Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

Cecil the lion leads the way to social change

The  best animal trophies are those shot with a camera

The best animal trophies are those shot with a camera

After Walter Palmer killed Cecil the lion, people around the world collectively expressed their outrage, and as a result, trophy hunting will never be the same. Seldom has activism produced such quick results. In fact, more than a dozen airlines promptly banned the transport of animal trophies on their aircraft.

Now comes the flow of backlash opinion articles, criticizing people for getting so upset, “when there are more important things going on in the world than a lion’s death.”

My answer to that is that we really are a conceited species. With some humanoids, the only time something is important is when it’s about them. And furthermore, isn’t it possible to speak-out about more than one subject at a time?

But what really worries the conceited branch of our species is that the success of speaking out for Cecil will not only encourage more of such activism, but it will also present a different way of looking at the perpetrators of injustice. And most worried about this is the gun industry.

Years of concerned citizens speaking out against guns in the United States has had little effect, as the massacres of people continue. Trophy hunters, however, don’t have lobbyists as powerful as the NRA. So while trophy hunting was brought to its knees in less than two-weeks, the NRA has made it possible for the mass murder industry to continue in the United States with no end in sight.

The NRA may be powerful enough to keep the guns flowing, but they aren’t powerful enough to stop social change. Because of Cecil, few trophy hunters will ever again be able to puff out their chests when they show off their kill rooms, as the public now recognizes these humanoids as the sexually and socially insecure individuals they are. That can’t help but brush off on the gun-obsessed, whose entire identity is tied to their weapons.

Tell me the next time you see some pot-bellied man with a gun strapped to his side—walking down the street—that you don’t want to look him in the eyes, hold your thumb and forefinger an inch apart, and laugh! Yes, the most effective way to deal with America’s gun culture isn’t by battling the NRA, but by making it socially embarrassing to be associated with guns.

Cecil has shown us the way. If we follow, not only will Cecil have been the king of beasts, but he will also have been the lion who changed the world.

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