smartmoney saidIt's just a little shocking that the world is outraged when a lion is killed by a hack dentist, but daily people in America are shot and killed by nut jobs with guns and it's just ho hum.
Well, it's not ho hum. As an adult I'm capable of being outraged by more than one thing at a time.
Stop diminishing what could actually be a watershed moment in our culture.
And, last I checked, the pro shoot-an-endangered-animal lobby in America didn't have the same choke hold on our politics as the NRA does.
I'd add that this isn't about merely measuring our response of poaching wildlife vs the killing of a human, rather it pits humanity against itself and that is why it comes off as so particularly horrible. Not just because it is furry cute.
What other creature on this planet has the capacity to assure the survival of another species? Name one besides us? You can't. Because we are it. We rarely express that but maybe internally we know it such that when an individual is killed, a human, yeah, that's terrible, but that's relatively isolated to that person, their family, maybe their community, somewhat humanity at large. But the most important thing there is the individual. That's the overridingly horrible thing and we can put our finger on that pretty easily.
Not so with this. Destroying one of another species, particularly an endangered one, isn't about an individual. The senseless, stupid or cruel destruction of an individual of that species strikes us as an entire genocide because we have failed not just them but also we have failed ourselves. We fail what defines us, what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. So that death becomes bigger than just the one. A human death speaks more to the individual, the animal death speaks more for the group.
For it is not our ability to use tools; they use them too.
It is not our ability to make tools; they also fashion tools.
It is not our intelligence; they also have smarts.
It is not our abstract thinking; the higher of them are also capable of even that.
It is not our laughing, it is not our crying; all those qualities are shared.
It is our capacity to apply our compassion to conserve the life of other entire species. That is our defining moment. When we fail that, we feel it deeply.
So it is particularly abominable because in felling the lion, we not only fail their species but also our own. We fail the very definition of who we are as a people. And in this case, he didn't just kill a lion. He didn't even just kill part of us which we also lose when a person dies. He illegally lured a lion off a preserve protecting their number.
He killed hope. Cecil was hope.