Although one never saw the light of day again (former bakery-shop owner Hansen died in an Alaskan prison in 2014) and one may never see the inside of a courtroom, there are numerous similarities between serial killer/trophy hunter Robert Hansen and dentist/trophy hunter Walter Palmer:
- Both were family men, well-liked and successful in small business
- Both were avid sport hunters (though thus far Dr. Palmer‘s chosen “trophies” were taken only from the legal, non-human side of the imaginary great divide that separates worthy life forms from fair “game.”)
- Both “sportsmen” Walter Palmer and Robert Hansen enjoyed the challenge of bow hunting (presumably to prolong the agony for their prey)
- Both needed to constantly to refresh their “trophies” in an obsessive effort to boost their flagging self-esteems (after all, how much macho pride can be derived from being a baker…or a dentist?)
- Both serial killers objectified and thought nothing of the lives or the suffering of their many innocent victims, whom they failed to recognize as vastly superior in intrinsic value
- Conversely, perhaps they did recognize their value and envied them for it
- When accused, neither apologized to those whom their crimes affected, but instead cared only of how the accusations affected them
- Both were narcissistic psychopaths
- Both deserve whatever punishment they got or eventually get
Whether or not he broke enough hunting laws to warrant extradition back to Zimbabwe for a trial is all that seems to matter to Dr. Palmer. The fact that Cecil had a name and a radio tracking collar didn’t help the doctor’s legal case. But as with any psychopathic serial killer, his overwhelming sense of entitlement keeps him from seeing the fundamental wrong in his murderous ways.
Because, as with other serial killers, Trophy Hunters want their victims to remain anonymous. They make every effort to depersonalize their living targets, so the last thing they want is someone giving them a human name and an identity.
To prove the point, consider the following excerpt from an unapproved comment by a hunter received today and printed here in full (grammatical errors intact):
Look rule of thumb.If your a hunter you don’t harvest an animal your kids have tagged with a silly human name with human attributes attached.So silly tourists who drive around in raised vehicle leaving them safe from good old Cecils claws and teeth got undercut by another silly American paying a huge fee to use his permit on a lion .
The trophy-hunting apologists are coming out of the woodwork…
Vote NO here: Big game hunting: Conservation or cruelty?
Alaska serial killer/big game hunter Robert Hansen, with his trophy kill.
Some people are animal people and some are people people, while others claim to love everyone equally. The fact is, whether consciously or not, at some point we all have to make a choice as to where our sympathies really lie.
It seems that all but the most saintly of us has a limited quantity of compassion. If it’s too focused, a lot of individuals can get left out, but spread too thin it’s not much good to anyone.
Animal advocates are often some of the most caring people around, yet at times it appears as if they don’t have a whole lot of compassion for the people who abuse animals. Most animal rights supporters actually have a limited empathy allotment, so they tend to save theirs for the victims—not the perpetrators—of cruelty.
When animal rights advocates look at their own culpabilities, they take responsibility and work to change their actions. This is something you cannot expect from willful animal exploiters. Those who knowingly mistreat can’t be made to feel shame for anything; they’ve built up a wall of rationalization eight feet thick. Nothing gets in. They can’t or won’t be changed, though they may profess a profound transformation to their parole board.
Such was surely the case with Ted Bundy, before he ultimately confessed to the brutal murders of thirty young women (many of whom he decapitated and—like a typical sport hunter—kept their heads as trophies to help him relive the kills).
When the day of Ted Bundy’s execution finally came, people in Florida were weighing in on all sides of the issue. On one extreme were folks chanting and carrying signs like, “Thank God it’s FRY-day,” “Bye-Bye Bundy, and more power to you” and “Hey Ted, don’t forget to file an appeal in Hell” expressing their displeasure with the serial killer’s horrendous acts. At the other end of the spectrum was a virtual fan club of Ted Bundy devotees and groupies, one of whom had married him surreptitiously during his sentencing hearing.
Most people’s reactions were somewhere in between the two, depending on where their sympathies lie. As always, mine are with the victims.
