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The recent botched killing of a beautiful African lion, by the American dentist Walter Palmer, is sticking in many craws tonight. What is it, Walter, you with your dead big game and perfect white teeth?  Running low on testosterone, are we?

Ernest Hemingway would rightfully call this shithead a fucking coward.  Cowardly to use a huge cross-bow.  Cowardly to lure the lion out of a sanctuary with dead game tied to your bumper.  Cowardly and over the top stupidity to track the lion for forty hours, finish him off with a hand-gun, cut off his head and skin him, and leave him to rot.

You don’t deserve this trophy, you raging idiot.  You are the latest Francis Macomber in an array of millenium macho men who have a hard-on for “big game.”

Some time ago I learned that my husband’s attorney had obtained the grizzly stuffed and standing in attack mode in his office by shooting him with a crossbow from a helicopter.  Even better.  Evening the odds.

What we should do with big game hunters in an era of species depletion and black market slaughter of elephants and rhinos for their ivory, is neuter them and display their flaccid testicles in the town square.

But just as we have not been able to ban assault rifles, we can’t put so much as a dent in making it illegal to kill big game.

It does take a coward–a million and one cowards, to do what we have done to our planet and its myriad of species.

In his accounts of big game hunting Hemingway sets forth the moral code by which people used to hunt.  You never let an animal suffer– you get him with the first shot in the right place; you make a clean kill.

You lost your bragging rights, asshole, when you wounded the lion who was in torment for 40 hours.

Our idea that we are the dominant species, little gods of the planet, will render us and everything around us extinct.  That is our karma–that is what we will have done.

I once helped someone butcher a duck.  He was a crabby little Puerto Rican lawyer who thought he should live off the land, i.e., his thirty acre farm north of St. Paul.  He tied a string around the duck’s neck and my job was to hold the string while he severed the head with a small axe.

I have been apologizing to the duck for many years.  I have flashbacks to the event.  I was a coward to participate in this brutal killing.  Slaughterhouses are more humane.

I once had a bitch whelp fifteen puppies and she had no milk.  All fifteen were hungry, cold and whining within an hour of the last one’s birth.

I believed, as I had no money, that I should put them down.  I have told myself that I had no choice, that I relieved their suffering, even though their beautiful dam went crazy trying to find them.

In truth, I was afraid that if I called around for milk or a surrogate bitch in whelp with very few puppies, I would be lectured, shamed, possibly charged with something.

I have tried to forgive myself–but in this case as well, I was a coward.

I pray that all of us in this writhing, fucked up mess of humanity learn something from the terribly hard lessons we give ourselves, especially those lessons so costly to other living beings.