1519 The Cowardly Dentist
The Wizard of Oz is an unending source of analogy and metaphor. The Cowardly Lion turned out to be brave, after all. The cowardly dentist who shot Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe is another story.
Cecil was raised on a game preserve, a place where you can’t hunt. He was a local celebrity, evidently on the laid back side of lionism, who played well with other lions and was used to people… trusting, maybe even.
Then along comes this Walter Palmer, this smarmy, smirky little man from the upper Midwest, with his arrows and his record as a serial killer of wildlife with a rap sheet as long as your arm, lures the cat out of the park and “takes” him. Takes? Like what, a glass of champagne off the tray of a waiter at a dinner party?
And the excuse? “I thought it was legal.” That’s right up there with “I didn’t know the gun was loaded and it just went off while I was cleaning it.” Or the drunk driver who tells the cop who pulls him over for going 70 in a 25 mph zone “Gee, ossifer, wazh I speeding?” Or the guy on the living room couch with a naked teenage babysitter who tells his wife when she unexpectedly comes home “It’s not what it looks like, honey.”
Walt was in trouble with the law over this kind of thing before. Fined. Chastened. But he bought his way out and still had the fifty grand enough to travel to Zimbabwe.
Why? “I don’t play golf,” he said.
Plus no 300 yard drives down the fairway. Much easier to shoot an arrow than a Titleist, and no one seems to mind when it’s not a kill.
Except maybe Cecil, who wandered off to see about his wound, was tracked, shot, beheaded, skinned and his body left to feed other animals.
Except no creature in the African jungles is going to eat a global positioning device. So researchers located the body by computer and went to inspect the damage. And the damagers who were arrested.
Not Walt, though. He flew home with dreams of Cecil’s detached head adorning his wall.
What he found were demonstrators on his doorstep. Hundreds of them. So he fled after issuing a smarmy little legalese statement “regretting” that he “took” Cecil.
Again, “took? Like what? The A train? An Advil? A leave of absence?
Let’s see if the old drillmeister can buy his way out of this one.
Zimbabwe is trying to extradite him. There’s a treaty for that, signed in the spring of 2000. Tens of thousands have signed a petition requesting extradition.
There’s some leverage. The US imports an average of $10 million a month from Zimbabwe. And that ten spot goes a long way to funding things in a country whose GDP is under a billion dollars a year, has the third lowest average wage in the world and receives $700,000,000 in U.S. foreign aid.
So long, Walt. Hope you like your new accommodations.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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