An Unsolicited but Very Open Letter to Wally (Dr Walter Palmer) the Lion Killer

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Dear Wally,

You have no idea how long I’ve worked on this. At first I spent most of my time venting my anger and hurling abuse. The words just kept mounting up.

Hell, I even drew a cartoon with your head and arse mounted on a wall. I’m not an artist. When I finished with the pencil…I went over the lines in ink…still not satisfied, I coloured them in and added flowers for Cecil.

You don’t get flowers arsehole.

Oooops.  Sorry.

Then I wrote a long rambling tirade.

It was cathartic for me, but I’m sure it would have become tiresome for the reader, not that I have a bevy of readers.

But too much of anything can become toxic or at least boring.  Even though hurling such abuse did feel good,  Sort of like kicking an object when you’re really pissed off, it doesn’t help much but it feels good,

And there is a use by date. After all, the anger and dismay and horror from the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre has already waned. How many remember the mass shooting at the Aurora Theatre in Colorado? How many innocent black folk will be killed by police before we act?  Or do we just become inured and bored and accept it as the done thing?  Like my anger with you Wally, how long will it take for us to shove the atrocity of Dylan Roof’s massacre of nine  African Americans while they worshipped in their church under the carpet and tune into the banal aimless empty headed drama of make believe reality television tripe?

To be honest, there is far more rage at your actions than those of Dylan Roof or James Holmes or even Adam Lanza.   I mean these guys were just sick arsed wimps that never should have come within a country mile of owning a firearm.

You’re different.  In the eyes of many you are successful, you’re wealthy, you have successful business, you fucking vote Republican and donated handsomely to Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

Lions.  King of the Beast.  Honestly Wally, what a chickenshit cowardly dickhead thing to do.

There are billions of us…and only a few thousand of them. We have taken over the planet. We have dominated everything…we have destroyed wildlife habitat…and we value nothing unless it can return a profit. We’ve lost our ability to appreciate the beauty of things simply for the beauty of things…we have to apply a price tag to everything or, in your case, kill it and mount it’s head on your fucking wall.

You paid all that money to kill something noble, beautiful and natural. Why didn’t you donate it to house the homeless?  Set up an animal rescue?  Educate a poor kid? Help stop global warming?  Why?

Why?  Because you’re an arsehole that’s why.

And according to your guide you were not only not satisfied with killing Cecil…you had an elephant on your shopping list as well. And we already know you’ve killed a rhino because you had your picture taken with its corpse.

Not that your guide had any room to judge, he was an arsehole too.

Trophy Hunting. Seriously? Some sort of barbaric left over from the age of English Imperialism. And come on Wally…you didn’t even get that right. Those guys went on proper safaris…you know actually hunted on foot…and spent weeks in the bush doing it rough. You flew into the Dark Continent…were picked up at the airport…they tied a carcass to the back of a four-wheel drive and lured Cecil from the reserve. Then in the middle of the night… while you sat in the comfort and safety of a blind, your paid lackeys  blinded  poor Cecil with  a spotlight so you could take your shot.

You even fucked that up…wounding him and letting him suffer for forty hours before finding him the following day and putting him out of his misery. Then the final humiliation…cutting off his head…leaving his carcass to rot in the sun.

Man against nature my arse.  You’re not The Old Man and the Sea.  You’re not Ernest Hemmingway.  You’re not Shackleton or Jedidiah Smith or Hugh Glass.  Do you really think you are some kind of great white hunter?  What kind of pindick fantasy is that? I mean Jesus you and that Shitforbrains Ted Nugent should do some bonding. You mindless fucks would get along.

See. As hard as I try I can’t help but be pissed off and burst into a tirade.

You and Dylan and John and Adam have some things in common. You guys come off as rather wan and wimpy and scared.  Here, I put in some outdated man porn for you. It may help you with your erectile dysfunction.

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Ooooh….monster weasels!

Probably for the first time in your life…you got recognition. Global recognition. Unfortunately, it’s also global condemnation.

I’m not one of those calling for your blood.

I don’t want you to do anything more stupid or self-indulgent than you’ve already done. I mean, no suicide Wally. I don’t want the likes of Wayne la Pierre or Ted Nugent using you as a model of martyrdom for the gun lobby or Trophy Hunters.

Jedidiah Smith…Hugh Glass…Jim Bridger.  You aren’t those guys.  You’re a dentist who sexually harassed your receptionist until she finally put a stop to it.  You were too vain and up yourself to read her messages that she didn’t appreciate your advances.  And that cost 120,000 bucks.  Not enough in my book…but hey you could have had two more safaris for that and killed some other natural things.

