Elephants are my favorite animal (check my avatar). Watching an elephant herd shambling through the bush is a profoundly spiritual experience that connects me to the natural world in a way that’s hard to express. Something to do with standing apart from both myself and human history. Speaking of which, mankind has been “managing” wildlife since our species evolved (e.g. the mass extinctions that accompanied our arrival on the North American continent). So if an elephant needs killing as part of a conservation or wildlife management program, I say kill it. In fact . . .
I’m sympathetic even if the cull isn’t part of a program; just a simple reflection of a tribe’s desire to grow enough food to stay alive and get their MTV. But not all killing methods and killers are equal. Some are more honest than others.
GoDaddy CEO and combat vet Bob Parson’s taken a lot of heat for an elephant “snuff film“. Needless to say, the NRA is down with Bob’s efforts to help the people of Africa by adding another elephant to his hunting resume. But methinks Bob protests the protests too much.
After explaining the elephant nuisance situation and the creatures’ relative abundance, Bob says “It takes guys like me to go into the fields at night shoot one of them and the people then . . . number one, the rest of the elephants leave the field, they don’t come back the rest of the crops are saved, and the people then butcher the elephant and they get protein that they don’t usually get at all.” (1:22)
The implication is clear: I’m the guy who can get this done. They can’t.
Can’t they? Does it really take a U.S. Marine (or similar) to shoot an elephant on the behalf of a poor Zimbabwean farmer? I seem to recall the fact that Robert Mugabe had a large number of well-armed soldiers who’ve proven themselves extremely efficient in the killing mammals department. Also something about poachers.
If part of Parson’s goal (i.e. justification) is to provide protein for the villagers, how about providing protein for them on a regular basis?
Here’s what I’m getting at: Parsons seems completely unwilling to admit that he killed the elephant for personal gratification, not the pursuit of animal conservation or the gift of philanthropy. He says he was smiling in the famous photo because he was happy—but ties that to all the worthy by-products of his killer shot.
Don’t get me wrong: I see nothing wrong with hunting animals for the sheer bloody thrill of it. I am well aware that Parsons’ hunt was an economic boost for a brutal, repressive regime that has turned one of the most fertile countries on planet earth into a land of misery, degradation, violence and starvation.
But Parsons needs to get on the blower with Ted Nugent, stat, so he can get in touch with his inner madman. Better yet, Parsons needs to go hunting with The Motor City Madman, to hear what a real demagogue sounds like. Kill a few dozen feral pigs from a chopper Bob. Do it for the children.