Seeing the photo of a young Trump troll holding a severed elephant trunk makes me so enraged I could tear it out of his hands and beat him to a bloody pulp with it. There, I said it. Make no mistake, photos of sick, gloating psychos inspire as much murderous rage in me as they do in any other good person who cares for animals and who knows that the elephant was a far more worthy soul than the grinning, scum-bag sport hunter.
Does this bring me “down to his level?” No, that’s an overused cliché that I should have avoided in my last post, because it put some readers on the defensive and made them miss my whole point (which was simply: even in our talk of retribution, we should strive to sound more humane than those who enjoy killing). Would I enjoy flogging someone to death with the trunk of an elephant (justified as it might well be)? If so, it may be time for some serious introspection; time to ask myself, “Have I crossed the line and temporarily lost my sanity?”
The tag line for my book and blog is “Forget hunters’ feeble rationalizations and trust your gut feelings; making sport of killing is not healthy human behavior.” The word “sport,” which hunters make no bones about using, suggests taking pleasure in the act of something—in the case of hunting that means offing a living being. Regardless of how you justify it, deriving pleasure from killing is not healthy behavior. No matter how tempting it is to go on the warpath on their behalf, the animals need us to stay sane. Any lethal action we take will be perceived as another sign that we “put animals above humans” (guilty as charged?) and justify further oppression of the animals. Thankfully, nobody here has been driven to cross that Rubicon yet.
I included only photos of live animals throughout my book, in part help people identify with the subjects, but also to avoid making the reader see red, drop the book, and go out and commit some act of homicide that could set back any progress made for the animals and inspire a fully armed retaliation against them. All laws are on the side of the exploiters, and they have all the weapons (well, at least most of them).
My advice to folks who find themselves at the end of their rope: whenever you feel you’ve viewed one too many snuff shots of evil, smug little men and women with their trophies, file that rage away for a minute and take some time to regain your composure. Maybe pet your cat or dog, gaze out the window at the sunset or appreciate a photo of a live, free-roaming animal. But if you keep staring at a computer screen full of morbid, infuriating images of animal murderers, it might make you sink to their level…of sanity, anyway.
The fight for the animals is a war of attrition; a war of hearts and minds. Everything we do or say can have a bearing in the case against animal cruelty.
No matter how enjoyable the thought of beating a hunter or trapper with their victim’s severed body part might seem be, for the sake of the animals we must try to hold on to our sanity.
Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson