Hashtag: Lions, Flags, and Dentists… Oh my!

Lion-2What happened to critical thinking?  “Outrage” over a spoon-fed narrative has become increasingly contagious in this willfully ignorant culture.

Groupthink, powered by the news and social media, has become epidemic.  While on an individual, intellectual basis, most of us would likely agree that what we hear from the media is biased, incomplete, and sometimes intentionally untrue.  Most of us would also agree that the adage, “if it’s on the internet, it must be true” is a sarcastic and sardonic statement.  Yet, a growing percentage of our society is quick to glom on to the cause célèbre based on some viral story on Facebook or the Today Show.  Forget about vetting the story.  Forget about doing a modicum of research on the subject.  Fact-resistance is proudly displayed, while the delusional claim the moral high ground.  These folks gain their significance on the public stage by identifying with a politically-correct position.  “I want to be a part of it… “

Perhaps we should call it “group UNthink.”

If it’s got a hashtag in front of it, then I must join the herd and express my outrage, offense, and disdain for the newly-designated transgression.

Before you pick up pitchforks and mindlessly join the judgement bandwagon… consider seeking understanding and enlightenment.  Try it!  You might like it!  To reject enlightenment is to proudly display stupidity.  It’s almost as if it’s a competition to see who can be the first to claim the moral high ground and be more enraged / offended / aghast / and contemptuous than the others about the social faux pas du jour.

Be vewy, vewy quiet… I’m hunting cavities.

A few weeks ago, it was all about flags.  Now the villain-of-the-month is a dentist!  A wascally dentist!  This week’s story was a two-fer for the agenda-driven media and perfect chum for a feeding frenzy of haters.  Elmer_fuddIf the hunter had been a general contractor, an accountant, engineer, or restauranteur, the headline would have been “American Hunter Kills Lion.”

But, as luck would have it, the hunter happened to be a favorite and perennial fodder for ridicule, contempt, and fear-mongering… a DENTIST.  Every single reporter (almost gleefully) led the story with, “a DENTIST (killed a beloved and majestic lion).”

Those fucking dentists!  They hurt people.  They charge too much.  They don’t care.  They’re assholes.  See?  We need healthcare reform!  This guy isn’t a hunter.  He’s a DENTIST.  And, he killed a beautiful animal (rather than an ugly animal).

It’s the perfect recipe for ginned up outrage.  It even precipitated this article:  Why Dentists Are So Darn Rich.  No shit.  Click it!  This article, so full of fail, assumes that the hunter’s discretionary money spent on his avocation MUST come from his vocation.  If I was to make a similar asinine assumption, I would have concluded that Walmart must pay its employees exceedingly well, since my patient (who is a Walmart stock clerk) spent about $40,000 on fixing his teeth.  Maybe the hunter is a trust fund baby.  Maybe he married a wealthy woman.  Maybe he is the beneficiary of a substantial inheritance.  Maybe… it doesn’t fucking matter (where he got his money)!  Just as it shouldn’t matter that he’s a dentist.  But, it DOES matter, because it serves the agenda that healthcare is “too expensive” and it’s the doctors’ fault.  They must be stopped!  That way we can get our health care entitlement for “free,” and it will save the lions in one fell swoop!

“Facebook is a lens through which we can easily observe the feeding frenzy of enraptured useful idiots at the trough of disinformation.” – Yours truly

Then Facebook blew up with it.  Even my fellow dentists were quick to wish the worst for their colleague.  They hoped he would go out of business.  internet tough guyThey hoped he would die.  They posted memes of lions armed with guns hunting for the dentist.  These are EDUCATED people…  who proudly display their ignorance and their own thirst for blood.  Ironic, eh?

I love the internet and social media.  It brings out the best AND the worst in people.  On the negative side of the equation is this “virtual lynch mob” that anyone can join, even anonymously.  It’s similar to “keyboard commandos” who can be tough guys without having to back it up.

#dentists’ lives matter

piers morgan tweetCelebrities tweeted their demand for the dentist’s head on a pike.  Not the hunter’s head… the DENTIST’S head.   They posted his address online.  PETA called for the hunter’s… er… no… DENTIST’S HANGING.  Hang the DENTIST.  They didn’t call him a hunter.  See for yourself by clicking the link.

The Cobra Effect

Reality is often counter-intuitive, and good intentions often lead to unintended consequences.  A story goes that there was a problem with poisonous cobras in a region of India.  The government decided that a way to control the cobra population was to offer a bounty for each dead cobra.  People hunted them and turned them in for cash.  Then some enterprising folks decided to breed them (and turn them in for cash).  The government got wind of this scheme and terminated the bounty program.  The breeders, naturally cut their now worthless cobras loose, and the result was MORE cobras.

Reality?  Check, please!

The reality is that big game hunters have done more for endangered wildlife preservation than all the self-righteous animal charities combined.  Permits to hunt some species go for as high as $350,000.


According to a 2005 paper by Nigel Leader-Williams and colleagues in the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy the answer is yes. Leader-Williams describes how the legalization of white rhinoceros hunting in South Africa motivated private landowners to reintroduce the species onto their lands. As a result, the country saw an increase in white rhinos from fewer than one hundred individuals to more than 11,000, even while a limited number were killed as trophies.

