On a Serious Note . . .

I don’t usually address controversial or political topics here. I don’t want to deal with confrontation or trolls. I admit I’m a coward despite my strong opinions on some subjects (Yup, more than just about grammar). But this Cecil the lion story has angered me to my soul.

I have no problem with hunting for food–I’ve eaten food that has been hunted or freshly killed–or even to cull a herd for the health of the animals, but to kill something for sport, for a “trophy” is simply wrong. Hanging a dead animal on your wall for a decoration is morbid enough, but to take pleasure in the killing? Isn’t that one of the signs of being a psychopath?

I eat meat, and I see the hypocrisy in my stance. It’s something I’m coming to terms with, albeit slowly. But there is a difference, no matter your stance on food, between killing to eat vs. killing. Killing to eat is natural–animals kill all the time (no one said nature is kind)– and, although there has been evidence of animals killing for sport, it is rare. We humans are at the top of any food chain, not by nature of our strength but by nature of our tools. This alone places a greater moral and ethical responsibility on us. Place us without a weapon against a lion, and I’d wager the lion would win the majority of the time despite our so-called intelligence. But with weapons (and don’t give me the line about bow-hunting; it’s still a weapon meant to kill) humans have all the advantage.

What makes me the angriest is the arrogance. Arrogance that rules don’t apply to me. Arrogance that I’m better than someone or something else. The arrogance that makes someone think that because they can, they will. One of my life tenets is “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” You can speed in your car; you shouldn’t. You can steal from others; you shouldn’t. You can bully someone weaker; you shouldn’t. That’s what this incident is–bullying. Cecil the lion was weaker. He didn’t stand a chance. Not only was he lured out of his safe environment, he suffered for forty hours before being killed. He had a GPS collar on him.

Apparently this dentist has a track record of illegal hunting (He blames his guides because he paid his money and believed everything was legal–ignorantia juris non excusat). But what excuse does he give for hunting a threatened species (technically lions, with the exception of Asian lions, aren’t endangered). We humans have already encroached on, stolen, destroyed, and ruined so many species’ habitats and we haven’t stopped there. We’ve hunted, killed, eaten, or used up many animals to extinction (Just look at the passenger pigeon). I know extinction is a natural process, but not the way we’re doing it. And for those of you thinking that I should feel the same way about human life, I do, but I will also counter by saying we’re not close to being endangered. Except by our own hands after we destroy our world.

I leave you with this:



To Kill a Mockingbird (No, not the book…

…well, yes, the book, but this is my opinion on the “sequel”) In which I give you my take on Go Set A Watchman.

You may read whatever you like. Let me just put that out there. If you are waiting to read Go Set A Watchman, go right ahead. I will not be joining you. First, from everything I’ve read, it’s not clear that Harper Lee actually wants this book published. She’s in a nursing home. Her older sister/lawyer/caretaker/protector died, and SUDDENLY (bad writing form) they’ve found the long lost novel. I don’t trust that version of the story. Second, from what I’ve read, this “second book” is actually the first rejected version or rough draft where you are still figuring out who your characters are, where the story is going and what your theme is. I don’t want to read my own first drafts. They’re that bad. Third, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites. I don’t want to ruin it.

It might be too late.

Whether I read GSAW or not, I know it’s out there and spoils the image of Atticus. I can’t pretend it doesn’t exist when it does. I know, not through first hand knowledge but from critiques and reviews that hero Atticus is no longer a hero. I can’t get that fact out of my head.It’s sort of like the reason I didn’t like the first three (as in episodes, I, II and III) of Star Wars. I already knew that Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader.* Totally spoiled the whole premise for me. It made me not respect Obi Wan as much, and I couldn’t root for Anakin because I knew he was evil (yes, yes, he gets redeemed at the end**, but it took the joy of discovery out of the whole story. I’m not even talking about the whole “too much backstory” aspect. If the book was put out there as an academic study of the evolution of TKAM (which I’m told many people are taking it as), I might have accepted it better, but it’s being marketed as a sequel, so that’s  that.


My dog chewed up this copy of TKAM.

I understand where the publishers are coming from. They’re all about the bottom line. GSAW will earn them a boatload of money. I’ve faced that unforgiving bottom line in my own career (maybe “butted heads against” is a better term than “faced”) and while I don’t agree with the decisions that follow looking only at the unforgiving bottom line, I do understand it. Maybe corporations should put a line in their charters about serving the public good instead of profits, but I get it.

So I’m not reading it. And I’m not sure I can go back to TKAM without prejudice either. I taught that book and it was so lovely. Now it has a bad stench associated with. At least for me. But then again, this is my blog and my opinion. I hope the rest of you aren’t as neurotic as I.


*First, if this was a spoiler, too bad. It’s been common knowledge for decades. Catch up. And second, I misspelled Anakin and didn’t capitalize Darth on the first attempt at typing. They were flagged as incorrect words by spell check. Once I corrected them, they weren’t flagged at all. What does that say about the integration of Star Wars into out culture? Pretty cool, I’d say.

**Really? Watch the damn movies.

Books I’m reading now:

The Lost Key by Catherine Coulter And JT Ellison

Something for writers

I haven’t posted for a while and I’ve been occupied (preoccupied?) with stuff  so I thought I’d pop in a post this handy little chart for writers searching for just the right word:


image by Tom Drummond, North Seattle Community College, in the public domain
image by Tom Drummond, North Seattle Community College, in the public domain

And then there’s this one:


You’re welcome.


Books I’m reading now:

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

The Lost Key by Catherine Coulter and JT Ellison