Lions, Leopards, and Elephants…and a Texas Cheerleader

I’m sure by now, some of you have seen the petitions trying to “Remove Kendall Jones’ page of her killing animals for fun!” and to “Help stop Kendall Jones from hunting in Africa.” If you haven’t heard about this story yet, you must be living under a rock in an area where they don’t believe in the internet.

Kendall Jones

The first petition to remove her FB page has a good point when they say that “Facebook will not allow woman to post pictures of them naturally breast feeding their baby” but will allow her to post her pictures of kills. A few lines down, they express their opinion that “Facebook needs to remove this page and make sure she does not make another one! And really needs to crack down because this is the 4th page in the past few months I’ve seen with this cruelty on!” All in all, the point of this petition was to simply have Kendall’s photos taken down off her page. This has gotten over 14,600 people to “sign” this cause in support of removing her page.

The next petition talks about how she is hunting endangered animals “under the facade of conservation” and goes on to say how she wants to eventually have her own hunting TV show. Then they talk about how she has received “much protest, peaceful or otherwise from a wide variety of people from all over the world on her social profiles, and has, on those platforms, visibly scoffed and shaken off those protests, claiming that protestors are misinformed, or simply the “sheep” to her “lion” morals.”  The supports of this petition totaling at almost 150,200, want to stop Kendall from her trips arounds the world and from her hunting.

Now let’s talk about the articles I’ve seen plastered all over FB. Most of the time, they read with headlines like “This Texas Cheerleader Likes Killing Lions and Smiling in Photos With Their Carcasses.” The writer goes on to say that she  was posting “gruesome Facebook photos documenting [her] bloody summer spree.” But when I looked at her pictures, I didn’t see any blood. Maybe I’m just looking at the wrong ones? The writer of the article, Liz Dwyer, says that “unlike hunting duck or deer during a specific season to prevent overpopulation, wealthy animal hunters pay thousands of dollars to safari companies that organize opportunities to kill rare beasts.” She does go on to give the side of the hunters, saying that they if this type of hunting is outlawed and no cash in being put into their economy, then the citizens would not have any reason to “preserve” these animals. This may be so, but when I read this article, I mainly see descriptive words that are supposed to pull at people’s hearts and play to pathos. And once you’ve got somebody by their emotions, you can pretty much direct their emotions from there.

The next article I’ve seen is called “Reminder: Why Killing A Lion Is The Most Cowardly Thing You Can Do” which has an interesting writing style. It’s obvious by the way they write that they are writing to a younger crowd. With their one-sentence paragraphs and their uses of “like, yeah,” they drew in the crowd that they wanted. Not only that, they use foul, informal language, such as the F-word, which makes me, personally, respect them less as a journalist. If one is a journalist, they should be able to properly portray their opinion in a respectful manner using the various English words that we have in our dictionary. Instead, rather, they use the most common noun/verb/adjective that is prevalent among the youth of today. Later on, he shows pictures of how the animals are not ferocious beasts and how they were very close to his car during his safari trip. One of his captions is, “Like, I am straight up chilling next to a pride of lions.” So, it’s easy to see how he grabbed his target audience with this article.

Those were the main articles that I saw bashing Kendall. Unfortunately, I saw only articles bashing her before I saw anything remotely defending her (mainly 50 shares of bashing articles before 1 defending article). This made me think, “I wonder what the other side of this story is?” I hoped and waited to see if anyone was going to post an article explaining the other side, just so I could see their point of view and make a more informed opinion. A few weeks after I had these thoughts, I found a few articles.

I saw this article “Just Pretend This Dead Lion is a Human Baby, and Then You Won’t be so Upset.” The writer of this article, Matt Walsh, has very defensive, sarcastic writing in her defense. He makes it out to seem like all of the people bashing her are overreacting (which some people might have been, as by forming a strong opinion without getting all of the facts and researching both sides). Despite this, he does have some good points. He goes on to say  that he would rather see her pictures of her and her kills over “the pornographic garbage that clutters half of my newsfeed on a daily basis.” I’ve noticed this as well. With the rise of #selfies, it seems that more and more people are taking pictures of themselves, and not all of them are completely covered in all of them. Anyways, he said that “it’s funny that, of all the filth and depravity online, it takes an image of a dead zebra to really rile people up…Even more peculiar: a million babies are killed every year in this country, yet that has never sparked this level of popular outrage.” He goes on…

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I have a strong opinion on abortion based on the experiences of some people close to me. They have always regretted it and wish they could go back and undo it. Each person is entitled to their own opinion and has their own life experiences to support that. But these two sentences right here made me think about this whole situation. Yes, I do think it is incredibly important to conserve and protect our planet. We’ve already lost a lot of wildlife due to overhunting and extinction. But are animals really more important than human lives? Do people ever stop to think, “If that child is born, they may grow up to fight for the causes that I care so much about. They could be a supporter.” Honestly, I mostly hear people saying, “It’s not a person till it’s born,” and that just makes me sad.

