So the Interwebs is in an uproar against Bob Parsons, the CEO of GoDaddy. Because he posted a video which shows himself and three other big game hunters shooting an elephant, one of three bulls who were destroying a village’s vital crop. PETA are, naturally, very upset. Some people even shame him for vacationing in a poor country who is suffering under a notoriously tyrannical leader*.
I’m upset too.
I’m upset because the death of that elephant has caused so much anger. I’m upset because the death of that animal is being valued above the quality of life and freedoms of those poverty-stricken Zimbabweans, actual human beings who could starve if their cash crop is destroyed. I’m upset because we aren’t recognizing that not only did the death of that animal eliminate a threat to an entire city’s source of income, but it also provided them with meat**. Maybe it’s easy for us Americans as we sit in our nice houses, bellies full, temperature carefully controlled for maximum comfort, as we buy our food from a market which takes us all of five minutes to get to and which requires us to walk maybe 100 steps, from house to car, from car to entrance.
Why don’t we get righteously angry about our government spending millions (billions?) subsidizing high-fructose corn syrup/oil companies/coal companies/other already-filthy-rich companies/people and demand that we help Africa get clean drinking water and basic sanitation? Why doesn’t the free world cry for Mugabe to be deposed? And what about the hungry and poverty stricken in our own country?
If he isn’t already, Parsons—a wealthy man himself—should be helping the people of Zimbabwe in other ways too: donating money for wells, medical supplies, and educational materials, for example. But if the actions of Parsons and his mates—Ian Gloss, Tim Element, and Tony Theiler—depicted and described in that video helped a poor village in Africa—AFRICA, PEOPLE!—survive and fill their bellies, we’re crucifying the wrong guy.
* Why is big game hunting suddenly evil? The rich and powerful have been doing it for centuries, and at least he is targeting problem animals–not completely dissimilar from the problem feral hogs in Missouri.
** Parson’s video is described as graphic for the scenes depicting the Zimbabweans eating the elephant, carcass splayed open so that they might harvest the meat, but I maintain that this is only graphic to those of us who have our food processed for us. Millions of people around the world kill and then dress down their food every day.