As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the story of the killing of Cecil the lion is depressing all around. Why an American dentist — or anyone — feels compelled to pay tens of thousands of dollars to fly halfway around the world to shoot and kill wildlife for entertainment is bewildering. As Fusion’s Jason O. Gilbert points out, this is going to play out in a far too predictable pattern:
The backlash to the backlash begins. Benghazi will be invoked. A right-wing radio host with an active following will start a GoFundMe page; it will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in a few hours. Everyone will act surprised. Barack Obama’s birth certificate will be invoked. The Minnesota dentist will issue a formal apology through a lawyer. The Nuremberg trials will be invoked. Furious tweets will be fired off. The second amendment will be invoked, even though Zimbabwe doesn’t have a second amendment. Someone will ask Donald Trump for comment. Someone will ask Mitt Romney for comment. Someone will ask Dog the Bounty Hunter for comment. CNN will screw up a segment about the story, perhaps by mislabeling Zimbabwe on a map of Africa, or by mislabeling Minnesota on a map of America, or by mislabeling a lion as a baby hippopotamus.
There are plenty of outrageous things going on in the world at the moment, but this must rank pretty highly in your heart and mind; it certainly does in mine. Maybe it’s possible for something good to come out of this. Cecil was being tracked for many years by a team of researchers at Oxford, and if you want to help them out, you can donate; I did. Americans: you’ll want to donate here and specify that you want your donation allocated to WildCRU. Canadians: here’s your link. If you live somewhere else in the world and want to help out, check out WildCRU’s site.