Cecil the lion gave the Left a great gift: The death of the African apex predator at the hands of Dr. Walter Palmer, an American dentist, has driven the North American apex predator — Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood — off the front page for a moment. Not all harvesting is equal in the eyes of the American chattering class.
Palmer is, if the press accounts of his activities are accurate, an incompetent and unethical hunter — not really a hunter at all, but a poacher. Hunting predators over bait is not sporting; in many places, crossbow hunting is disallowed or restricted to persons with disabilities that prevent them from operating ordinary archery equipment; luring park animals partly accustomed to human interactions into hunting areas is despicable. Palmer had previously pleaded guilty to charges relating to the poaching of a black bear.
Hunting African game is an unpredictable business: Cape buffalo hunters who have put down a dozen of the beasts with one rifle shot each occasionally will encounter a specimen that survives the first shot, and a second, and a third. . . . There are cases in which a dozen properly placed shots fail to fell the animal. But those hunters, if they are competent and ethical, pursue the quarry until it is down — and Cape buffalo, despite their herbivorous habits, are generally held to be considerably more dangerous than lions. On the subject of Cape buffalo, the famous African hunter Robert Ruark offered one of my all-time favorite observations. You can point a rifle at a Cape buffalo, and he “looks at you like you owe him money.” Anybody with sufficiently deep pockets can go on a hunt, but that doesn’t make him a hunter.
Instead, we’re treated to the spectacle of Twitter mobs composed of people who have never thought about the condition of lions, or the condition of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, emoting with great satisfaction for a minute and a half until they move on to the next thing. Pretty lion, mean dentist. Mean, mean dentist.
But Cecile Richards’s butchery, those dishes full of tiny hands and feet and hearts and brains, the blasé negotiations about price, “I want a Lamborghini” and all the rest of that? Oh, there’s context, don’t you know.
— Kevin D. Williamson is roving editor at National Review.