino is an aphrodisiac. While there has never been any scientific truth to the fact, the horn of a Rhino can bring up to $300,000.  There is evidently no price a human won't pay to get laid.  
I think Walter Palmer should be punished for his ignorant extravagance. Especially since he seems to be a repeat offender with a felony record for this "sport".  If he thought he was giving these animals a fair chance by hunting with a bow and arrow, he is blind to the fact that these animals are lured from their safety and herded into a killing zone so he could feel like he has a pair. Perhaps making an example out of Dr. Macho will have a sobering effect on others of his extravagant nature.  The excuse he gives? He thought the "kill" was legal because his guides told him it was okay.  The guides who were being paid big money to make it happen.  "Thought it was a legal "kill" sounds like the defense George Zimmerman used to justify murder.  
American Indians used to hunt Bison on the plains with bow and arrow. But it was not done for sport, it was done for survival and every part of the Bison was used by the tribe.  It was almost a spiritual experience. They gave thanks to the Bison they killed, honoring them for giving their lives for the good of the tribe. They would never think of killing for the sake of hanging their heads in a tee pee. They honored the Bison for the sacrifice not the hunter for his killing ability.  
Of course when Anglos settled the plains we made the killing of Bison a sport, shooting them from trains by the thousands, and leaving them to rot in the sun.  The Indians could not understand how us white men could kill something for entertainment and not for survival.  It seems we have lost something special in our educated arrogance. Perhaps that loss of connection to the world around us is exactly what is creating the extinction of so many species, and is leading us to the destruction of our own existence as well.
One of Larson's cartoons shows a farmers wife coming back from the barn with a basket full of eggs, while a hen is coming back from the farm house with the farmers baby in its basket.  We can be grateful that animals do not think like humans.
As you were,


Anonymous said...

Sad indeed. As you mentioned at the end with the Larson Cartoon with the chicken holding the basket with the farmer's baby, it seems that there should be t MORE outrage over "Planned Parenthood" funded by our tax dollars, harvesting baby parts....something to ponder.

Chipper Lowell said...

Jay - Boy did you hit the NAIL on the HEAD with this blog post. Thank for this - Will SHARE it on facebook. All the best.

Chipper Lowell :)

Pete Biro said...

Great commentary... Agree with anonymous about Planned Parenthood