White RhinoAs distasteful as it may seem to some… Big game hunting is what has SAVED many endangered species.  If the big money from big game hunting goes away, the African preserves – with armed guards (who WILL shoot poachers) standing watch over elephants, lions, giraffes, and rhinos – will be GONE.  There is a HUGE appetite for rhino parts in Asia.  A rhino horn goes for $300,000 on the black market.  Can we say “black market” now?  And, none of that $300,000 goes to support wildlife preserves.  If the armed guards go away, the lions, elephants, and rhinos will disappear.  GONE.  Guaranteed.  The real poachers will be free to wipe them out.  Tiger penis soup anyone?

I’m a dentist lover, not a hunter hater.

Sorry, but this meme totally cracks me up!

Sorry, but this meme totally cracks me up!

I am not a hunter.  It’s just not my thing.  And, I’m not defending “trophy hunting.”  But, I will not join the lynch mob mentality that has become pervasive in this mindless culture that suckles at the teat of the media.  However, I UNDERSTAND (not the same as endorse) the realities, the economy, and long-term outcomes of the big game hunting industry.  I understand because I CHOOSE to vet the facts for myself.  In my opinion, the behavior of many of my friends is disappointing.  To vacuously besmirch this man (and call for his demise), resulting in the loss of his business, the loss of jobs (his staff) and the cascade of misfortune that follows is despicable.

I don’t mind if someone is innocently ignorant on a subject.  But, I cannot respect willful ignorance.  A person capable of critical thought can learn something new and admit, “Gosh… I didn’t know / realize that.  I will have to rethink my position on this.”  On the other hand, politically-correct conformists faced with previously unknown facts which contradict their emotionally-held position will get a case of the “Yeah-buts.”  “Yeah, but… killing a beautiful animal is just wrong (and the dentist should go out of business and be hanged).”  What about the ugly animals???

All right… I have donned my asbestos suit.  So, go for it (in your comments below)!  But, I expect you to have FACTS at your disposal.  References, please.  On an emotional basis, I think lions are beautiful, too.  And, I wouldn’t shoot one… even though I’m an evil dentist.  But, I revel in facts that can be backed up.  And, the truth is that hunters have saved many of these beautiful species.  I personally know two big game hunters (neither is a dentist, but one is a patient), and their knowledge of wildlife and respect for the conservation is impressive.  Have you had patients bring this up?  How have you responded?

Edit to add:  For another more recent example of groupthink and ginned up outrage:  All Aboard the Righteous Indignation Train!

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68 Responses to Hashtag: Lions, Flags, and Dentists… Oh my!

  1. When I was growing up in NYC years ago…newspapers were criticized for leading a story with race. Eventually all media stopped using race to identify a perp. Today we have to wait for a visual to answer that question (which everyone asks anyway). When the Cecil story broke, just as you said, it broke with the label…American dentist. Then the mob took over.
    Great post.

  2. Michael Nugent says:

    SPOT ON!!!!!!!!

    Great BLOG article.

  3. Matt McGee says:

    As someone who has spent a lot of time photographing wildlife, my outrage comes from the fact that trophy hunters feel the need to kill these animals. When I dive a place like Cocos Island in Costa Rica, I pay park fees that help protect the endangered shark species that live there. The animals are photographed and get to live. Why can’t trophy hunters do the same? Yes some, like a recent post about a rhino that was old and going to be shot anyway, are justified, but many are not. I believe that the general public can not comprehend why someone would kill for “sport”, and then say they are conservationists. And what about all those canned hunts? South Africa has a big problem with those places where you get to play with lion cubs. The only problem is that when the Cubs grow up they get sold, and the people who buy them sometimes let them be a part of a canned hunt.
    So while I believe that trophy hunting is wrong, the real problem I have with this instance is that the lion was lured out of a protected area. And then, after they found out the lion had a gps collar, they tried to hide the evidence. They knew they fucked up, but the next day he asked the guides if they could go find some elephants to kill.
    I think you makes some good points about groupthink, and the death threats against this guy are out of line.
    As an animal lover, I think that this very public exposure of trophy hunting was just an opportunity to release a lot of pent up frustration about this behavior. The public took this opportunity to pounce on this guy and release their frustration on him.
    Finally, why do the animals have to die? Again, I’ve paid lots of park fees to be able to interact with animals, AND NOT KILL THEM!! These animals are worth more alive than dead because it allows for repeat business. This trophy hunting bullshit is selfish and sadistic, and psychotic at worst. But that’s just my opinion, and as a dentist, I’m pretty sure that’s not worth much

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Do you believe that the fees collected from photographers and other tourists, alone, would be enough to support the wildlife preserves? Yeah… I’m betting the photographers aren’t paying $50,000 – $350,000 for a photo permit. The bottom line is the bottom line, and the hunters are bringing the real money (that is NEEDED to preserve these species and protect them from the REAL poachers who contribute NOTHING). I don’t think your position accounts for the financial magnitude of the hunting industry. The other sources are a pittance by comparison, and not nearly enough to support the conservation effort.

      I respect anyone’s belief that trophy hunting is wrong. No problem with that at all. Personally, I’m not suggesting it’s right or wrong. I’m simply pointing out that fact that hunting is THE reason these animals still walk on this planet. White Rhinos were down to LESS than 100… until legitimate hunters brought the numbers UP to 11,000. It wasn’t photographers (and I am one). Nobody else did it. Like it or not… such are facts.

