Walter Palmer, the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion, says he did nothing illegal and that he’s going back to work.
I don’t think Dr. Palmer understands the issue. He doesn’t grasp why people are so upset. He thinks we’re all mad because we mistakenly believe that he broke the law.
No, Walter, we know you acted legally. We live in a country where it’s legal for rich people to buy Congressmen. Most places it’s called “bribery” or “graft” or “corruption,” but here it’s called “lobbying” or “free speech.” We live in a country where it’s legal to gun down unarmed people so long as you’re white and they’re not. We live in a country where one of the two major parties actively, aggressively and shamelessly works to deprive those it suspects might vote against its interests of the right to vote. We live in a country where many of our corporations and wealthiest citizens pay no taxes while the poorest are asked to tighten their belts and sacrifice. We live in a society where corporations are citizens and people aren’t.
I could go on, but I don’t need to. You live here. You know.
The issue isn’t legal, Dr. Palmer. Every day we’re reminded, again and again, that legal doesn’t mean moral or ethical. Legal defines the rigged system by which the most despicable among us legislate themselves every decadent privilege imaginable.
You acted legally. Of course you did. It is legal for the affluent to pay a few thousand dollars for the right to kill, for sport, for fun, for pleasure, for enjoyment, a dwindling species that many believe should be classified as endangered. Of course, would that even stop you? Would you kill the last rhino on Earth if the nation you were in took your money and said it was legal?
Borderline sociopathy is legal, in the US and around the world. And if more and more of us have less and less respect for the rule of law, it’s because the law has become unhitched from any sense of rightness, of justice, of fairness, of integrity, of humanity.
You’re an insulated, tone-deaf douchebag, Walter Palmer, and people are outraged because in you we see a symbol of what has gone wrong in America. Or maybe it was always wrong. Maybe the only thing new is how close it’s all coming to snapping.
We know you acted legally, Dr. Palmer. That’s not an excuse. That’s the problem. And for this 15 minutes, you’re the face of it.
Have fun at work.