Why did so many people freak out on social media about Cecil the lion’s murder? I can only speak for myself, but I think it might be about the word “dentist”. Now hear me out on this one. For me it was like, “Dentist?! I go to a dentist. Does my dentist do this? Does my doctor? My lawyer?!” We all go to the dentist. We all have some professionals in our lives that make large amounts of money, some of it from us personally. We might even have friends that are dentists. And why do they keep saying “Minnesota dentist” to identify this man? Because it brings it all home to us as individual U.S. citizens. This isn’t some far-off billionaire that most of us would never run across in our entire lifetimes. He lives in Minnesota. He’s a dentist (not even an oral surgeon!). He could be your dentist, as so many horrified patients found out.
So now, I want to ask my doctors and dentists, do you trophy hunt? Do you kill lions, elephants, zebras? But then, I think what other kinds of things should I ask? Are you racist? Are you homophobic? What if I need brain surgery and the best brain surgeon in NYC (that takes my insurance, yeah right!) is a trophy hunter? Do I go to a lesser skilled surgeon who does not trophy hunt? What if it’s my son who needs the surgery?
The moral questions can go on and on until you get a headache and throw your hands into the air and say fuck it. But, isn’t it important just to ask the questions? Isn’t that the start of awakening? Isn’t awareness the first step towards action? And does one small action help? Do I go in for my next dentist appointment and say, “I know this sounds crazy, but it’s important to me to know, are you a trophy hunter?” Maybe.