Cecil the Lion: Pride and Prejudice

Ron Hart is a syndicated columnist and humorist.
Ron Hart is a syndicated columnist and humorist.

Full disclosure: I don't hunt much. It's not my thing. But I have friends who hunt birds. I understand at some level why they like it. Doves and ducks just seem to be asking for it. My friends call it a sport. It's not a sport. A sport is where both sides know they are playing and also have high-powered rifles. Then it is a fair fight.

The culture around big game hunting took a hit last week when social media, primarily on the left, terrorized Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, DDS-Bag, for shooting Cecil the Lion. The hunter became the hunted. Twitter and Yelp now equate to the old days when a villain was taken to the town square and publicly whipped.

Yet certain people, compensating for something, love to hunt and kill, even when animals are in quasi-captivity like Cecil the Lion. Not surprisingly, the often shirtless Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, likes to be seen killing exotic animals. He even killed a fish with a spear gun — and there was nothing the manager of the Moscow Red Lobster could do about it.

Some U.S. politicians like President Teddy Roosevelt were also big game hunters. Bill Clinton was an accomplished beaver hunter in Arkansas. And Donald Trump presumably hunted or trapped whatever that thing is on his head.

Publicly shaming this dentist serves a purpose, I get it. But his life has been ruined. We have long established in America that, even if you're asinine, you still have rights. I believe this doctrine will again be upheld in the pending Supreme Court case of GOP Primary v. Donald Trump.

For some reason, we Americans love lions — a lot. I place the blame squarely on Disney and the silky-smooth baritone voice of James Earl Jones.

600 lions of the estimated 32,000 left are killed each year for sport, Sixty percent by Americans who ship the lions back home for trophies. Only 3% of the money they spend to do this goes to the local community. When something like this happens, guess who's getting the most money. Governments! They collect the preponderance of the $50,000 a hunter pays to bag a lion. For anything this bad — and rigged — government must be involved.

No one understands all the hunting laws in the USA; each state is different. In California, hunting or shooting is not allowed unless you are changing freeway lanes. In New Jersey, you can shoot bears, but local culture dictates that, before you kill the bear you must make it dig its own grave at gunpoint. In Texas, a vice president can legally shoot a lawyer in the face. I love the South.

Parts of the left tried to conflate the lion shooting to the issue of African-American men and police. Can a "Paws up, don't shoot!" campaign be far away?

President Obama happened to be in Africa when all this happened, burnishing his legacy and presumably hunting for his birth certificate.

The left spent the week in sanctimonious outrage over the lion killing. They are only about emotion, not logic or reason. Yet the same week, the story broke about their beloved Planned Parenthood selling body parts from aborted babies. Silence. Somehow killing babies on a mass scale is OK, but one lion killed is a national outrage. This is a Simba-otic juxtaposition I've never understood.

A Muslim terrorist killed five unarmed service members in Chattanooga. ISIS is raping and killing in Iraq. In Texas alone, about 3,000 murders have been tied to illegal immigrants since 2008. These are not priorities for the left, but Cecil the Lion is. Now our government is going to ignore these important issues and focus instead on extraditing the dentist to Africa. Eric Holder will probably attend Cecil's funeral.

And if you wonder how extraditing a U.S. dentist to Zimbabwe over a legal hunt facilitated by its government works, it doesn't.

America's own beloved Snoop Dog was arrested and held in Sweden on charges of smoking pot. Law enforcement first became suspicious of Snoop Dog in 1995. Let's trade the dentist for Snoop Dog.

What we have here is a dentist on a crazy weekend ending up with a lion, violence, confusing laws, foreigners and potential jail time — which I think is also the plot of "Hangover 3."

Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator. Email or visit

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