The Tale of the Lion Hunter Who Became the Hunted

The Tale of the Lion Hunter Who Became the Hunted

The Tale of the Lion Hunter Who Became the Hunted


I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the Minnesota dentist, Walter Palmer, who killed a protected lion, haven’t you? The news of his brutality was publicized just last week.

See him below, flashing his pearly whites and grinning like he hasn’t a care in the world? As if he doesn’t shoot wild animals for pleasure just so he can mount their heads on his wall.


The Lion Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Dr. Palmer

Photo courtesy of: NY Daily News 


In early July, he paid $54,000 to hunt and kill a lion in Zimbabwe, which turned out to be not just any lion, but a collared, protected, beautiful, lion named Cecil, who was loved by all.

The way he hunted the lion down was nefarious. His hunting guides, native Zimbabweans, set up the hunt by tying a dead animal to the back of a truck and luring the lion out of the sanctuary in which he lived, only so he could be shot by the big game hunting dentist with a crossbow, tracked for 48 hours, and then finished off with a gun. After the final kill, Cecil was skinned, beheaded and the rest of his body was left to rot in the dirt.

Palmer, of course, insists that he didn’t know that Cecil was collared, and yet this wouldn’t be the first time that he had illegally killed an animal, so it’s a hard story to swallow.

Here’s the good doctor below, grinning and giddy – high from his most recent kill.


The Lion Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Giddy after the kill

Photo courtesy of:


I think that most of us would agree that what Palmer did was heinous.

It’s not something to slap each other on the back about. It’s not something to applaud. What he did is something to loathe. His actions were those of a self-absorbed hunter out to bag the largest kill his seemingly endless money supply could buy.

As far as I’m concerned, he’s a sadistic bully with a gun and a hefty wallet.

And it seems the American public, for the most part, feels the same way.

There have been numerous polarizing occurrences in our country lately: the demise of the Confederate flag, new Equal Rights legislation legalizing gay marriage, renewed attacks on Planned Parenthood, shooting of innocent movie and churchgoers due to racial hatred and guns run amok, cops brutalizing African American citizens, and police officers being vilified and attacked every day during the line of duty to name a few.

Both sides of our divided country have felt the blows.

However, this brutal slaying of a protected wild cat is something that we, as a country of nearly 320 million people, can come together on as a whole, except for the contingency of big game hunters of course, which is 55,000 strong. (I’m talking to you, Ted Nugent and Donald Trump’s two, mega macho, big game hunter sons.)


The Lion Hunter Becomes the Hunted: The Donald's sons holding their kill.

Photo courtesy of: the


And, with one voice, with all of the strength we can muster, we’ve been shouting from the rooftops, while shaking our self-righteous fists, THIS LION HUNTER IS GOING DOWN!

And go down, he did.

His house appears to have been vacated. He’s not answering his phone. The website for his dental practice has been removed. The doorway to his practice is buried in stuffed animals representing the big game hunting kills he has made throughout the years. The Yelp page with reviews on his practice is overloaded with venomous input from patients he will never meet. And he has been forced to close his office altogether due to the numerous protesters, phone calls, hate mail, and even personal threats that he has received.


The Lion Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Palmer's practice littered with stuffed animals and signs inviting him to rot in hell.

Photo courtesy of:


What’s more, Zimbabwe has moved to extradite him to be tried for his crimes, PETA is calling for a hanging, and Palmer, his family, and his home now require 24/7 police protection. If he isn’t forced to serve 15 years in a Zimbabwanese jail, then he’ll most likely be facing bankruptcy, and will live, for quite some time at least, as a social pariah.

To top it all off, social media is in full-throttle internet lynching mode.


The Lion Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Lyin' King

Graphic courtesy of:


Too many Facebook sites to count have been created to honor Cecil and to pummel Palmer.

Real posts like these abound:

 – We need to send him back to Zimbabwe, fatally shoot him with an arrow and leave him in a field of hungry lions to see how he feels about the legality of it all…..just my opinion.

– Can we remove the dentist’s skin and head and leave his carcass near the outskirts of the White House?

– Pull out his teeth one by one and then feed him to Cecil’s cubs.

As a means of comic relief I suppose, one commenter spread the word that Palmer had decided to go into hiding: that he had changed his name to Bartman, and had moved to Chicago because he would be safer that way.

So the guy got what he deserved, right?