      • Matt McGee says:

        Let’s pic that mic back up. Do you really believe that “hunting is THE reason these animals still walk on this planet.” I’ve been well aware that a portion of fees from hunts go to conservation, so that’s not a bombshell for me. I get it. But do you really believe that the people who pay those fees are that concerned with the animals’ well being? I would argue that the only reason they want to conserve animals is so that there will be more for them to kill in the future. Additionally, hunting is a million dollar business, while eco tourism is a billion dollar business. So the hunters write a bigger individual check, but all those nickel and dimes from the tourists add up. Are you insinuating that the many conservation groups and all those tourists contribute almost nothing to those lions being able to “still walk on this planet”? Really?! Hunters contribute, but are not THE reason.
        So while I in no way dispute your stating the fact (yes I said fact) that hunters contribute to conservation efforts, I question their motives for doing so. My problem with all this is the behavior of killing for fun and then gloating about it. I have a problem with this. Killing an animal so they can put its head on the wall is despicable behavior. I believe that the people who do this are selfish, elitist, and egotistical. Again, they don’t care about nature or the well being of animals, it’s all about having more to kill in the future. I believe that I’m not alone in believe this, thus the justice mob online this week (which by the way needs to tone it down.)
        I mean, doesn’t anyone see the irony (hypocrisy) of contributing to the conservation of an animal that you enjoy killing? Please explain this to me. It’s akin to paying the rent at a brothel so you can go back and have a place to… well, you know. It’s basically paying to ensure the future of your hobby which, while legal within certain guidelines, is morally reprehensible to many. How many of these hunters have contributed anything other than their money?
        BTW Mike, I’m with you on gun rights, so please don’t think this is an attack on any of that. I personally only have one, but don’t take away my right to get more.
        While I agree with your FACT that hunters contribute to conservation, it’s hardly worthy of a mic drop, as there are many other FACTS concerning this issue. Tourism safaris are a year round industry employing more people than hunts. Typical safaris require more support staff simply because the volume is much higher. My understanding is that hunting is allowed for many but not all months of the year. Safaris are year round. Corruption is another issue here. Where does all of that $50,000 go?
        I believe that any conservation efforts by trophy hunters are outweighed by the moral, ethical, and social issues associated with this activity.

        • The Dental Warrior says:

          You think hunting is “despicable behavior.” You believe hunters are “gloating.” So, you have attached YOUR OWN EMOTIONS to their actions. “Selfish, elitist, egotistical”… all pejoratives laced with emotion. Furthermore, you declared, “the don’t care about nature or the well being of animals.” You can apparently remotely divine their intent and motivations. So, there is no way to have a rational discussion based on logic and facts, when you’re using emotions.

          I am not a hunter. So, I’ve got “no dog in this fight.” But, I’ve certainly known MANY hunters. I had a big game hunter as a patient just last week. He goes to Africa to hunt big game. Having spoken to him about it, I’d put him up against you and just about anyone else when it comes to knowledge and concern about wildlife. Dude knows his stuff. He has to. A funny (or not so funny) example he told me. My patient has had to climb trees to avoid charging rhinos. A white rhino will charge at you as a bluff and then keep going. A black rhino will charge you and then stop to WAIT for you to come out of the tree! I thought that was interesting.

          There are multiple organizations and researchers that disagree with your position that hunters (and their efforts) are not THE reason for the mere existence of some African species today. My writing claiming that to be the case was not conjecture nor hyperbole. It IS fact. I did post one brief excerpt from one reference (in the box). There are plenty more, if you care to enlighten yourself.

          Again, my intent here isn’t to mount some sort of argument to convince those are categorically opposed to hunting that they should change their minds. That would be an exercise in futility. The point of this article is to advocate for critical thinking. It also expresses my own contempt for those who jump to conclusions (eschewing critical thought) and call for the demise of an man accused by a fickle lynch mob expressing their OWN bloodlust for a fellow HUMAN. Quite ironic and hypocritical.

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Mike, I read the article you linked as a reference for your suggestion that “the reality is” The article is anything but a verification that wealthy big game hunters are doing more for conservation than other groups. It poses the question and gives some soft evidence without any financial tracking…just numbers of animals. That is like s as since the no. of caries in children covered by dental ins. has decreased, the reality is that dental insurance companies have done more for children’s dental health than any other group. In fact this kind of reminds me of the ADA being heavily supported by the ins companies….

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Typo. Is like saying

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            There are bunches of other articles and references out there that agree. I’ve glanced at / scanned them. Admittedly, I am far too busy (and lazy) to turn this into a referenced article worthy of peer review. So, I didn’t list everything I found.

            Don’t believe a word I say… do your own homework. Do SOME homework… which is more than millions of people who joined the virtual lynch mob did.

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Mike, Like I said. I read your reference. Your conclusions are your own. The author drew no such conclusions. I had also scanned other articles as well, none of which drew firm conclusions in regard to conservation efforts for endangered species and legalized hunting of these. It’s an open question in every article I have read (including the one you posted). None confirm your assertion. May I suggest that you have just a tiny bit of confirmation bias going on? ( due to the fact that the supposed “perp” in this Cecil story happens to be a dentist). Donning my asbestos suit also. But honestly, I do not have time to research the facts in regard to conservation efforts and results there of any more than the opinion pieces (articles) out there.
            Thanks for getting the discussion going.

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            The point is to do your own research. Furthermore, the notion of hunters being the largest conservation group is nothing new. It’s not only true in Africa, it’s true here in the U.S. Hunters have a VESTED interest in preserving their hobby. If they kill off all the ________s, there will be no ________s to hunt. It’s true whether it’s American Big Horn Sheep or African lions, rhinos, and gazelles.

