The hunt for judicial righteousness



Christopher Cervantes
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There is one word that is tossed around continually. From a child’s birth to her or his adulthood, there are persistent lessons and teachings about the word “respect.” Whether it is respecting your parents or the lifestyles of your fellow humans, the presence of the word is one that has been one of uncontested understanding. Respect, for all intents and purposes, helps outline a sense of order that shapes everyday life.

That is why, with all our teachings of respect, I am completely shocked at the lack of regard shown toward the likes of wildlife in the various parts of the world. A prominent example of this disgustingly disrespectful attitude is the death of Cecil the Lion, a star attraction at the Hwange National Park, a game reserve in Zimbabwe.

On July 1, Cecil was lured out of the sanctuary, where he was shot and wounded with an arrow. He was tracked for 40 hours and was then killed with a rifle by Walter Palmer, an American dentist who has escaped back to the United States and avoided Zimbabwean arrest.

His illegal hunt has sparked the outrage of conservation groups, politicians, and celebrities alike. According to the MinnPost, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., has called for an investigation of Palmer. Zimbabwe officials now want to extradite Palmer, a notion that is supported by the American public.

Now, I am not one who usually supports such groups as PETA, but this incident warrants extra attention. When Palmer killed Cecil, he opened a Pandora’s box that sent off a chain reaction.

For one thing, Palmer has now killed several lions. While he may have only shot Cecil, he was unaware that his prey was the head of his pride. That means that when the new alpha male arises, all of the cubs fathered by Cecil are now at risk to be killed. The current conservation status of lions put them in the threatened area. The livelihood of six cubs may seem like small potatoes, but in this day and age, in which human growth puts the lives of animals at risk, six cubs might be enough to tip the scale, one way or another. As an extension, this could radically shift the local ecosystem.

If we look past the environmental standpoint, there is the political one. Palmer has put the United States in a very awkward position.

It is no secret that our country’s policy toward foreign nations can be polarizing at best. Furthermore, we have a president who wants to cement a positive legacy for himself before he leaves the White House. Whatever choice is to be made will forever cement precedence for future incidents. Even if this was “unintentional,” as Palmer has said, the damage is done. The domino effect is already in progress.

Upon his death, Cecil’s pride was taken over by his brother, Jericho. This is a time to take action. If we do not, a message is sent — one that reads the human race does not care. Palmer must pay his dues. For him to fail to do so would be an unnatural failure on our part.

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