Sometimes I kill things for sport. A few weeks ago, I noticed a few black widows lurking around my house. I took it upon myself to rid my house of their presence.
I went around the house, looking for their thick webs, the yellow bulb of their egg sacs, anything that indicated their presence. And, with my trusty brick, I would smash any and all of their nests.
So far, me and that brick have killed over ten black widows, and countless more egg sacs.
I get a bit of a kick from killing black widows. They creep me out immensely, and I get so happy knowing that I am decreasing the risk of being injected by their venom.
In fact, I hate them so much that we hired an exterminator to rid their presence. He sprayed poison all over our yard to make sure they all die, and never come back.
If there were only one black widow left in the world, you can be sure I will hunt down that last black widow to ensure they cease to exist from my realm of existence.
Am I so different than Walter Palmer? A man, simply carrying out a pastime of his, who has been absolutely crucified by the public?
When it comes to pests around our houses, we are extremely inhumane. I routinely replace fly and moth traps in my house, never thinking twice that anything that gets caught in the sticky residue literally writhes around until it starves to death.
You should see the last moth-trap I replaced. It was literally covered in moths. Hundreds of moths that I sent to certain death by starving them.
Why is killing a bug and killing a lion different? Is it because the lion is so beautiful?
Many spiders can spin absolutely beautiful webs. I sometimes find myself staring at their webs, admiring the intricacies; how a little pest with no sentience was literally wired to produce a beautiful home for itself.
Some spiders themselves can be pretty beautiful too, in their own, creepy way.
That doesn’t stop me from killing them on the spot.
Is it because the lion was named?
Last year, a spider moved with my family from one house to another. When I found it housed in my room, I named it Greg and let it live undisturbed, as long as he stayed in his corner.
One time, he disappeared. I wondered where he went.
A few days later, he came back. I assumed he went on vacation, and traveled to tell his friends of his exciting adventures.
A few days after that, he met his demise under the paws of my cat.
How many named spiders have I killed unknowingly? Probably not many, since I doubt many people are weird enough to name their pests.
I think it’s a statement on our fundamental humanity; not the fact that we can kill things we view as pests without batting an eye, but the fact that we feel like we can pass judgment on a man who killed one animal as seamlessly as we kill our pests.
Was what he did abhorrent? Given the circumstances, yes. The lion was on a protected reserve, and he was tagged. But what if Walter didn’t know? Supposedly, he was simply doing what the guy who sold him the hunting license told him to do. It’s not up to us to figure out the truth. The Zimbabwe government is supposedly taking care of it.
But what if he really didn’t know? What if those people who wrote graffiti on his business, those people who threatened him with bodily harm, those people who said extremely nasty and vulgar things to him (anonymously), found out after they carried out their supposed judgment, that he was innocent after all? That this was all just a simple misunderstanding?
Will a “sorry, mate” bring his dental practice back? Will it heal the wounds caused?
Why do we act so incongruent with ourselves when we assume the guise of an anonymous commenter?
Or is it that when we’re anonymous, we are our true selves, and we simply wear a mask whenever our identity is tied to our actions?
This is something to think about. Whether or not you agree with Walter Palmer’s actions (I certainly don’t), I hope you are able to set aside your emotions and see that the absolute outrage against Walter Palmer is a bit uncalled for.