You fucked up Wally…and you’ve been fucking up for a long time and it seems to me you haven’t learned a goddamned thing.

You went underground. Tried to hire a publicity firm and even they rejected you.  Now that’s saying something.   And when you finally return to work you have the unmitigated audacity to question the humanity of others.

I mean seriously?  You’re the victim and they’re the bad guys?  You question their humanity?  You’re the guy who went to another country, lured a magnificent animal from a wildlife refuge and killed it.

You’d think after spending all that money you would have spent some time studying the character and behaviour of the animal you intended on killing. In The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago battles the great fish and in the end no one really wins, not Santiago, not the fish, not the sharks that attack the fish.  But Santiago exhausted climbs the hill back to his shack and dreams of lions.  He has learned something.  He has gone through a metaphysical experience, a spiritual journey.

in Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner the mariner commits a senseless act, an act of random violence.  For no apparent reason, he kills the albatross.

And he’s punished for it.  His fellow crew members who condone the act also suffer.  Only the mariner survives and he must travel the world, tell his story and speak his message to all he encounters:

He prayeth best, who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.

This is the voice of humanity Wally.  Humanity is the voice that brings us reason, compassion and a sense of place in the world and society.  We make mistakes.  We accept that and own it. We learn. We try and do better.

We don’t blame others for our fuck ups.

It seems to me Wally that you have yet to do that.

Little Wattlebirds

The Little Wattlebirds nest in a wicker basket lantern that hangs under our veranda roof.  They have been doing so for years.

The basket hangs in a heavy traffic area just outside our kitchen door.  We watch them from our table outside on the veranda.  For most of the year our weather is mild.  We we spend a lot of time there and it’s where we eat most of our meals.   The wattlebirds are not far away and the parents don’t get alarmed unless we walk directly under the nest when they are feeding.  Sometimes in the evening when it’s nice and still we sit at the table, watch a starlit sky silhouette the towering trees behind the house, chat and have a drink while the mother bird roost on the nest and goes to sleep.

It doesn’t get more peaceful and pleasant than that.

Wattlebirds are not songsters.  Their normal call sounds like a rusty gate hinge buffeted in the wind.  But when they arrive for nesting the two mates speak to one another in soft gentle chirps and tweets that sound sweet and endearing.

They fly in and inspect the real estate,  calling out to one another.  If all is good, they begin renovations. Take out a twig. Add a twig. Throw in some soft fluffy stuff.  Move things around a bit. When that’s done, they lay their egg or eggs and the mother bird sits the nest.

The young hatch.  Stick up their little fuzzy heads on thin reedy necks, mouths wide open and the parents swoop into to feed them.

They are dedicated doting parents, both parents  feeding their hatchlings.  In the video you see one feeding and flying away to be immediately replaced by the mate.

It’s never without drama.  We grow attached to them and it’s a warm and wonderful thing to watch them progress daily.  So when danger comes we are concerned.  Some birds raid nests, eat eggs and young chicks.  Because their nest is under the veranda roof and close to the house, predators tend to avoid it.  Still there are butcher birds, magpies, currawongs,crows and kookaburras to watch out for.  The parents forage continually for food but they’re never far away.  They are honeyeaters and there are plenty of native flowering shrubs nearby and in our backyard to sustain them.

The chicks are almost ready to leave the nest. They’ve progressed rapidly.  They will leave the nest and roost in a nearby tree or shrub, calling to their parents who sweep in and feed them.  One day soon they will fly away.

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 We had a visitor and our dog, Shadow, went off in vollies of barks, running to and fro along the veranda exuberant, excited and noisy.  Mayhem ensued.   One of the chicks panicked and fell out of the nest.  Julie gently swooped it up in a soft cap and placed it back in the nest.  So all was well.

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No surprises.  Today one of the chicks has left the nest.  The one that reached higher when the parents came into feed.  I’m sure it’s the one that fell from the nest the other day. It had been standing up right and stretching its wings for few days. We can hear it calling plaintively.  The parents attention is now divided between the bird in the bush and bird in the nest.

One chick is left and it’s getting anxious. We watch and wait for a few days.  Mum comes in at night and sits the nest.  Baby bird is curious but we’re not certain it’s going to join the sibling just yet.  Parents gently coax and cajole from the sidelines…

So it’s gone.  The parents are still hanging around in the backyard but the babies are not to be seen.  We suspect they are hiding in the thick cover of the golden canes.  This morning two butcher birds swooped into the backyard chasing one of the babies in under the veranda and into the kitchen window with a loud bang.  Baby flew off into the shrubs and eventually the butcher birds left.