            I understand that there is controversy. The point is that the virtual (and non-virtual) lynch mob spontaneously formed by MILLIONS of UNthinking morons who just reflexively jump on the band wagon. And, that includes some of my very intelligent friends. They just assumed the news story was true and glommed on to the cause celebre. It gives them perceived significance in the world to be “a part of it.”

            I disagree with your assertion that none of the articles and research that PLAINLY state that hunting contributes positively to wildlife conservation “do not confirm.” Well, “confirm” is a strong / absolute word. And, if you are biased against hunting (but hypocritically eat meat), then you’re going to make the claim that these articles don’t say what they say. Confirmation bias, it’s called.

            I am truly not biased one way or the other. I don’t hunt. I’ve never hunted. I have no interest in ever hunting. I’m not against hunting, nor am I for it. It would appear that you are anti-hunting. And, that’s fine. But, it influences your perception of things. Since I don’t really care one way or the other (I really, really don’t), I am free to observe and gather information without the burden of bias.

            What I find frightening is the predominance of mindless people who are quick to condemn another human and literally wish and CALL for his demise. You want him to go out of business. You effectively wish harm to his family, employees, and friends. I think it’s shameful the way nearly everyone was so quick to judge…. with ZERO information. ZERO. The media’s “information” does not count one whit.

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Mike, contribute some positives.. sure! I don’t dispute that. The US is much different than Africa (economy, governance, etc.). My point is that the “positive” contributions in Africa are yet unclear and I remain unconvinced. You aggressively stated that the conservation contributions are more than all other efforts combined. I did read several articles related to African large game hunting (endangered species) and remain unconvinced that legalized hunting has dome more for conservation than all other efforts combined. I can’t copy & paste as your site does not not allow right clicking… I will try to transcribe the link. http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/big-game-hunting.html#cr

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            I am not anti-hunting and I do eat meat. I have been hunting myself and have eaten wild game. I am anti-canned hunting, anti-semi-legal hunting, anti-hunting just for the thrill of the kill, anti-hunting of endangered species. We are part of the animal kingdom.

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            So, it’s “OK” only if you eat them. Got it.

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            So, you disagree that the population of white rhinos went from less than 100 to 11,000 as a result of preservation efforts spurred on by hunting (especially by private land being used for reservations)? Mmmm-kay. If so, who do you think is responsible for the comeback of the rhino? Who did it, if it wasn’t hunting? The WWF? Green Peace? The local African countries (with all their “wealth”)??? LOL!

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            From the Federal Wildlife Service:

            Each year, nearly $200 million in hunters’ federal excise taxes are distributed to State agencies to support wildlife management programs, the purchase of lands open to hunters, and hunter education and safety classes. Proceeds from the Federal Duck Stamp, a required purchase for migratory waterfowl hunters, have purchased more than five million acres of habitat for the refuge system (2005 statistics only); lands that support waterfowl and many other wildlife species, and are usually open to hunting. http://www.fws.gov/hunting/whatdo.html

            By way of contrast, the famous World Wildlife Fund spent $224MM in 2014 on “programs” WORLDWIDE. I have not been able to find what they spend here in the U.S. https://www.worldwildlife.org/about/financials

            From the State of Michigan’s website (http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10370_12141-294259–,00.html)

            Hunters pay for the bulk of wildlife conservation across the country through the Pittman-Robertson Act, or PR. Established in 1937, this act created an excise tax on guns, ammunition, bows, arrows and other hunting-related equipment. This money is then apportioned to state wildlife agencies based on the land area and the number of licensed hunters of each state. These funds are matched by state hunting license fees. PR ensures that money from hunting license sales can only be used for wildlife management – for projects such as conducting research, wildlife reintroductions and improving wildlife habitat. These projects benefit a wide range of species, including animals that aren’t hunted. In Michigan, hunters pay for approximately 80 percent of the Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife management.

            And on and on and on. The pitchfork and torch set (most of whom enjoy a good steak) not only don’t seem to know this… they REFUSE to know it. They just think hunting is yucky, and they don’t want to see or hear about it. But, it’s OK for their steak to come from a slaughterhouse (that doesn’t post on FB).

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Mike…. U.S. Is not Zimbabwe. We are mebers of Duck Unlimited and contribute to these funds, even though we do not hunt any more. I know all that. But thanks. 🙂

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Also there are some people…like “Walter” that neglect to contribute… fishing without a license… kind of says something about his character there.

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            Google “tu quoque.” 🙂

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            Thank you master of the obvious.

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Getting too scrunched so am replying here. No Mike, I do not disagree with the numbers. Are you intentionally missing my points in an effort to get me riled up? You are not listening to me. One species, in one area. And what about those numbers of white rhinos? Do know how many white rhinos are left in the world today? And why? 🙂

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Wow. This subject has you riled up. It seems to me that your high emotions connected with this subject are linked to the fact that Walter happens to be a dentist. What gives? Why do you feel the need/urge to belittle me? I am confused. Thanks.

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            I think it’s hilarious that you think I’m “riled up.” Project much? LOL! To be VERY clear… I am not “riled up” nor “worked up.” I could not give one shit about Cecil the lion. I wrote this blog article as an observer of human behavior. This is nothing more than an intentional self-distraction, as I have MUCH bigger fish to fry. But, I admit to enjoying stirring the pot.

