Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Few More on the Deadly Dentist

Pioneer Press outdoors columnist Dave Orrick published an open-letter-style column today, addressed to the lion-killing dentist, Walter Palmer. Orrick shares Palmer's pursuit of hunting but not his pursuit of trophies, especially ones from other continents. But his main point is that Palmer is guilty of poaching, which has specified penalties -- none of which include death threats, loss of business, or terrorizing of family members.

I don't understand the way death threats follow almost every publicized transgression these days. If Palmer were my dentist, I would find a new dentist, but that's it. I wouldn't leave him a bad Yelp review, let alone threaten him or his family. Vox had a particularly thoughtful essay on why the proliferation of mob justice, as illustrated in the Palmer case, should worry us all.

Letter writers in today's Star Tribune had a few pithy points as well, mostly in keeping with Dave Orrick's point of view. The best was from Clint Carlson of Minneapolis:

Cecil is still a lion. The media wants you to believe that Cecil was stolen from a petting zoo in the middle of the night while children were using him as a pillow. He’s a lion. When his dominance is threatened, he eats lion cubs alive. His favorite thing to do is to tear flesh from zebras while they are still breathing. Please stop picturing him as a fuzzy stuffed animal.

If you really do feel this strongly about poaching, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources publishes a weekly report that lists the names of poachers. This fall there will be many. You will be very busy smearing the names of these people. If you do not plan on doing that, why are you so filled with hate toward Dr. Walter Palmer? ...You should be just as angry with John Doe who poached a black bear in northern Minnesota as you are about Cecil the lion.
(Of course, Dr. Palmer also poached a black bear, and got off with a year of probation for that.)

The best thinking on the whole sorry case (rather than the overreaction to it) comes from a Zimbabwean blogger named Alex Magaisa. He deconstructs the media's story that Cecil the lion was a beloved figure in Zimbabwe. He explains the corruption that underlies the hunting industry generally and connects it with the colonialist past and its present remnants. All of which is not something I've seen in other coverage.

Finally, this screen grab from last night's All In with Chris Hayes:

That's the front door of Walter Palmer's dental practice down in Bloomington, Minn., where my fellow Minnesotans are going out of their way to make sure the rest of the world knows Palmer is a pariah.

Check out the sign at top right of the screen. I'm sure the person who made that Cat Lives Matter sign thought they were being clever, but all they did was trivialize the lives of black human beings once again. And give me one more reason to be ashamed of living in Minnesota.

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