Ginger’s Soapbox: Poaching Dentist

palmerWhen I’m accused of being a bleeding heart liberal, I plead guilty as charged.  Those watching my Facebook page or Twitter feed lately probably think I’m an anti-hunting radical.  I’ve been appalled by the story of Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil, a protected lion, while on a $55,000 hunting safari in Zimbabwe.  My boyfriend isn’t a liberal – he is actually a (gulp) Republican – and he thinks the guy is a piece of shit.

Believe it or not, I’m not against hunting.  I actually have some locally-harvested venison in my freezer at the moment.  I have friends who hunt deer for food and to help keep the population under control.  While I feed the deer that wander into my back yard and would never permit someone to kill them, I understand that moderate hunting is a necessary evil.  I’m not all that fond of venison – not enough fat – but a couple of times a year it’s an interesting dinner.

Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist, isn’t just some guy who likes to eat game.  He’s a wealthy dude – he could pay more than $50,000 to kill a lion in Africa – who likes to kill animals so that he can say he did it and take home a trophy.

There has been extensive debate online regarding whether he is a sociopath or a psychopath.  I’ve weighed in on some of those debates.

That’s because I think people who have to kill animals for fun are sick.  Yes, I know some of them.  Trophy hunters are on my Facebook friends list.  That doesn’t mean we are close pals, and it doesn’t mean they are psychologically stable.

If any of them were to engage me in a conversation on the subject, I would suggest they sit down with a therapist and discuss their need to kill animals for enjoyment.  I see photos of dead giraffes and zebras and wonder, “What the hell is wrong with these people?”

I have love and empathy for people with mental health disorders.  None of us are immune from such diseases.  But when we discuss Walter Palmer, we aren’t talking about a guy with depression or bi-polar disorder.  We aren’t even talking about a real hunter.  He didn’t go out into the wilderness and track down a wild animal and kill it.  He paid an obscene amount of money to “guides” who baited a beloved lion out of a PROTECTED habitat so that he could kill it at night via “spotlighting.”  Something that is illegal in the U.S. for deer hunting, by the way.

That’s not hunting.  That’s like opening the zoo gate and shooting the animals when they wander out.

That guy is a sicko.  He has some strange need to kill majestic, wonderful animals.  The media have dug into his background and revealed that he pled guilty to a federal charge of poaching a bear, and that he was also disciplined by the dental board for sexually harassing a female employee.

Predators are predators.  Walter Palmer is a predator.  It’s ironic that he killed – for fun and sport – a beautiful animal just for the sake of killing.

Anyone who thinks that is emotionally healthy should book an appointment with a psychologist forthwith.

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