Friday, July 31, 2015

#ROW80 – THE DEATH OF CECIL THE LION AND THE BANALITY OF EVIL


Like everyone in the world this week, I have been saddened and hurt in a way that I had to work through and try to decipher just WHY I hurt so profoundly and so deeply over the death of a cherished and favorite lion, named “Cecil” who lived in the Zimbabwe Animal Reserve and was lured out of the park, by trackers who have had trouble with poaching laws previously, then, shot with a bow and arrow and tracked for forty hours before being shot to death with a rifle, then beheaded and skinned. The person who was responsible for these actions is an American Dentist out of Bloomington, Minnesota, named Walter James Palmer and his supposed “hobby” is big-game hunting. He paid $55,000.00 American dollars for the rights to commit this heinous action. The two trackers who lured Cecil out of his safety zone, illegally, and were arrested, arraigned and paid 1,000.00 each for bail and released the same day, will still have turned a profit for their company, and the country of Zimbabwe, presumably. But, I'll get to that in a moment.


Lions are the most companionable of all the big cats. They tend to live in prides, and families, when the females no longer breed. This batch lives on a preserve in Russia and is quite large. They are part of a larger group; Russia has worked harder and India have worked longer and harder than anyone to preserve and turn the loss of the big cats around and are actually seeing small increases in their tiger populations.

Never mind the fact that there are fewer than 20,000 fewer African lions living in the wild. Never mind the fact that there are fewer than 3200 tigers living in the wild. Never mind the fact that Jaguars and Panthers, ALL of the big cats are on the endangered list; some more than others. Never mind the fact that, yes, this man spent his money his way, and it was his to do with as he wished. I've heard no compelling argument about wildlife management, since this happened. The fact is, that Cecil left behind many cubs, which will be killed by any competing males, and I understand that as few as six or as many as twelve cubs – exponentially, that's a huge loss – were fathered by Cecil. I did hear one man complain about his name, as in being named for Cecil Rhodes of Rhodesia, who was an enforcer or apartheid. I asked him, “Would there be more outrage if the lion's name were “Nelson” like, for “Nelson Mandela”? A ridiculous and stupid question, and it did nothing to answer my question about why we are so upset and traumatized over this.


Lion Rampant; the national symbol of Scotland. A male lion in the wild is expected to live an average of 13 to 15 years. In captivity, from 15 to 20 years. Regardless of this, the hierarchy of the Pride dictates that the reigning male must be able to fend off all challengers and by all accounts, Cecil was a healthy, adult, male lion. With three lionesses and six to twelve cubs, the Pride was extremely healthy. Any of the "cousins" or other adult males around, will most likely kill the cubs to pass on their own genetics, but, in the end, we're all poorer for it, as there are fewer than 20,000 African lions in the wild.

One scientist has stated that it has to do with the fact that humans don't relate to many animals, which very well may be the case, but I've stopped people from being cruel to supposedly unfeeling creatures such as fish. So, I don't think that's the case, and have stopped a man here beating his dogs, which any right-thinking and sane person would do. After I scared the absolute shit out of that guy, I called the police. I think he was glad I did. It's not the first time people have been happier to deal with the police than with me. But, what I think the absolute mind-boggling rage is over is how utterly plain and banal this guy is. He's us. I'm not the first person to make this connection, but we forget. When we forget, we get things, like Auschwitz, waterboarding, and we cross lines that are morally not acceptable under any circumstances.


In a bizarre moment of schädenfreude, I thought I was looking at Vladimir Putin, until I realized THIS asshole wants to BE ole Vlad. But then, I realized this guy looked like a complete milquetoast. I could kick his ass, easily, with one hand. Be careful what you wish for Dr. Walt. It sure sucks to be you, right now.

