This week a storm of outrage erupted from social media after news spread that suburban Minneapolis dentist Walter Palmer shot and killed Cecil the lion July 1st. Despite the 1% spin machine of corporate media, providing cover for wealthy white American men, and repeated denials from Palmer, he knew exactly what he was doing. Palmer claimed that he had all the appropriate permits for big game hunting in Zimbabwe. In truth they purposely lured the lion out of the protected Hwange National Park, baiting the lion with a dead carcass. Palmer wounded the animal with a bow and arrow and made sport of stalking the distinctive black-mane lion for 40 agonizing and torturous hours-for the lion.
Palmer hunted Cecil for a trophy, not for food or survival. After killing the animal he cut off the head and skinned it, ostensibly to be used as a rug or display piece; proof of Palmer’s heroism and masculine virility. It should be a crime. The US Fish and Wildlife Service lists African lions as endangered. The African Wildlife Foundation calls them “vulnerable.” National Geographic noted an estimated 200,000 existed at the start of the 20th Century. There are fewer than 30,000 today, and those numbers are dropping. Beware of the spin here, as conservation efforts in several countries, including Zimbabwe have helped a few prides grow in numbers. Overall, across the continent however, lions are reaching a tipping point to no return.
Why the killing of Cecil the lion matters is because humanity is and must be undergoing a transition. As we come to terms with realities of our changing environment, we are learning just how dramatic is our footprint and impact on the planet. The killing of this lion and so many of these creatures, killed for sport predominantly by the wealthy or for the wealthy illustrates the hubris and waste of our species. Clinging to that piggish, self-serving, hedonistic ignorance will prove our own undoing and predict our own destruction.
Palmer, who not surprisingly contributed $5000 to Mitt Romney’s crash and burn campaign in 2012, represents that cruel and ignorant past. He represents the people who gun their engines on earth day, who carry combat rifles into Walmarts, who see racial differences as a threat to hegemony and power as opposed to an opportunity to better define justice. Palmer represents the global warming deniers, the hedge fund traders, the bankers, ISIS, the Taliban, the Western militarists, AIG and Goldman Sachs, the Iranian Mullahs, the Israeli nationalists, Fracking and oil companies, weapons manufacturers and anyone else who keeps us mired in our primitive and ignorant past.
What are we doing as a species? Are we forever to be trapped in the unchanging, stagnate or regressive self-infatuation of consumption and materialism, of rampant and celebratory ignorance masked by the twisted hierarchy o spiritual and religious pretense? Do we wake up day after day after day after day embittered in resisting the change inherent in the universe around us?
That is why the loss of Cecil the lion, and every other lion, giraffes, elephants, spotted owls, sea turtles, whales, hippos, Rhinos and more that are destroyed for profit or for ego. It is a waste without purpose. There was no sustenance for a hungry village from Cecil’s remains. He wasn’t a rogue monster terrorizing a populace; there wasn’t even the culling rationale for the greater good of the pride. It was a waste by a member of a species that is coming to be defined not by its progress and wisdom but by its waste. Enough already! Let Cecil, as tragic and pointless as it is, by a guidepost to a past we must extricate ourselves from and hopefully leave behind.
Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com
The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting. Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.