            If you feel belittled, it can only be because you have reflected on what you’ve said. You keep helping me make my points (which is to highlight the widespread irrational behavior of those who have glommed on to the Cecil cause). 🙂

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Mike you asked for links countering your argumentbut apparently don’t read them. It’s really difficult to provide links BTW as your site does not allow copy/paste. Too time consuming for me try to balance your one-sided viewpoint. It seems you really don’t want any other “facts” posted other than those you present. NO big deal; It’s your blog. I was just trying to contribute, not argue. 🙂

  4. Tony says:

    It’s not about the profession. It”s about the slaughter.

  5. Steffany says:

    I’m an evil dentist too, and I don’t hunt, either. I don’t agree with what he did, but I’ve spent the week in horror of what has happened in the media and at his office. To make a human being go into hiding and close his business because of hate is just wrong. People do things that they later regret – every.single.one of us regrets something! I sure hope no one ever gets the chance to judge me in such a horrific, public way. Again, I don’t agree with him, but I have never been appointed judge and jury, nor do I want that responsibility. Thanks for the great perspective, as always.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Right on, Steffany! I’m stunned at how reflexively people will assume the worst… and believe whatever the media feeds them, especially when it advances the narrative / agenda.

      • Matt McGee says:

        I agree. Obviously, I despise what this guy did, but what about all the others before him? Death threats?! No, that’s pushing it too far.
        My hope is that this will spark a conversation about trophy hunting that will end it.

        • The Dental Warrior says:

          Law of unintended consequences. Ending trophy hunting (which won’t happen) would have multiple unintended negative consequences. In a few weeks, the virtual lynch mob will have moved on to the next villain or “outrageous” issue.

  6. Ronnie yap says:

    Thanks for a factual review.

  7. jBear says:

    I am a dental lab owner. I have my own reasons for having a love / hate relationship with some dentists. 😉
    But that is “inside baseball”.
    I agree with you 100%, Mike! While the lab forums are lit up with self-righteous lab techs saying they wouldn’t work for this guy, I frankly would. (Provided he was a fair minded, generally good dentist.) nothing in the published news reports say anything about his character as a dentist, his track record, his satisfied patients who love him.
    No – we are given a cardboard cutout of a straw man to shoot holes into.

    It’s a sad day indeed!

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Good on ya, jBear! I wouldn’t work with a lab that would join the virtual lynch mob so readily. So, there! 😉

  8. jenny says:

    I love most dentists, but I do not want any destroyed. They work long hard hours, they give to all sorts of programs for the needy. The dentist would not have been to a foreign country to hunt if it were not legal. Cecil is not a person, its an animal. We eat animals, they are hunted for sport. That’s why the gov’t sells hunting license. Give the hunter a break. He did everything legal. Just because, you don’t believe in hunting doesn’t make it wrong. I don’t own a gun or hunt but guess what??? I think everyone that wants a gun should own one. I don’t like spinach, anything green to eat, but I believe you should eat what you want or not. It’s call freedom, freedom, freedom, and I call that America. Now, quit beating the dentists. He who is without sin cast the first stone please. I’m glad I got my teeth. Thank you dentists. Yes, I paid you, but I didn’t expect you to work for free. Why, because I want to get paid when I work too.

  9. Kendell says:

    Thanks for putting the mixture of thoughts I’ve been having on this topic into words so well. In regards to the hunting topic, I dont hunt or even own a gun. I have A LOT of friends who do and after talking with them over the years I still can’t comprehend why they love it so much. That doesn’t mean I think they’re misguided evil-doers. It’s not a black and white topic like so many people are making it out to be. So many are so quick to judge something they know very little about.
    Even NPR had a clip about how people in Africa feel. Many were surprised at the response the icident had generated and lamented that there wasn’t similar outrage and call for action over the poverty and dismal living conditions that many African children face on a daily basis.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Good point, Kendell. It’s more compelling and palatable to rally for cute furry animals than the rather uncomfortable image of millions of starving children (and adults) in Africa.

  10. JohntheGoatherder says:

    Whine, whine, whine, bitch, bitch, bitch! It’s so hard being a dentist! Nobody loves us! Try being a lawyer, asshole!

    Look, this whole thing and the media coverage around it has jack to do with this guy’s profession, though I expect that the average income for a dentist is substantially above that of the median. I would hope so, after all that education. But the problem with this guy is not his profession. It is that he is a rich American who is paying lots and lots of money to blow away a protected species. I am not a hunter, but I have no problem with my former neighbors and friends in Wisconsin who would go out every fall to blow away Bambi. If they didn’t, Bambi and his cousins would overpopulate, eat all available vegetation, and die of starvation, but not before wandering in front of my car on a dark night in the middle of nowhere. Big game hunting is clearly not the same thing. Cecil the lion was not going to wander in front of someone’s car. As a matter of fact, left alone, he would never have left the game preserve where he was safe. The fact that this guy cheated, and that he has been charged with cheating in the past makes it hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. That is why he is being attacked by lots of people, including dentists.

    Obviously, death threats are out of line. But boycotting the business of someone who one thinks has acted immorally is not a bad thing to do. People do it all the time. If it costs his employees jobs, that is a side-effect of working for a scoundrel. I expect that your practice or anyone else’s would suffer if you did something notorious.

