Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cecil the lion and Basil the bat

I heard this great --- and as it turns out timely --- story over the weekend about a Chariton guy, plagued by a circling bat (I'm calling the unfortunate mammal Basil) while renovating an old house. This guy also was an expert bow hunter, so grabbed his equipment, took aim and nailed that hapless critter to a wall. My friend swears it's a true story, although I cannot personally attest to it.

Bats are our friends for sure --- until they start circling the bed at night after having taken a wrong turn en route to or from the attic or basement. So many of us have dispatched one or more cruelly in the course of life and have no cause for self-righteousness.

And I'm betting that Minneapolis dentist Walter Palmer --- universally scorned now for baiting Cecil the lion out of a Zimbabwean national park and dispatching him with crossbow and gun --- is wishing right now he'd stuck to smaller game closer to home and not plunked down $50,000 for an African safari. I'm sure there are bats to hone one's archery skills on in Minneapolis, too.


The interesting thing to watch after Dr. Palmer and Cecil made the news has been the orgiastic festival of outrage and hate that circled the globe. Most likely his dental practice has been ruined and heaven only knows what's going on with his home life.

Celebrities have jumped on the dentist's back, too. PETA called for death by hanging. And reporters, rummaging around in public records, discovered and publicized a couple of other unsavory incidents in his past.

For heaven's sake, genocidal maniacs have wiped out entire populations of people and drawn less scorn.


Shame on Dr. Palmer for his unsportsman like conduct. I'd be happy if trophy hunters --- and there are lots of them out there --- stuck to cameras and racked their guns and crossbows. That $50,000 could have fed a lot of hungry kids in Africa or elsewhere. And I'm sure Cecil was a noble beast.

But really ....

This has been the most dramatic example I've seen of public out-of-control shaming and mob mentality via the media, personal and otherwise. Shame on us if we were players in it.

Next time the temptation arises, let's take a few deep breaths, consider the rules of proportion --- and maybe go out and do something useful instead of taking to Twitter or Facebook.

If nothing else and you have an affinity for critters, write a check in Cecil's memory to your local animal shelter. He's toast; hundreds of thousands of abandoned pets aren't. 

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