American Outrage for Cecil the Lion’s Death in Zimbabwe Is Disturbing

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An American dentist from Minneapolis, Minn, named Walter Palmer, paid two local African hunters to lure Cecil the Lion out of his protected area, shot him with a crossbow and then tracked him down 40 hours later, at which time the lion was shot with a gun, beheaded and skinned. They allegedly tried to destroy the GPS worn by Cecil, but now claim they had no idea that Cecil was a protected animal. It is believed that the killing was illegal.

This is not the first animal that Palmer has killed. He has proudly displayed pictures of himself with other large animals he has killed, including a rhinoceros and a leopard.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will investigate the killing of Cecil. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has called for the extradition and formal prosecution of Palmer.

The public response, especially online, has been an outrage beyond measure. A Facebook page called Shame Lion Killer Dr. Walter Palmer and River Bluff Dental has over 30,000 fans. It has been reported that website visitors crashed his dental practice’s website, and many individuals have protested at the doorstep of his clinic, leaving behind stuffed animals. Due to this response, Palmer has gone into hiding.

Cecil’s death in Zimbabwe outrages Americans, and without a doubt it was a loss, yet it hardly warrants the extent of the dismay of the public, which is wildly disproportionate to the response of people to real atrocities. For example, people care more about Zimbabwe’s lion than the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe, who continue to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria at higher rates than most and whose men have a life expectancy of 56 years of age, while women are expected to live 60 years.

Cecil’s death in Zimbabwe disturbingly outrages Americans far more than the death of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman pulled over for not turning on her blinker. The traffic stop escalated to an arrest by Officer Brian Encina. Bland was then jailed with a $5,000 bail and, three days later, she was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas.

Cecil’s death in Zimbabwe disturbingly outrages Americans far more than the abuse of Samuel Dubose. Dubose was an African-American man who was stopped on July 19, 2015, in Cincinatti, Ohio, for a missing license. He was then shot in the head by Officer Ray Tensing, without proper justification.

Cecil’s death in Zimbabwe disturbingly outrages Americans far more than the murder of Madyson “Maddy” Middleton, an 8-year-old who was recently killed, allegedly by a 15-year-old boy, Adrian Jerry Gonzalez. He is being charged as an adult for murder, kidnapping and sexual assault. An argument can be made that it is possible that atrocities like this occur because America is a country where Cecil’s death in Zimbabwe outrages Americans more than children who go hungry, or are abused, neglected or deprived of a safe upbringing. The atrocities that occur, like shootings within black churches, movie theaters and schools, happen because Cecil’s death in Zimbabwe outrages Americans far more than the things that should outrage Americans.

Opinion by Olivia Uribe-Mutal

Edited by Jennifer Pfalz

CNN:  Cecil the Lion Backlash: Where Is Dentist Walter Palmer?
USA Today:  Zimbabwe Wants Lion-Killing Dentist Extradited
LA Times:  Maddy Middleton Killing: ‘We Are Going to Bring Him to Justice,’ DA Says

Image Courtesy of Vince O’Sullivan’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License