    As for your comments about hunters keeping animals alive, do you have anything to back that up, or is it just something you read on the internet, so it must be true? From what I have seen, most countries with lots of wildlife make much more on ecotourism than they do on hunting permits. And zoos and the like do far more for conservation. I am more or less agnostic on the idea of big game hunting. I do not like it, do not plan on trying it, and wonder why someone needs to find out which rhinos will wait for you to get out of a tree. But it is not high on my list of issues. But even big game hunters are mad at this guy. When even your friends think you fucked up in a big way, perhaps it is not someone else’s fault that your business is taking a hit.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Your comment got held up by the spam filter. I decided to approve your tirade for public viewing.

      LOL! Did I complain about it being hard to be a dentist? Where did you see “whining?” I’m making observations. Any perceived “whining” would only be an example of psychological projection. But, since you opened with ad hominem, it only makes sense that you’re an attorney. 😉

      As for my statements about hunting being a CRITICAL support of the endangered species, you asked for references. Did you not see the one I posted? This isn’t a peer-reviewed article. So, I wasn’t going to make the effort to provide a litany of references. But, Google is your friend. There are tons of such references highlighting the role of hunting in species preservation and even in the proliferation of some previously endangered species (like the rhino).

      I did not express any opposition to boycotting a business whose owner behaves in ways you don’t approve. However, boycotting isn’t what happened to the doctor. The front door of his office was defaced with calls for his demise. His office was blockaded by protesters. The man isn’t likely foolish enough to try to walk through the gauntlet of nutjobs holding signs saying he should die for his transgressions.

      Whether the hunt was done ethically or legally… WE DON’T KNOW. You’re an admitted attorney… Do you believe the initial reports were accurate? Remember they said the lion, wounded with an arrow, was tracked for 40 hours and then shot in the head. Dramatic, emotionally-tinged imagery, eh? Now they’re saying the lion was finished off with another arrow, not a gunshot to the head. Dead is dead, to be sure. But, it goes to demonstrate that the media either willfully and / or ignorantly misreport stories. To wit… “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” became a national rallying cry based on a completely fabricated narrative. And, even after the truth came out, they stuck to the misguided mantra.

      I’m assuming nothing. But, a majority of the mindless virtual lynch mob have jumped to conclusions based on very limited information. That is the entire point of my article. Thanks for reading it.

  11. JohntheGoatherder says:

    You spent FIVE PARAGRAPHS bitching about how this guy is being picked on just because he is a dentist, how his occupation would not be mentioned if it were anything else, how everybody thinks dentists are mean, and some dumb comments about health care. You specifically claim that his profession provides “the agenda-driven media with a two-fer,” suggesting that the media for the most part are positively hostile to your profession, and cannot wait for an opportunity to denounce it. If that is not whining, I do not know what is.

    There is no evidence that the shooter’s occupation has anything to do with how the story was reported. I for one have seen no articles suggesting that his choice of profession made him more likely than not to engage in sadistic activities or anything else of that nature. If it is relevant at all, it is probably relevant because dentists are more likely than most to have enough disposable income to take an African safari. Again, you might know a guy who works at Wal-Mart who did, but that is not the norm. And it would be hard to debate that dentists as a group do not make significant money. That is part of what attracts people to the profession.

    And yep, people react in crazy ways. It is not nice to threaten to kill somebody or to deface their property. It is however perfectly morally acceptable to hold up a sign in front of their place of work, denouncing their activities. Of course, if you were to hold up a sign accusing someone of being a child molester with nothing to support the accusation, you would lead yourself open for a claim of defamation. That is not what happened here. And yes, there are people overreacting. People should not be calling for his head or destroying his office. But do you suppose the dentists who post pictures of lions hunting him down with guns are serious? Personally, I enjoy calling up the National Redneck Association every now and then and telling them I support the right to arm bears, but I do not think I strike fear into their hearts.

    It also does not seem that judgments are being made based upon rumor and little information. On the contrary. Of course there are probably still details in dispute. What does not seem to be disputed at all is that the lion was lured off of a game reservation to an area where it was possible to kill him. That part is pretty important. Here is one thing attorneys know that the rest of the public seems to mysteriously unable to comprehend sometimes – There is a difference between finding someone guilty in a court of law and making a judgment about that person’s behavior. Remember O.J.? Sure, most people think he did it. Not a few lawyers, myself included, think he should have been acquitted, not because he was innocent, but because it was difficult to conclude that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That does not mean that those same lawyers thought he didn’t do it. Bill Cosby has not been convicted of anything, and I think it is a pretty good bet that at least some of the accusations against him are unfounded. But add all the recent allegations to the long-standing rumors of his behavior among the entertainment industry, and most people will be pretty comfortable in concluding he is not the nice Dr. Huxtable. (Unless the agenda-driven media has something against obstetricians.) So no, Porter has not been convicted of a crime. Perhaps if he were tried in the U.S. he would not be. (God only knows what happens in Zimbabwe.) But there is plenty of information available, much of it uncontraverted, for the average person to make a judgment about whether he acted badly or not, and most people conclude, quite reasonably, that he did. If you add that to his dubious history of run-ins with the law and his partaking in an activity that many people find distasteful even when it is properly done, it is not surprising that his business is hurting. Sucks to be him.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      My spam filter doesn’t like you. 🙂

      Bitching? Yeah… Mmm-kay.

      I didn’t read the rest of your rant, but I’m letting it through anyway. Paragraphs, dude… paragraphs are your friend.

  12. JohntheGoatherder says:

    I call ’em as I see ’em. In four paragraphs. You spent five bitching about how people are mean to dentists.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Really? I said they were “mean?” You saw that? You call them as you see them… Where did you see that? Rhetorical question.

