The Lion Killer

The media has been filled with news accounts of the recent killing for “sporting” purposes of an African lion by Minnesota dentist Robert Palmer, who has been called the “most hated man in the media” for going to Africa, and along with his hunting guides luring a local beloved lion named Cecil out of his game reserve, then shooting him with a crossbow…

The wounded lion endured 40 hours of pain before he was finally hunted down and dispatched by a rifle shot by Palmer….As it turns out, Cecil was a local celebrity, one of Africa’s most popular and well known lions and the star attraction at the Hwange national park in Zimbabwe, Africa.

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lion15BLOOMINGTON, MN - JULY 29:  Protesters call attention to the alleged poaching of Cecil the lion, in the parking lot of Dr. Walter Palmer's River Bluff Dental Clinic on July 29, 2015 in Bloomington, Minnesota. According to reports, the 13-year-old lion was lured out of a national park in Zimbabwe and killed by Dr. Palmer, who had paid at least $50,000 for the hunt. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

What compels people in this day and age to get their sick, twisted kicks out of killing a basically domesticated lion, or what drives them in general to act out this way?…This was a “thrill kill” by any measure of morality …This “great white hunter” was never in any physical danger at all, he was not defending his life, and he was not hunting for meat to feed his family…

The 13-year-old lion was wearing a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University research project that had been running since 1999, making it possible to trace his last movements. The lion was skinned and beheaded…The hunters tried to destroy the collar, but failed.

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Protestors gather outside Dr. Walter James Palmer's dental office in Bloomington, Minn., Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Palmer reportedly paid $50,000 to track and kill Cecil, a black-maned lion, just outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)lion25

According to my Google sources, it can be thought of as a demonstration of power and prestige, according to Amy Fitzgerald, a sociologist at the University of Windsor. In 2003, Fitzgerald and Linda Kalof of Michigan State published research in the sociology journal Visual Studies in which they analyzed 792 “hero shots” — the post-kill photo of hunter and prey — published in 14 popular hunting magazines.

Most of the shots, Fitzgerald recalls, seemed to be arranged to show the hunter’s dominance over the animal. “The hunter tended to be pictured above standing or sitting above the animals, which clearly demonstrated the power dynamic that was going on there,” Fitzgerald said.

In the vast majority of photos she and Kalof examined, the animal had been cleaned up, blood scrubbed away and wounds carefully hidden from view, making the animal look almost alive — as if the hunter had somehow tamed this giant, wild creature into submission. “It seems like, with the large animals, they were positioning them as though they were alive as a way to confirm the contest that had gone on — that this was a large virile animal that had to be taken down,” Fitzgerald said.

I can only concludes that this is some sick, twisted attempt at validating the courage of the hunter, of demonstrating that with the aid of modern weapons he can indeed track down and kill wild animals…The advantage of course, is all on the hunter’s side, and there is little if any actual risk to him…No, it is all about the thrill, the rush of adrenaline, the feeling of power surging through the hunter’s brain when he murders an animal….

It is a primitive, ego driven show of force and power over mostly defenseless animals raised mostly on game preserves…Palmer paid $50,000 for the privilege, so it is obvious that this is a sad, almost psychopathic demonstration of a rich white man, proof that he is a “great white hunter” and his demonstration of dominance over animals that is hate fueled, antiquated and meaningless in this day and age…..

Palmers love of hunting is well-documented online. In 2009, he was interviewed by the New York Times about his slaying of an elk that was touted as a kill for the archery record books. In 2008, Palmer pleaded guilty in federal court in Wisconsin to misleading a federal agent in connection with the hunting of a black bear. Two years earlier, Palmer killed a bear near Phillips, in Price County. That location was 40 miles outside where he held a permit to hunt bear….Palmer is, after all, a member of Safari Club International, a nonprofit “hunters rights”organization; the Safari Club website has a list of Palmers 43 kills, which include, among other things, a polar bear.

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But the legal problem isn’t that Palmer paid a lot of money to hunt a lion, it’s that he didn’t pay enough money, he paid it to the wrong people, and he killed the wrong lion. As far as can be determined, Palmer screwed up by using dodgy guides who in turn used illegal practices to lure an animal that should have been off-limits for many reasons, including that it lived on protected land and that was part of an Oxford research project.

In a public statement Palmer has said, “He believed his guides were on the up-and-up and that all his permits were in order,” but he should have been more meticulous about checking out the legitimacy of the operation, especially since he already had a felony record for botching a bear hunt. It’s unclear how much he was involved in the coverup when it became clear that the lion was not a legitimate target.

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But it still comes down to the basic fact that Palmer is a “thrill killer”…Poaching is an extremely severe problem in Africa, but at least there is an economic reason; poachers are doing it to make money for their often impoverished families…If there were no market, there would be no poachers…

But Palmer PAID $50,000 for the privilege, he did it simply because he could, because he feels superior to animals, because he truly feels that he is entitled as a rich white man to kill any animal he pleases…Because it makes him feel like a “real man”….A Pennsylvania doctor named Jan Seski has also become well known for his “manly” kills, and there are many more just like these  animal thrill killers…

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We can only hope that the Robert Palmers and Jan Seskis of the world are themselves an endangered species, that other people, no matter how rich, that decorate their homes with dead animal “trophies” be exposed for the twisted sickos they are, and that legislation stopping anything but camera safaris in Africa and around the world should be passed and strictly enforced…We are all animals after all, and carnivores like lions or tigers must kill to eat, for food for their families, to sustain their own lives…

But the sad fact is that in all the animal kingdom, only humans kill for sport….

Just leave it like it is right now

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