Rant With Randi: Couldn’t resist — ‘Boo’ on the trophy hunters

Randi Crawford

I’ve tried really hard, all week, to find a good rant to write about that didn’t include the words “Cecil” or “Walter Palmer.” But this one is unavoidable.

For those of you who want to tell me that I wouldn’t even know about Cecil, and all the other endangered animals that are murdered in their own environment, if it weren’t for the media, you are correct. Everything I rant about comes from stories that are in the news. There are so many injustices in the world, but this one royally pissed me off because it’s so unnecessary. Cave men killed because they had to. They used every single part of the animal for survival. If you need to feel satisfaction in Africa, go climb Mount Kilimanjaro!

My father is a hunter. But there is a huge difference between hunting (eating what you kill), and “trophy hunting.” I used to hunt with my father. He hunted for dove and quail (birds), and deer. Once the animals were shot, they were cleaned and eaten.

I’ll never forget sitting with my father for hours one Saturday morning when I was 15 years old. We dressed in camouflage and sat in a tree house, waiting to see a buck. The second I spotted those antlers, I instinctively made a loud noise to scare it off and my father was too shocked to scold me. We had been waiting for nearly four hours in the wee hours of the morning, and this was his one chance. But for some reason, this was very different from shooting birds, and I wanted no part of it. I couldn’t sit back and watch that beautiful buck get shot.

So when I initially heard all the stories about Cecil the lion, I felt awful. Then, a few days went by and I started to feel badly for the dentist, Walter Palmer, because it became a public shaming and witch-hunt for the man, and that turned me off.

But recently, I was in a debate with friends, and they asked me how I define killing Cecil the lion, versus killing cows, chickens, and fish. There is no comparison. We eat meat, chicken and fish. If we eat what we kill, it’s not the same thing.

So then they asked me, “What’s the difference when the exterminator comes and kills mice and rats, since we don’t eat them?” No, we don’t eat the mice and rats, but this is not the same argument.

They kept pushing me to explain how I define some killing to be OK, and other killing completely unacceptable. It’s just like when my kids go fly-fishing with my father in Colorado. They catch a fish and immediately throw it back in the river because they don’t like to eat fish, but they enjoy fly-fishing. They don’t catch the fish, throw it on land, watch it die, and then hang it on the wall. There is a naturally occurring cycle of life, and in the wild, animals kill each other to stay alive. I don’t enjoy watching that either, but it’s necessary for survival. When you kill an animal simply to hang on your wall, it isn’t about survival; it’s about your ego.

I went back to my computer to do some research. And the images that I found made me sick. I felt elated that Walter Palmer has been publicly shamed and wondered how his equally disturbing wife, Tonette, was let off the hook. After all, she provides the money for these expeditions, is also a “trophy hunter,” and furnishes her home with the skins and heads of these exotic animals as well.

On the heels of Walter Palmer are pictures all over twitter of Sabrina Corgatelli. She is a “trophy hunter” who has several posts with dead animals, including a giraffe wrapped around her legs. She said, “Everybody just thinks we’re cold-hearted killers, and it’s not that. Giraffes are very dangerous animals. They could hurt you seriously very quickly.”

Last time I checked, there hadn’t been any giraffe killings. They eat plants, bushes and shrubs — not humans. Is she for real?

Why would anyone post numerous pictures on social media, bragging about the majestic animals they’ve killed unless they need to point out what a huge nobody they really are?

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