      Google “psychological projection.”

      You’re doing the legal profession proud! Whoops! Was that “mean?”

  13. Susan Vadnais says:

    Watched Schindler’s List last night. Makes Cecil’s murder look like someone accidentally killing a bug the was in his path while drving a rescued turtle with a crack in his shell to the veterinarian’s place across town…. and people going nuts over the inhumanity, and outraged over our dwindling mosquito population and how it will affect our exotic bird population.

  14. JohntheGoatherder says:

    “The hunter happened to be a favorite for contempt, ridicule, and fear mongering, a DENTIST!” Sounds to me pretty much like a dentist whining that people are mean to members of his profession. I could add more, but your page will not let me cut and paste, and I am unwilling to copy it all down. But you whine for about five paragraphs. It must suck to be you, too.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      “Mean” is simply not a word an articulate adult uses. But, you’re done here, troll. For the record, it’s awesome to be me. Ask anyone who knows me! 😉

  15. Brian K. Van Netta, DDS says:

    Holy cow! I’ve been trying to keep up with your last exchange with Susan and I literally
    developed a torsion of my left testicle. You both make some good points. But this is a
    good example of our human nature in that neither of you will most likely sway the other with your reasoned arguments. Just like no one can change the mindset of a surly crowd, or how certain members of society feel about dentists. It is what it is. That poor doctor’s fate was sealed the second the ink was dry on the check he wrote for this hunt.

    It may not be right, but he is not the first and it is guaranteed he will not be the last. What happened to Jesus was worse, but never-the-less a good example of crowd dynamics. Don’t let yourselves get so worked up as it only serves to incinerate your stomach lining and gives people like John the Goat Herder undeserved amusement.

    Now, let’s get back to some good dental stuff! Peace out.

    • Susan Vadnais says:

      Thanks Brian. I am not worked up over this subject. I am just trying to have a discussion. I have always respected Mike for refraining from ad hominen remarks and belittling those that only want to have an even-handed and respectful conversation. I am surprised by his responses toward me (sort of). I have come to the conclusion that Mike has little respect for me or for my input. Too bad for him. 🙂

      • Susan Vadnais says:

        And I agree with you Brian. The poor doctor’s fate was sealed when he signed on for the hunt. “We” (bystanders) are not responsible for the outcome, unless we are one of those that are actively harassing the “poor” Dr., calling “for his head” and/or lobbying for tighter standards and controls in regard to big game hunting in Africa. The media frenzy has certainly opened my eyes to the “trophy” hunting industry in Africa and worldwide, poaching of endangered species, and how “well” regulated/addressed these phenomenon are in 2015. Was not much on my “care” list until Mike brought it up on his blog.

        • The Dental Warrior says:

          Bystanders??? You may not be at his doorstep. But, many have joined the cause in social media. It fans the flames. It may seem vicarious, but it has an effect. The media frenzy doesn’t open eyes. It just fosters more frenzy… because 99%-ish of what the media reports is speculative at best, fallacious at worst. But, that’s “good enough” for the keyboard commandos.

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            LOL. Well Mike, count your SELF as one of those fanning the flames by bringing it up on your blog. I would not be discussing this if not for your blog. We hardly batted an eye in our family, but none of us are dentists. So I guess when you wrote the blog piece you were only pretending to be worked up. My bad. Glad to help distract you from yourself for awhile, but I have bigger fish to fry. Literally. $16 permit for our unguided wilderness canoe trip. BWCA. Ciao

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            I’m fanning a different (and more productive, I hope) flame. 🙂 I’m not calling for him to be drawn and quartered like the pitchfork and torch set. I’m calling for people to THINK (before acting or mouthing off).

            No pretending. I’m simply not worked up. Really! I’m not. LOL! I’m a writer. Writers use words like paint on a canvas. My goal is to get others worked up (and maybe think a little differently). Really! It is! 🙂

            Have fun on the canoe trip! 🙂

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Thanks Mike. We will have fun. Misinterpreting my posts and throwing them back in my face may be entertaining for you, but it does NOTHING positive for your cause (at least from my standpoint). In fact, it helps me understand the A-hole remark from Goatherder George, the lawyer or whoever the heck he is/was. I am not projecting myself onto you or whatever it is that you think, but I do not have time nor the interest to debate these points. I was just trying to have a friendly discussion and started to realize that you were going to dig into me (admonish my views) whether or not I eat meat, have or haven’t hunted, or have any opinion whatsoever about Walter, the wealthy trophy hunter. He’s in the news and it ain’t my fault. It ain’t my fault he’s a dentist. It ain’t my fault that he killed a lion. If you want honesty from contributors to your blog, it would be helpful if you treated us with some respect. I have to tell you, it was hurtful to be ridiculed as I thought we were on friendly terms.

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            I have not judged your views. I understand that some find hunting deplorable. And, I accept their opinion of hunting. I’ve got no problem with it. But, I can’t help wonder if they are vegans, too. That would be consistent. If they saw how cows and chickens are slaughtered, some… SOME might change their minds. But, I also understand humans are, by nature, inconsistent. Nevertheless, I can’t help pointing out those inconsistencies when someone is arguing arduously against some particular person’s activities.

            I am truly ambivalent about hunting. I’m neither for it or against it. As for this guy’s WAY of hunting… I have decided (long ago) not to believe everything (or anything) the media puts out. The vast majority of it is extremely biased (at best), misinformation, or DISinformation. And, as could be expected, the murky details of this story have changed multiple times.

