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About that Dead Lion

Although we were genuinely sorry to hear about that poor lion being killed somewhere in Africa, we’re not so sorry about it that we’ll be making any additional death threats against the Minnesota dentist who killed it. We understand that the big game hunting business is providing an incentive for Africans for to keep their continent’s big game plentiful, and we can’t quite rid ourselves of an old-fashioned prejudice that human lives are of greater value than the lives of other mammals, and we note that lions are big game hunters themselves, and we figure that humans have the same God-given right to hunt as any other predatory-by-nature beast along the food chain, so we’ll let that poor dentist be.
The dentist apparently thought he was shooting an arrow into some anonymous lion rather than a celebrity lion, so far as we can gather from the voluminous news coverage, and since we have to admit even at the risk of of being accused of species-ism or some other damning ism that all lions look alike to us we are sympathetic to his defense. We’re also so very uninformed about celebrities these days that we didn’t even know there were any celebrity lions, at least since the one that used to introduce all those old MGM movies, and if for some reason we were inclined to commit a random murder we could easily wind up knocking off one of the Kardashians or Lady Gaga or one of those other people on the covers of the magazines at the grocery store checkout line rather than some less newsworthy victim, so his mistake strikes us as easily forgivable. We’re also skeptical of the widespread notion that celebrity lives are somehow of greater value than others, whether leonine or human, so that is also a mitigating factor in our decision not to threaten that Minnesota dentist’s life.
Nor can we understand why the public is more outraged about the life of a even a celebrity lion than about the lives of the zebras and gazelles and maybe even the  human beings that the lion would have eventually taken had he survived that Minnesota dentist’s safari. There’s an old Jerry Seinfeld comedy routine about how people always root for whatever animal is starring in a nature documentary, with people cheering on the hawk as he swoops down on a field mice to provide food for the adorable baby hawks back in his nest but hoping for the field mice to outrun those deadly talons and get back to his own adorable children when the show is about field mice, and we think some gruesome footage of even a celebrity lion chowing down on a zebra that had been given a top-billed role might even make that Minnesota dentist seem heroic. It’s a rough world of kill or be killed out there, and we’re genuinely sorry about that, too, but the attention being paid to the killing of a lion somewhere in Africa seems outrageously inordinate.
There’s a late night comedian out there who reportedly teared up as he tried to make mean jokes about that Minnesota dentist, even though he’s never been so choked up about the Christians being routinely beheaded by the Islamic State, and some of our Facebook friends posted that the lion’s death makes them ashamed to be human, even though they’ve previously been unashamed by the far more common slaughter of their fellow human beings in the daily crime reports, and a liberal but otherwise delightful woman we ran into at a ballgame Wednesday night was saying that she hopes all of the beasts of Africa slaughter all the African people, even though at the ballgame the night before she was defending the “Black Lives Matter” movement that shouts down anyone who dares say that all lives matter, and it all seems rather silly. We are genuinely sorry that lion was killed, but at the moment we’re more worried about the lives that will be lost when Iran gets a nuclear bomb due to soft-hearted and even more soft-headed western sensibilities, and the black lives that will be lost when the police go into full retreat for fear of well-intentioned reprisals, and the aborted lives whose parts are being sold for scrap on the open market by an organization that enjoys millions of taxpayers’  dollars and the support of all the right people, and the sorrier state of all the lives that will somehow survive America’s cultural and political and economic and spiritual decline into a broader array of soft-hearted and even softer-headed good intentions.
There’s every reason to hope that the death of that poor lion in somewhere in Africa will soon be forgotten, and that the soft-hearted and even softer-headed among us will soon move on to something else to be outraged about, but there’s little reason to hope that the same good intentions that are currently threatening the death of a Minnesota dentist will move on to something useful.

— Bud Norman

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