Well, maybe, except since when do we get to decide what punishment a wrong-doer deserves?  Since when did sinking to this villain’s level become acceptable? And since when do two wrongs make a right?

I understand feeling outraged, but death threats? Wanting to literally throw him into the lion’s den?

As vile as his act was, it’s also disgusting to me to see the American public become a unified pack of cyber bullies: social media vigilantes with an intent to harm and, according to the words of some, even to kill.

Meanwhile, during the same week of online Palmer lynching, NINE people have been shot dead with guns in Chicago alone.

I repeat. Nine PEOPLE were shot dead.

Where’s the outrage about that? Why are we immune to the killing of humans, but not to that of lions? Why aren’t people clamoring to get the guns off the street as loudly as they are to rip out this dentist’s teeth?

An unarmed black man who was sitting in his car in Ohio was shot point blank in the head by a cop the other day. Why aren’t folks raising the roof over that atrocity?

Five U.S. Marines were shot and killed at a military recruiting base in Chattanooga two weeks ago, but that’s old news, right? Veritable water under the bridge.

Teachers, coaches, parents, and priests are molesting children left and right, and we play the shell game shuffling them off to another school or family or parish.

Nearly 15.8 million children in our very own country have insufficient food and are inadequately clothed, yet we generally accept this fact as if it was the most natural, expected, unavoidable occurrence.


The Lion Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Poor and hungry kids

Photo courtesy of: tumblr


Worldwide, one child dies every 10 seconds due to malnutrition, and we hardly blink an eye.

But illegally shoot a lion, and you’d better change your name, don a fake nose and glasses, and buy a one-way ticket to Borneo, bucko, ‘cause, otherwise, we will damn well skin you alive!


I don’t get it.


Written by Becky


  • Klack128 says:

    Well stated, all around. Part of me thinks that we focus so much attention on people like him so that we can feel justified in being outraged about something, even if it is not one of the things we sorely need to fix in our society…

    • Becky says:

      Thanks! You may be right. It’s easy to focus on his misdeeds rather than the tougher issues. “We can take this one dentist down, no problem, but curing worldwide hunger . . .?”

  • Patty from MMC says:

    Beautifully written article – perhaps Cecil has garnered so much public attention because he is a beautiful, protected animal and we have tender hearts for beautiful, protected animals. I am outraged at Cecil’s death, but threatening death to the dentist is a little bit overboard. Should he be punished? Yes. Should he be extradited? Probably. But it is easy to shout a horrific demise for this dentist from the anonymity of the internet, where no one has to follow through with these threats. I am an animal rights advocate, but I also feel that we often neglect those of our own species who deserve protection. We are the only specie (although anomalies have been found in other animals) who kill each other just because we can, who kill for sport or revenge or whenever our anger or our demons prompt us to. And, as a result, it’s the innocents who suffer.

    • Becky says:

      He is gorgeous, isn’t he? And yet, as disgusted as I am by this guy’s actions, I am much more concerned for kids who can’t feed, clothe, or protect themselves: a concern which I have never seen go viral like this lion story. Maybe it’s the lack of one specific villain to crucify.

  • Hi Becky:

    You’re so right. The intensity of public reaction doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think that it just the “in thing”
    right now to go ballistic over what this dentist did, and not care too much about all the other terrible stuff
    that is going on in our country and the world. As an example, when I returned from the navy in 1969, public
    opinion was such that anyone who had served in the military was a monster; baby-killer; creep. Back then,
    anyone who wore anything military couldn’t get the time of day from a passerby. Now, when I wear my Vietnam veteran’s hat, I often get the comment, “thanks for your service” from people I don’t know. Today,
    anyone who is or was in the military is a hero! Go figure! Fact is that war is the same wherever and whenever it is fought. Lyndon Johnson said it best. ” War is trying to kill someone you don’t even know well enough to hate”. Back in the 60s, there was a draft that required people to serve. Now, we have a completely voluntary military. Why are those in the service “heros” now? Public opinion blows the way the wind does.

    • Becky says:

      Yep, you’re right about public opinion blowing the way the wind does. I’m just wondering what particular gust blew people’s opinions in the same direction with this story. All I can come up with is the bipartisan angle. There was such a sense of solidarity in the U.S. after 9/11 occurred, and this lion hunter reaction feels similar on a much smaller scale: it’s something the majority of American’s can stand behind.

      I think, too, that we’re tired of looking like greedy, uncaring SOB’s to the rest of the world, and this may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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