            I’m very much a “meat-a-tarian.” I went vegan for about 9 months several years ago. It was TOUGH (for me). It was a LOT of work. And, I got REALLY bored with salads. I don’t like tofu. And, I don’t like weird, jelly-like textured items that are supposed to “look” and “taste” like meat. They don’t! LOL! Nasty stuff (IMO). I toughed it out for 9 months and then bailed.

            They’re still referring to this hunter as “the dentist” in the news. He’s not a hunter. He’s a dentist… who killed Cecil the Lion.

            It’s also interesting that when a human shoots a lion in Africa, they blame the human. But, when a human shoots another human here in the U.S., they blame the gun. Just more inconsistencies. They’re everywhere! 🙂

            PS… you accused me of ad hominem (when I did no such thing). However, you indirectly called me an asshole. More inconsistencies, eh? The good news is that it doesn’t bother me a bit. 🙂

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Having a little trouble with your reading comprehension Mike. Never accused you of ad hominen. Never called you an a-hole directly or indirectly. My point was, I was starting to understand Goatherder’s viewpoint in regard to dentists (you included) having a fit about being portrayed negatively in the news because one of their own was doing something that many Americans deplore. Of course the lash-back is everyone else’s fault but the “poor ” dentist’s. I do not condone the behavior of those that call for the dentist’s head, etc. It’s deplorable. That said, the trophy hunter happened to be a wealthy, American dentist. He could have been a wealthy anybody and he would have gotten the same/similar blow back from the public. jmho

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            But, when you toss up a Red Herring (Zimbabwe isn’t the U.S.), because I used a documented example of hunting=conservation in the U.S…. yeah… I’m going to go sarcastic on you (the master of the obvious wisecrack). 😛 😀

          • Susan Vadnais says:

            Red herring? Nope. Point was, you are comparing apples to oranges. We do not hunt lions, and we have more transparency as to where the $ goes in regard to hunting and conservation efforts. Governance in Zimbabwe is almost completely opaque compared to the U.S. Selected statistics can be used to bolster any argument and easily so when 3/4 or more of the other pertinent facts are left out. Yes (and I realize this is the same thing you are saying about Walter…we know only a few facts and some people start calling for his head).

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hahaha…. I am not even remotely “worked up.” I am simply curious and stunned at how “reasonable” and “intelligent” people are so quick to glom on to a “cause” that calls for harming a person without due process or any vetting of the accusations or story. It’s simply “in fashion” to join the cause celebre, and that’s “good enough” to these folks.

      I’m not worked up. I’m disappointed. But, at this point, given the trends in our society, I shouldn’t be surprised.

      But, being articulate and having writing skills does not equate to “worked up.” However, if my writing has “worked up” other people, then “mission accomplished!” 😀 Stirring the pot is one of my goals!

  16. The Dental Warrior says:

    According to NBC this morning, hunting contributes $100MM to the economy in Zimbabwe.

    • Susan Vadnais says:

      Having a little trouble with your reading comprehension Mike. Never accused you of ad hominen. Never called you an a-hole directly or indirectly. My point was, I was starting to understand Goatherder’s viewpoint in regard to dentists “seemingly throwing a written fit” about being portrayed negatively in the news because one of their own was doing something that many Americans deplore. Of course the lash-back is everyone else’s fault but the “poor ” dentist’s. I do not condone the behavior of those that call for the dentist’s head, etc. It’s deplorable. That said, the trophy hunter happened to be a wealthy, American dentist. He could have been a wealthy anybody and he would have gotten the same/similar blow back from the public. jmho

    • Susan Vadnais says:

      Sounds impressive until you look at the details. According to 2011 stats, 16.6% of Zimbabwe national territory is dedicated to big game hunting while it contributes to only 0.29% of it GDP. According to NPR (2015, all of Africa), tourism brings in 13 to 15 times the revenue that BGH does. Factor into the 2011 stats for Zimbabwe the amount of illegal activity that “SOME” of the big game hunting businesses get away with. This may matter to conservation groups that are working alongside hunting orgs in good faith to keep the animal & numbers “healthy”… don’t ya think? According to NPR only 3-5% of the revenue generated by BGH actually makes it to the people on the ground… you know, the cute little kids you posted dancing to having lion meat to eat because of the good Dr. Do Little (do little to actually benefit the hungry), as reported that Cecil’s carcass was left to rot on the landowner’s property. Just stirring the pot a little for ya, Mikey.

      • Susan Vadnais says:

        Not calling a ban to trophy hunting (I don’t care). Just letting you know that most people are just fine with viewing and not killing large “exotic” animals to adorn their trophy rooms. For the amount of money that BGH generates, and where the money really goes…. is it really that important to the average Zimbabwean? Personally, I do not know the answer but my guess is inclined to be a “not really that important.”

  17. The Dental Warrior says:

    OK… this is so “wrong,” but it made me laugh out loud. (Hat tip to “Uncle” Ted Nugent.)

  18. Asa Bottex says:

    That being said, the #blacklivesmatter activists and the animal rights activists need to join forces because the animal rights activists are bout it bout it . Cecil the lion!

  19. Adam Smith says:

    I’m not a hunter and personally would have a hard time killing any animal, but when you try to ruin a person’s life, business etc. because he killed an animal, you have your priorities really screwed up!

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