Finally, the last article I’ve seen on this is called “No, That ‘Texas Cheerleader’ Isn’t an Endangered Species Killing A-hole.” This article mainly uses Kendall’s posts on FB defending herself and explaining her side. She talks about how she spends money on her licenses (a lot of money at that), how that helps the economy, how her hunts are either studied or the meat is taken by locals, and how her hunts may fall under the utilitarian view of ethics. Her killing one lion might save the pride from losing 5 lions because of that one. While people might not agree with her point of view or her reasonings, it is important to hear her out and see things from her side.

Before you go off preaching your own morals and putting down other people’s, you need to see the differing variations of ethics. There are many different schools of thought that all don’t match up the same. Check out the difference between utilitarian, deontological, and virtue-based ethics.

As horrible as this may sound, I’m going to bring up the issue of child labor in other countries. We in America think that it’s absolutely wrong — children should be in school, playing in playgrounds, and not worrying about life. But in those countries, sometimes those families need their children to work. Maybe it’s part of their culture and how their society functions. Maybe children who aren’t working are made fun of and bullied. Maybe working for their family creates self-respect for that child and develops them to enter into the working world earlier than other places. Now I’m not saying it’s right, but if we Americans fight so hard to end child labor, we could be eliminating an income from one household. How would you feel if just because China put a limit on the amount of kids their citizens can have, they decided to come over to the US and enforce their beliefs on that subject. All-in-all, it’s hard to always have a clear-cut opinion on what is right or wrong.

Now to finally get to my own personal thoughts…does anybody remember any of these events?

Bill.h1n1-pandemic-logo konykony_Large Hurricane-Sandy-image-003Recession Donald WSJ - Front Page (Sept. 19, 2008)

Has anyone gotten the feeling that that government is afraid if we aren’t freaking out about something? If it’s not a national health outbreak, like the H1N1 virus, then it’s a national crisis, Super Storm Sandy or the Great Recession, or it’s a or we’re hating a person, Donald Sterling, Kony, Kendall Jones. Does anyone ever stop to think that the media is only telling us what they want us to hear? I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but this Kendall Jones thing made me stop and think. The media mainly reports on horrible things happening around the world, with maybe one heartwarming bit per 30 minute segment. But most of the time, they are reporting on tragedies and telling us that we need to worry.

Think about all of the college shootings that happened all at one. Parents, did it not make you fear for your college children who had moved out of the house and into the dorms at a university? Were you freaking out that some virgin was going to use your kid as their next target practice? It made me scared for all of my friends who are away at different schools! You really never know what’s going to happen. But what I’ve noticed is that the media only tells us what they want us to “know.” If there’s nothing in the economy to freak out about, there’s some health crisis. If there’s no health crisis, somebody somewhere is doing something despicable and we need to focus all of out thoughts, energy, and hate on them. Am I the only one that sees this?

Next time a lot of hate is going around the internet that’s targeted at one person or a nation, or we are being told to freak out about our economy or a health crisis outbreak, take a step back. Research before you form an opinion. The government thrives off of our fear. When they say that we are all going to die unless we get that one vaccine, then people rush to the hospitals and local drug stores to get that shot. You know what that does? It causes people to spend money. You know where that money goes? Into our economy. You might think, “Well that’s not so bad. At least we’re keeping it in America!” But it’s the governments way of making you spend money.

Like I said before, I’m not a conspiracy theorist of any kind. I actually find those people to be a little irritating, since they are constantly living in a state of paranoia. Anyways, what I’m hoping you’ll take from this is to please, please, please, research before you form a solid opinion. There are always two sides to every story. And even after reading both sides, you may side with your original feelings, and that’s completely fine! But it is incredibly important to think about the other side and what their opinions are. Also, don’t just take everything at face value. There’s always someone or something behind it all that’s motivating it. Think beyond what’s on the page and create an opinion for yourself by yourself. You’ll be steps ahead of the rest and you will be able to have real conversations with people who don’t think like you. After all, like I said in The Best Lesson I’ve Ever Learnedit is important to be around people who don’t think like you. Challenge yourself to grow spiritually, physically, and, of course, mentally.


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