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Walter Palmer and Our Misdirected Outrage

August 5, 2015

I’m getting tired of all the hate directed toward Walter Palmer. In case you’ve been vacationing in another solar system these past few days, Walter Palmer is the Minnesota dentist/big game hunter who, while on a hunt in Africa, killed Cecil the lion after his Zimbabwean guides lured the 13-year-old lion out of the wildlife preserve which allowed Palmer to kill the lion in rather brutal and slow fashion. Neither Palmer or his guides admit to any wrongdoing but that’s a topic for another blog.

Don’t get me wrong, I love animals as much as the next person, I love them so much so that I don’t eat any of them or drink anything that comes out of them, but the negativity being directed toward this guy is getting to be too much. PETA, a group I like to believe is well-intentioned – and that carries the word “Ethical” in their name (but acts at times as if they should have the word “Radical” in there somewhere) – actually went so far as to call for Palmer to be “hanged”. Mia Farrow supposedly tweeted the guy’s business address to the world. Why would anyone do that unless their intent was to rally people into causing disruption or damage. Maybe you’d argue that Palmer’s dental practice deserves disruption or damage but what about the innocents who work for him, or work near him, or the people stuck in traffic because a few hundred people are blocking roads trying to get to his office, do they deserve to get caught in the hate-filled crossfire? A sign on Palmer’s Bloomington, Minnesota office reads simply: “ROT IN HELL”. Many reader comments on any online news article are downright violent. How can any of this be considered appropriate behavior or speech? It all reached a boiling point for me when I saw a news story this morning that showed the garage door of Palmer’s Marco Island, Florida home spray painted with the words, “LION Killer”. Why are people willing to break the law themselves, willing to wish death or harm on another person, willing to say terrible things under the protective blanket of anonymity on the internet that they’d never do or say in public over the killing of this lion?

And why are they willing to do all this at the expense of human lives?

American military veteran suicides are at an all-time high. And as bad as it is for male veterans it’s even worse for female veterans. These are our nation’s heroes and they’re being ignored. Where is the outrage over the way they’re being ignored and mistreated?

There are over a half million people in this country who are homeless. Where is the outrage that anyone in this great nation should have to be homeless?

There are over 45 million people in the US who live in poverty. Where is the outrage that someone in this great nation should have to suffer?

There are over 4 million senior citizens in this country who live in poverty. Where is the outrage that our nation’s elders, our parents and grandparents, have to suffer?

There are nearly 50 million Americans who live in food insecure households. Nearly 16 million of them are children. Children. Where is the outrage that in this magnificent country, people – children, anyone – should be hungry?

Why do we have to be reminded that Black lives matter? Why don’t we already know that and respect that and live like we know it?

Again, I love animals and I can’t stand the thought of an animal suffering and I understand the anger of the killing of Cecil the lion, but where is the outrage over the suicides, the homelessness, the poverty and the hunger that’s plaguing our nation? These are real people, people just like you and me, who are suffering and in living in pain and dying in pain. Where is the outrage over any of that human suffering?

And I’ll take it one step further. Amidst all this outrage over the death of Cecil the lion by a thrill-seeking big game hunter, where is the outrage over the deaths of chickens and cows and pigs and lambs and other factory farmed animals who are tortured and harvested for their flesh? Why is it OK to murder a cow and not a lion? Yes, Cecil the lion was protected, I understand that, but an animal is an animal and it’s difficult to accept the killing of any of them for food. Almost as difficult as it is to accept someone protesting the death of Cecil the lion and then stopping at McDonald’s on the way home for a hamburger.

The cynical side of me says that we care about things just as long as we don’t have to really do anything about what it is we say we care about. It’s great to vent and say all sorts of things on the internet about Walter Palmer, but to end veteran suicides, or to provide housing and food for people in need, would require us to actually go out and do something – and to give something of ourselves – and maybe that’s where our compassion ends. Not for everyone, there are many, many compassionate souls out there, but for us collectively as a nation. Maybe we just don’t care so much as long as it’s not one of our own who’s suffering, or one of our own animals being killed and mounted on a wall. Or our dinner plate.

I’ll tell you this: the people I really feel sorry for in this whole Walter Palmer mess are the people who were halfway through a root canal/crown procedure and have to go out now with a half-finished mouth and find someone else to finish their procedure.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2015 4:26 pm

    This is from a Zimbabwe student who grew up in village surrounded by lions.

    I will bet there are a lot of zebras and wildebeest cheering over this too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
      August 5, 2015 6:46 pm

      That was a good article, thanks for sharing it. I have the same question he does: “We Zimbabweans are left shaking our heads, wondering why Americans care more about African animals than about African people.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. marie permalink
    August 6, 2015 11:44 am

    Animals are better than people. That is it in a nut shell!!!


    • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
      August 7, 2015 2:05 pm

      I still hold out hope for people though. I think at some point we’ll learn how best to live on this planet.


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