One of the would-be hunter-commenters here recently demanded I explain why I compare hunters to pedophiles and serial killers. Since, as a rule, I don’t approve comments from hunters or their apologists (and because I felt it was so bloody obvious), that question hasn’t been answered here since June 10, in a post entitled, Poachers and Pedophiles are Like Apples and Oranges.
But now that Corey Knowlton has added his voice to the choir of self-confessed twisted-psycho-hunter-perverts with the telling statement to the WFAA, “I’m a hunter; I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be intimately involved with a black rhino,” it’s time to re-examine the connection in a little more detail. What kind of mind uses the word “experience” for the act of taking a life? Ted Bundy called his murders “possessing.” Like a trophy hunter, he felt entitled to claim another’s life for his own pleasure. In his case, the lives were young co-eds and 12 year old girls—in Knowlton’s case, endangered rhinos. Ted Bundy’s third person narrative of his predations could easily be mistaken (aside, perhaps, from the level of literacy) with Ted Nugent describing one of his trophy kills: “The fantasy that accompanies and generates the anticipation that precedes the crime is always more stimulating than the immediate aftermath of the crime itself. He should have recognized that what really fascinated him was the hunt, the adventure of searching out his victims. And, to a degree, possessing them physically as one would possess a potted plant, a painting, or a Porsche. Owning, as it were, this individual.”
Pertaining to the likes of Alaskan trophy hunter turned-serial killer, Robert Hansen, who preyed on exotic dancers and child prostitutes, in addition to Dall sheep, mountain goats and countless other species, conservationist Gareth Patterson wrote: “Certainly one could state that, like the serial killer, the trophy hunter plans his killing with considerable care and deliberation. Like the serial killer, he decides well in advance the type of victim–that is, which species he intends to target. Also like the serial killer, the trophy hunter plans with great care where and how the killing will take place–in what area, with what weapon. What the serial killer and trophy hunter also share is a compulsion to collect trophies or souvenirs of their killings. The serial killer retains certain body parts and/or other trophies for much the same reason as the big game hunter mounts the head and antlers taken from his prey…as trophies of the chase.”
And, as I put it the last time I addressed the pedophilic serial killer/trophy hunter connection: …the analogy between a trophy hunter and a serial killer has been well established—both are single-minded in their quest for the kill, placing their own perverse desires above the self-interests—indeed, the very lives—of their victims. Both perpetrators like to take souvenirs from their kills, and neither one cares what the rest of the world thinks of their actions.
In way, I suppose we could feel sorry for Kendall Jones and people like her. Although she’s old enough to follow her daddy’s example as a conscienceless trophy hunter, she may too young and inexperienced in the ways of the world to understand how men really see her. Girls like that must not get that males— especially during hunting season, when their blood is up with the urge to kill—don’t really see them as equal hunting partners. They objectify them just as the girls objectify the animals they target.
On the other hand, as a cheerleader in Texas you’d think she’d be used to being leered at, drooled over and thought of only as an object. It would appear that killing animals and taking trophies of her own is a classic case of the mechanism known as transference of victimhood. (Transference of victimhood is a common coping mechanism for those who have been abused themselves or for those who feel their over-inflated egos have not been stroked enough.) Men have used this mechanism for as long as the human species has existed, taking out their aggressions on “their” women or anyone else they think they can pick on. Serial killers and other misogynists kill or attack random women as surrogate victims, to compensate for their perceived inadequacies.
Sport hunters, out hoping for a trophy set of antlers to boost their flagging self-esteem, objectify not only the animals, but also the women of a given area. Pretty young girls are seen as “fresh meat” and a beautiful woman is a potential conquest.
In trying to please their daddies, young girls sometimes want to be like them, though most aren’t obsessed with killing every beautiful animal they see and trying to pass it off as “conservation.” Perhaps, after years of intensive counseling, Kendall Jones will grow out of it. Until then, let’s hope she continues to bury her mothering instincts. The last thing this world needs is a brood of trophy-hunter wannabes out trying to impress their murderous mommy.