Jul. 29th, 2015

lululuvsol: (Oops!)
It's been a tense few days on Facebook for me. A number of my sensitive, liberally focused friends posted the story about Cecil the lion's illegal poaching. This story outraged me, as it does whenever I see stories of animals being hunted for trophies. I dislike the idea of hunting as a sport, but at least most hunting these days is for deer because they are overpopulated, and our country will put limits on hunting if it's been a bad winter and the population is down, etc. Also, many American hunters will use the meat from their kills. To me, there is nothing more sociopathic than paying insane amounts of money to kill a creature just for the pleasure of killing and the bragging rights...especially when they tend to use very unnatural methods to do so. And when the animal is endangered, or protected, this makes me want to cry.

Most people I know are of a like mind, that this man is an asshole, no ifs or buts. But what has frustrated me is the next day the onslaught of "yes but why are we not as enraged about the police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement as much as Cecil, he is an animal!" This pisses me off because A) it assumes I am NOT enraged about that, and I have been reading up and spending more time looking at those stories than I ever did about Cecil. B) I have a problem when anyone makes others feel like their outrage, something that matters to them (well reasoned, mind you - not without cause) is somehow being belittled because there are worse things going on or they try to label someone as a hypocrite because they think you should also be outraged over deer hunting, or should never eat meat if you care so much about Cecil. Showing outrage over a (pretty universally) despicable event, should not all of the sudden open the flood gates to all the other things someone else thinks you should think or feel. Making a person who is already showing outrage feel guilty for not feeling outraged enough, that there are all these other things they should also throw their energy into just feels defeating and rude.

I tried to explain the difference to someone between the outrage over Cecil and over the police murders. I know they weren't trying to start something, they're just very philosophical (literally, I met them in a philosophy masters program) and like to think about such differences, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. Why was Cecil's murder so outrageous across the board? When something is rare, and exalted (like the lion, tiger, elephant, etc) we should treasure it. And wanting to kill one for pleasure is disgusting to me. Wanting to kill ANYTHING for pleasure is disgusting - taking a picture next to something you have just depleted of life is pretty gross, there should be no joy in another creature losing its life. I understand that the hunt and then the feeling of accomplishment when you succeed must be fun, but why shoot to kill, especially if it's a protected species. Endangered species, to me, are like ancient artifacts. We preserve them because they are important to us. We preserve them so future generations can admire them and they are not wasted. Let's say a Western Billionaire paid a poor native money to sneak them into an ancient Biblical site to chip the face off an ancient statue that is revered because they want it for themselves. That is deplorable. That is something for all of mankind to appreciate and should not belong to anyone, let alone because they had money and power. The fact that he had a name, and was well loved just made it worse. When he has a name and was loved, then it's like killing a pet. Pets are like family members, and I think human beings have an instinct to care for innocence. Has it gotten out of hand as far as where it was when we HAD to hunt? Of course. In some societies it is normal to eat cat or dog. It's disheartening to us to imagine someone doing that, to farming them and eating them, but that is their culture. To me, as I said, the worst part is that it was a protected species that was tricked into leaving his protected area to be slaughtered so a rich white man could mount his head on the wall.

The police violence is absolutely awful and something needs to be done, and I've shed some tears over the stories. But yes, humans are different. They have their own voices, they are not endangered and (for the most part) those killings seem less premeditated  -someone got mad or scared and acted if very poor judgment, but they didn't spend thousands to travel the world to do shady business and kill something. Do they deserve as much, if not more, media coverage than Cecil? Yes. But am I glad that Cecil received the coverage he did so that this kind of activity can be publicly shamed and show that it will not be swept under the rug and will be prosecuted, yes. I want the same to happen for the cops that are doing wrong. Should I be more outraged by these murders than by Cecil? Yes, I should. But as someone who has never been hurt by an animal on purpose, but has by a human, I am biased. And we are so desensitived to murder and violence because of TV, it just seems like another episode of Law & Order, frankly. That's very sad.


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