Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: A Prayer for Cecil*

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May Walter Palmer** be recognized and defined from now until the end of time as a man devoid of honor, unworthy of respect, too depraved to admire, too repugnant for friendship and too degenerate for love.

May Walter Palmer's neighbors, his business associates, his church, his community, his country, reject him and shun him as unfit to share in the fellowship of decent people.

May Walter Palmer spend the rest of his days an outcast, a pariah, an untouchable, rejected, denounced, despised, and may he never know another moment of peace and happiness.

And may all of those who hunt for trophies, who kill for the thrill and the body parts, share in Walter Palmer's misery.***

(* You've heard, no doubt: Cecil the lion was an immensely popular attraction in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. He was also part of a study being conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit—WildCRU—founded by Oxford University in 1986. WildCRU has been studying lions in Hwange since 1999 and had been following Cecil virtually since his birth. In the wild, the normal lifespan of these big cats is up to 18 years. Cecil was 13 years old when he was lured away from the protection of the park and killed. With his full black mane and regal bearing, he was a particularly spectacular representative of his species—the quintessential African lion.)

(** Walter Palmer, of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, has admitted to being the hunter who killed Cecil. After he and his paid guides enticed Cecil out of a national park with meat, Palmer shot him with a crossbow. They tracked the wounded creature for 40 hours and finished him off with a rifle. Presumably, the shot that killed Cecil was not to the head, as it was the lion's head that Palmer was after—something to hang on his wall back in Minnesota, where it would join the remains of at least 43 other trophies he has collected over a life of murderous self-indulgence, including a leopard, another African lion, a cougar, a Cape buffalo, a bighorn sheep, a polar bear, a rhinoceros and an elephant.
African lions have been in steep decline for decades. There are now an estimated 32,000 left in the wild, down from 200,000 30 years ago. Approximately 600 are killed every year, most in legal hunts. Of those 600, 450 are shot by American trophy hunters.)

(*** Since his guilt has been exposed, Palmer has received threats and vilification from around the world. Perhaps, in the larger Karmic picture, it is wrong and self-destructive to wish such ill will toward a man as I, and so many others, wish on Walter Palmer. I, for one, would be perfectly willing to face the consequences of my hatred for this man and the many more like him, if only I could be assured they will face retribution for what they've done.)