Cecil The Lion Deemed More Important Than Brown People

I found it troubling that I noticed roughly ten times as many posts on my social media accounts about a dead lion than about a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan which took out a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (internationally known as Médecins Sans Frontières), which is a humanitarian organization devoted to providing medical aid to people in poverty stricken or war torn areas. Twelve volunteers in the medical profession of varying nationalities, as well as ten Afghan patients, including three children, were killed.

Cecil the Lion was one lion.

Both events are horrible, but one is much worse than the other. If any of the victims of this drone strike were your friends or family, you’d gladly trade the entire world lion population for them and I wouldn’t disagree with the decision.

Cecil the Lion was a lion who didn’t even know his name was Cecil. I bet he couldn’t even grasp the concept of gender either. In Cecil’s mind, nothing was happening. Just like those dead babies the U.S. killed with their drone strike. Cecil however was at his full potential. The babies had room to grow.

There is varying psychological rationale for why the U.S. media and most of its citizens would be more broken up about the death of a lion than of a war crime which killed 22 people.

Similar tragedies happen all the time in Afghanistan and people have grown numb to it. It’s tough to admit the country your kids pledge allegiance to in their underfunded schools every morning invaded another country and under varying degrees has continued a drone strike policy which indiscriminately and regularly takes out civilian populations and dehumanizes the victims by calling them Collateral Damage.

Translation, body parts of non terrorists scattered everywhere.

That’s Bush. That’s Obama. Same fucking difference.

This particular attack appears to be a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which even the most disgusting war pigs claim to believe in, and which states that hospitals are off limits.

How cool of them.

The U.S. was, on record, aware of the hospital’s coordinates, and broached protocol by not alerting it of an air strike.

I wonder how common this is.

Maybe you shouldn’t have some guy in Nevada playing Battleship with a machine which can take out a building at the flick of a joystick. A machine manufactured through no bid government contracts by a company very cozy with multiple individuals responsible for orchestrating the drone strike policy in the first place.

Let alone the fact the U.S. armed Afghan rebels (Mister Bin Laden) in the first place to fight the Soviets – another enemy whose threat was namely our own government’s propaganda.

Let alone Raytheon and The Carlisle Group’s working relationship with the Bin Laden family, and their transparent mutual interests with the Bushes and several members of their various cabinets.

Why are the Bin Laden’s wealthy? Construction. What does Haliburton do? Construction. What company was Dick Cheney the C.E.O. of again?

How many of the 9/11 hijackers were from Iraq or Afghanistan?


Were they all Saudi? (yes). Is Saudi Arabia one of America’s closest Allies? (yes).


Blow some shit up, get paid to rebuild it. That’s yours and my tax dollars at work, so I guess we bear some responsibility.

But fuck this guy who killed a lion. Solid Retweet Bethany.

Haven’t heard much from you about the Doctors Without Borders incident.


We’ve collectively accepted this reality, that the country you love kills more people, per bio mass, than any other country in the history of the world, and certainly more than your stupid fucking Facebook posts about some dog who was abused would ever realize.

Without taking a step back, it’s tough to realize how absurd it is.

Coupled with all of our major news networks hawking war as often as possible because of increased ratings and a general corporate beholdenism, you have a population which has signed off on the perverted sentiment that we need to bomb other countries for our own personal freedom.

News networks are owned by corporations which are traded on the N.Y.S.E. So are the companies which profit from war (Halliburton, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop, Lockheed, etc.)

Try and count how many commercials you see for the Marines during your next football game, and if you own stock in these companies please hit your child for some perspective.

It’s out of sight, out of mind. Sipping your coffee in the morning because you’d rather watch SportsCenter than have to burden yourself with acknowledging your country just committed another of what would be seen as a terrorist attack if the language were switched around.

Why are we judging people for being suicide bombers again when our own country is currently pulverizing countries we invaded with a liberal drone strike program? Not efficient enough? Too personal?

Agent Orange?

Is it shame which leads us to change the subject to a lion, like we do in any conversation when we don’t want to give a straight answer?

The poaching of lions isn’t a new phenomenon.

What was so special about this lion?

Public outrage over the Cecil incident could probably be attributed to the needlessness of his killing.

Killing is bad.

Third grade ethics.

War is terrible, but at least we have good intentions, says conventional wisdom. You have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette. This mindset assumes that war is inevitable. A necessary evil.

The displaced outrage over the killing of a lion and a general passiveness towards the mass slaughter of innocent civilians may be correlated.

I would guess, of those who are passingly aware of it, most everyone who was bent out of shape about Cecil the Lion also vehemently disagrees with the U.S.’s current foreign policy in the Middle East.

Surely there are a fair amount of cornfed idiots out there with the standard issue cubic centimeters of human emotion who simply can’t grasp the concept of war, with all of its variables and buzzwords.

These are usually the people muttering various platitudes about freedom and terrorists and celebrating their ignorance via pickup truck.

Of course, they’re going to take the easy way out and cry over a lion.

This is the adult version of watching cartoons.

There might be some correlation to the average citizen being indifferent towards dead babies and up in arms over a lion and our level of education in general.

The U.S. Department of Education’s budget is about $77 billion per year. The Defense budget (the folksy people who invade and occupy other countries and pass out candy to the community while occupying them under illegal military rule) is about $600 billion per year, but that doesn’t count the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, which have cost around $1.3 trillion and $1 trillion respectively, and much more going forward.

Of course those numbers are grossly under representative of the true cost, but given those figures the U.S. spends roughly $300 on its military for every one dollar on education. If those numbers met somewhere in the middle there would probably be less war, because people educated on the subject might not be too happy about their taxes going directly towards killing civilians and making more enemies so that more war can happen.

It might be difficult, but it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the people being killed on your dime.

Maybe Americans should donate a portion of their lion outrage time to understand the cultures of the region their military has invaded. The food. The history. If that happened maybe the dead babies would be seen as real people instead of faceless terrorists thousands of miles away.

Cecil, on the other hand, looks cute and cuddly and reminds you of your kitty cat back home.

He’s relatable.

For those who are on the other side of the curve, Cecil the Lion may be their backwards way of acknowledging the horrendous results of our government’s greed inspired policy. The U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan so far have killed over a million innocent people.

Let’s not mention Vietnam, Korea, Nicaragua, Grenada, etc.

Talking about Cecil and not these atrocities, outside of lacking a basic understanding of cognizant suffering, is above all just lazy.

A cheap way to signify that you’re an empathetic person.

A lion was killed for fun by a rich guy. That’s pretty much all you need to know to form an opinion. Learning about the world takes time. Retweeting something doesn’t.

There’s also a component of cultural osmosis to the destination towards which one’s standard issue amount of empathy is directed.

The FCC forbids the airing of dead U.S. soldiers and the dead bodies of the victims of U.S. attacks on television, although you’ll notice plenty of sarin gas footage from Syria being bandied about between commercials for the Army.

If people could see the effects of their country’s contrived wars more readily they’d be less likely to turn a blind eye to the dead babies.

They showed Cecil’s body dead on CNN.

If Halliburton could make the kind of money off of lion pelts that they do killing people overseas, you wouldn’t be seeing a dead Cecil either.

Out of sight, out of mind.

I didn’t include any dead baby pictures in this post.

I wonder why.

Gas prices are coming getting lower.

Pull your heads out of your asses.



Matt Ralston is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewRalston

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