Walter Palmer shot Cecil because Americans are obsessed with killing
In a nation where children get guns for Christmas and madmen shoot up malls, this dentist is just the tip of the murderous iceberg
Walter Palmer on a previous hunting trip
By Brian Masters, author of numerous books about serial killers
31 Jul 2015
The uproar which has attended the slaughter of Cecil the Lion is little short of astonishing, because the strength of indignation is being felt even in the USA, a nation which regularly celebrates its freedom to kill. It is especially noteworthy that Walter Palmer, the dentist responsible
for what is, after all, a stupidly adolescent act, has apologised not for the death of the animal, but for the distress he has caused by it. He says he thought he had acted legally; it does not occur to him that what may be legal can also be intellectually vapid and morally wrong.
Apparently, he has a long history of murder for fun, posing shamelessly next to animals of various kinds and sizes whose lives he has taken to satisfy an irrational personal craving. Alas, he is not alone. Whenever a man with a gun makes living people dead in a school or a cinema or a shopping mall
, politicians are quick and loud to point out that the man had a perfect right to buy his gun as easily as he might purchase a pile of oranges, and to use it; but they never have the courage to admit the loathsome and awkward truth that many Americans actually enjoy shooting to kill.
This was made manifest in several recent shootings by police officers
; one sees the careful aim, the purposeful pressure on the trigger, and most tellingly, the repeated shots afterwards
, just like in the movies. In similar fashion, they also enjoy hunting to kill, irrespective of any supposed need to eat. It is, they think, a sport. Sarah Palin, who actually wanted to be Vice-President of the United States, openly boasted of her pleasure in slaughtering animals. And most of the candidates for election who proclaim that they are “pro-life”, will in the following sentence show how much they are in practice pro-death (of an animal or a human on the run), without noticing any contradiction in attitude.
When, many years ago, I was hitch-hiking across that vast country, I was once offered a ride by two young men, roughly my age, who stopped to chase a small deer until it lay exhausted with fear. They then invited me to despatch it. I refused, pointing out that no purpose would be served by depriving it of life. They were dumbfounded, clearly thinking that I must be unhinged. No doubt Mr Palmer the dentist would share their view. It does not cross the minds of such dim individuals to question their right to kill whenever they feel like it.
Dr Palmer poses with a previous victim
This is a country in which children as young as five are given guns as Christmas presents (blue guns for boys, pink ones for girls), and taught by proud parents how to use them properly when loaded. This is a country in which women have been known to carry a gun in their bra. This is a country in which one of the most popular recent films, American Sniper, was based on the life of Chris Kyle
, a man so besotted with the rage to kill that he frequently pointed his gun at the television screen if somebody of whom he disapproved came into view.
Thus is it a splendid shock to see a different response to Dr Palmer's childish fantasies of power and manhood. It may be the beginning of a new mood. In the meantime, however, Palmer probably still feels proud of himself.
Walter Palmer shot Cecil because Americans are obsessed with killing - Telegraph