It's like when Adolph Eichmann was on trial for war crimes in Israel in 1962. He was the “Man in the Glass Booth”. He had been giving testimony and he was just this guy in a drab every-day man's suit. He looked like your accountant. Or an attorney. Just a guy. While he was giving his testimony, some man who had been in Auschwitz and was in the panel to give testimony against Eichmann, just keeled over and fainted dead away. Pandemonium ensued in the courtroom in Israel and the courtroom had to be cleared. When they got the witness back up on his feet, and got him some water, they asked him what had happened. He replied, “I just realized that what I expected to see as Evil wasn't. It was just this man. In a suit. He was just this petty thing. Banal.” Or, as Stephen King has called it “Evil” with a little “e”. That's what bothers me about this guy. 

Look around; we have Ferguson. We have the abrogation of our privacy; just cheerfully giving it away under the Patriot Act. Oh, I know the Act is supposed to be "dead", but when has the genie ever been put back into the bottle? It never happens. As Americans, we've had our III, IV, V, IX and XIV Amendments abrogated under the Patriot Act by the NSA and had our information willingly handed over by several large *cough* -- Verizon, I'm lookin' at you *cough* telecommunications firms and Microsoft to sift through our records and private conversations, using warrentless wiretaps. We have police on the streets who do not know how to protect the citizenry, much less themselves and committing murders and covering them up. This is just crazy. We need to really stop, and look and see what WE, as a human race are becoming and go back to what really worked. 

You cannot tell me that there is not a spark of divinity in each one of us and I am not here to argue religion. But to blindly follow a belief, or to throw money around and spend more than you need to on despicable things such as trophy-hunting is wrong. If you're a decent human being, your heart should tell you so. You don't need a priest or a rabbi or an imam to tell you this. If you are saying hurtful things to be mean, stop. If you are working an angle to swindle some other guy out of a few bucks, don't do it. Look at yourself in the mirror each day, and at least, AT LEAST, try to commit to making the world a bit better place. We seem to be heading towards some epoch of barbarism that makes no sense in a time, when we are better able to become enlightened, learn more and live longer, with less.


They say there is no love like a mother's love and I believe that to be true. These lionesses also have hearts as big as the outdoors. See what the lioness below does after she kills a baboon and discovers that baboon had a baby.

I truly think trophy-hunting should be stopped, world-wide and now! Stop. It! By doing this, we do encourage poaching, which then leads to stupid things like tigers ending up in wine. The ironic thing about this, is I am taking part in a 3-week challenge with my clan and it's for WWF, the World Wild-Life Foundation in bringing awareness to just how endangered all of the big cats are. Or course, it's not just the cats, but bears, musk ox, anything you can think of, but trophy-hunting is just evil and needs to stop. That $55,000.00 the Dr. Walter James Palmer spent on shooting this magnificent lion could have built schools, funded infrastructure, put people through college, or started a fund to protect endangered species. Just because someone has all this money to blow does not mean that they get to spoil the planet and kill resources that are already in peril. If we are going to spend money on this continent, it should be money spent, helping these people become educated, so the exploitation stops. It stops with the diamond mines of Kimberley and it stops with the minerals and other gems and big game. Just. Stop!


I understand the Obama Administration wants Dr. Palmer to call them for a little “chat”, which is a huge horse-laugh, because don't we have the crackerjack NSA with all their spying ability nonsense? Can't they just sift through their dailies for Dr. Palmer's GPS locations, like they do with every one else who ends up getting arrested. At the risk of getting off point, it just sounds to me like Dr. Palmer went dark, threw out all his iPhones, bought burners and got the hell off the grid.


Adolf Eichmann in the glass booth in Israel, in 1962. The picture in the corner shows him when he was a member of the Schutzstaffel, or SS. The Jewish man who fainted upon first seeing Eichmann in a plain business suit realized that Eichmann wasn't this monster and that he had focused on the uniform. "The man could have been one of us," the witness said. Eichmann was found guilty and executed in Ramla, Israel, 1 June, 1962

At any rate, who even knows if any good will come from this. Jane Goodall said that this may be a silver lining, and “wake people up”. I do think that Jane is a tad naïve here, because the bastards are everywhere. What CAN be done, is to make the fines so abhorrently stiff, or make any breaking of the laws, such as the Lacey Act, which Dr. Palmer is being invited to “chat” with the Obama administration about come with some prison time, and HARD time. Banal won't do very well in a super-max.
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