First They Came For The Lion Hunters

Humberto Fontova Author of The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro

The stake is up, the torch is lit, and the wood is drenched with kerosene. As the crowd forms, the popcorn and beer (actually sushi and Chardonnay for this crowd) vendors set up shop. The excited crowd cranes its neck, looks around, shields their eyes for a better view.

But where’s the witch to be burned?

In fact, neither lion hunter Dr. James Palmer nor lion-hunting guide Theo Bronkhorst have been found guilty of breaking any laws — i.e. of “poaching.” More alarming still (for some) Bronkhorst’s bail was set at a measly $1,000 and his not-guilty claim is being supported by some people who — get this! — know something about lion hunting!

So the much-anticipated burning is not imminent — if it occurs at all.

There’s a reason for this “negligence.” It’s obvious that what inflames most of the crowd lining up for Palmer’s and Bronkhorsts’s auto da fe isn’t “isn’t “poaching.” They’re not titillated because a lion-guide might be found guilty and burned at the stake for the lion-hunting equivalent of an expired brake-tag. No they’re wetting their pants over the anticipated public drawing and quartering of a lion-hunter, period — trophy hunter in general, actually.

Take Jimmy Kimmel:  “I’m honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that. How is that fun? Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things that are stronger than you?”

Like night follows day and the rivers flow to the sea liberals have a quick solution for something their brain-wiring won’t allow them to understand. And here it is — in the form of a recent Los Angeles Time headline: “The lesson of Cecil: Big-game trophy hunting should be outlawed.”

None of that “don’t like lion-hunting — don’t hunt one” from liberals on this issue.

“In parts of Africa there is a very arguable case that strictly regulated lion-hunting might be the best way for lions to survive,” says Professor David MacDonald, director of the Wildlife Conservation Unit in Oxford University’s Department of Zoology. Dr MacDonald is the famous zoologist who collared Cecil, tracked him for seven years and is currently sharing the media limelight as the world’s top lion scientist, next to Sharon Osbourne, Mia Farrow and Whoopi Goldberg.

“In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions,” reads the title of a fascinating New York Times article by Goodwell Nzou, who grew up surrounded by lions in the countryside of Zimbabwe. Even with such a platform and background his views won’t stand a chance against those of Debra Messing, Salma Hayek and Al Franken — but here they are:

“Did all those Americans signing petitions understand that lions actually kill people? That all the talk about Cecil being “beloved” or a “local favorite” was media hype? In my village in Zimbabwe, surrounded by wildlife conservation areas, no lion has ever been beloved, or granted an affectionate nickname. They are objects of terror.”

Ask hunters who’ve been on Safari what happens when they whack out a lion or leopard or elephant. Sure, in Hollywood, Manhattan, London and Paris they moan and wail. But in the immediate vicinity of this form of pest-control the locals rejoice!

Imagine the bug-spray man coming to your house: “Tell ya what,” he says. “I’ll give ya 100 bucks for every roach I kill, 200 for any rats, and a cool 500 simoleons for a whack at the raccoon messing up your attic.”

You’d be dancing the Watusi too. And the Twist and the Hustle and the Bump and the Boot-Scootin’ Boogie. You’d also make sure to have a few of these creatures around for his next visit.

Here’s Paul Funston of South Africa’s Endangered Wildlife Trust: “The real solution to preserving lions lies in giving the local people incentives to tolerate lions on their land.”

“To tolerate,” got that, animal-rightists? In brief, given their fondness for the flesh of African natives’ cattle (and that of the natives themselves) Mr Funston infers that, among rural Africans, lions are normally considered intolerable. But this comes from a person actually familiar with the views of rural Africans.

And you’d be amazed at the tolerance the $50,000 (what it costs a tourist hunter in total fees to shoot an African Lion) generates in a country like Zimbabwe, where annual per-capita income runs around $930.

Point is, those of us who restrict ourselves to blasting Bambi, Thumper, Daffy, Porky, etc. for our barbecue tailgate parties and family feasts, better be careful about throwing Simba hunters such as Palmer and Bronkhorst under the bus.

Let’s take a deep breath and back off, please. If social media is any guide, much of the moralistic preening by “food” hunters at Dr. Palmer’s expense seems affected, and even cowardly.

Take those “conservatives” who at the first sight of a finger-wagging media mouse, scream, scamper onto a chair and huddle cravenly among snickering liberals for fear of the dreaded label, “racist!” or “anti-immigrant!”

Trophy hunters need a Donald Trump. Facts matter. Stand your ground, lock,load — and counterattack. Make the facts known clearly. Outside of studio audiences for The View and Jimmy Kimmel facts are often acknowledged by Americans. You’d be amazed. Trump’s “surge” gives a good hint of this astounding phenomenon.