I have followed to some degree....this Cecil the Lion story for the last three or four days. It's a simplistic story. American dentist saves up a ton of money ($50,000) and pays for a lion expedition in Zimbabwe. No one says the cost of the airline ticket, the booze for the period while in Zimbabwe, the food bill, or incidentals. I'd take a guess that it was a bit more than $50,000.
There seems to be a fair number of people upset by the shooting of Cecil. Maybe on the friendly lion side of this.....having a name like Cecil.....and being a "blood-thirsty dentist" (as one comment suggested on a page)....maybe I can buy into this whole story.
The problem is....no one says much when a lion attacks a kid and drags him off into the tall grass for an afternoon treat. I can venture through 300-odd newspapers in the US and I doubt if there's been a single such story over the past decade.
On average, just in Tanzania alone....there's around 70-odd lion attacks on humans each year, which result in death.
If you count all of Africa, on average....it's around 250 humans killed by lions each year. If you counted in snakes, leopard attacks, elephants charging into villages, etc....there's probably a thousand Africans a year killed by wildlife.
In India, there's roughly eighty people killed yearly by Tigers.
No one ever says much over these events....unless you live in the country affected. The local news in India will report each tiger-attack and name the poor woman or kid that was dragged off into the woods. Tanzania newspapers will typically a lion-attack of a human on page one or page two, and likely sensationalize the event. No, they don't ever assign a name to the lion because there's just no necessity to such a situation.
Had Cecil ever attacked a human? No one suggests such and you can only guess that Cecil mostly stayed with four-legged animals for his lunch and dinner treats.
Are we pretty naive? Well.....yeah.
We quickly bought into the story because of the friendly lion name of Cecil. Had he been a "Cerberus" (demon of the pit), or Seth....we might have been less inclined to think that nicely of Cecil.
Adding onto this....we have a natural dislike of dentists because we think they are dishonest in their prices. The fact that this guy had $50,000 to throw around on a lion-hunt license seems to bother some folks.
A big deal? I have my doubts. The sad truth is....this dentist could have paid the $50,000....gone over and spent seven days hunting some lion, and resting one moment by a stream.....had Cecil suddenly jump over a boulder and confront the dentist in a moment where the gun was six feet away. Cecil would have chomped down on the dentist arm, then his leg, and then dragged the poor guy off into the high grass to enjoy an afternoon snack.
A Zimbabwe reporter would have arrived at the local hospital to get some pictures of the half-eaten American dentist and wrote a fine 10,000-word Steinbeck-like piece over the last day of dentist's life....what he ate....the fancy Chinese hunting jacket that he wore.....the fake Nike tennis shoes that he bought on the final morning....the last song played the night before by the washed-up British singer at the resort....the cheap local beer that he consumed in significant quantities throughout the day....and noted that some local tribe had assigned a curse with Cecil a decade ago....that he was a 'bad' lion.
It would have been a front-page story in Zimbabwe. Oddly, the story would have only appeared in the local paper of the dentist on page two....noting his passing and noting his wife or kids were sad over this but noted that he died in the thrills of his hobby. The gravestone would note somewhere.....'lion-hunter'.....in the remarks.
Yeah, that could have been the alternate story to the day, and no one would have raised a glass to the dentist or uttered some profane comment about the man-eater lion named Cecil. We are that stupid, if you think about it.