So Long, Cecil.


This is not Cecil. Or is it?

Until about a month ago, I’d never heard of Cecil, the Zimbabwe lion. But I am sorry he is dead.

Likewise, I’d never heard of the Minnesota dentist who paid close to $53,000 for the privilege of killing one of these magnificent beasts, and who perhaps unwittingly killed Cecil. My feeling is that this fellow, like Donald Trump, has more money than common sense, which is a always a bad combination.

Unless you are being pursued or attacked by a lion, I don’t see much point in killing them. The way things are going, they may be extinct one day without our help. So Cecil is dead, the dentist closed his business and was in hiding, and the world is in up in arms over the whole ugly affair.

I have to ask myself: where did all this outrage come from? As an animal lover and a human being, it pains me to hear when an animal is killed, especially in a gruesome way such as Cecil’s death. (Allegedly shot with a bow and arrow and then tracked for an hour before being shot to death.) In my dotage, I find it hard to set out mouse traps or even kill those spiders that show up in the bath tub from time to time. Life is life, whether it’s an ant or a lion, and it’s generally our duty to protect it.

But this outrage seems out of scale to me. You can’t turn on TV or a radio or look online these days without seeing discussions about it. Hateful discussions, in some cases calling for the death of the dentist. The director of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) “jokingly” suggested the dentist be hanged. Most everyone’s got an opinion, including me. I’m not a Facebooker or Twitterer or Instagrammer or any of those other socially interactive er-things, and I avoid anonymous discussions where people’s suggestions can often seem much more horrifying than the death of Cecil.

So here’s my question: Where is this outrage for the daily horrors of the lives of ordinary citizens? Where is the outrage for people living in war torn countries? Where is the outrage for the Syrians who are fleeing their homes and trying to find shelter in other countries? Where is the outrage for children who go to bed hungry or cold or frightened? Where is the outrage for the disenfranchised elderly, often warehoused alone and lonely until death? Where is the outrage for the thousands of Americans who were shot to death from towers, in shopping malls, watching a movie, or standing on a street corner?

Come on, fer chrissakes. All this energy directed toward the misguided dentist could be put to good use. This is America. We know how to get things done, don’t we? Let’s let the courts deal with the dentist, if need be, and use this outrage to fix the things that need fixing, right here at home.

Cecil is dead, and he’s not coming back. That is a difficult story, but the damage has been done. Let’s turn our attention to the homeless, the hungry, the disenfranchised among us. THAT is something that deserves our outrage and action.

Let’s get to it. Let’s stop thinking of ways to punish one man for his bad judgement, and let’s start working to make things better for all living creatures. Even dentists.

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