“Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.” —Arthur Schopenhauer”
Video recently surfaced of the CEO of the NRA hunting elephants in Africa.
PUBLISHED: THE HILL: Changing America by Cyril Christo, Opinion Contributor | Originally published on May 4, 2021
Imagine seeing the face of trophy hunters delighted, after their targeted “beast,” an elephant whose family continent wide has just undergone a second massacre in a generation and a half.
Shot several times drowning in a sea of blood. Shot several times because of the hunter’s colossal ineptitude. A supposed hunter. The smirk, the effete vainglory. And the perfunctory devilish grin of one’s wife relishing to what amounts to a death sentence of the greatest land mammal on Earth. The Demonic smile. The egregious wanton sense of having vanquished the beast, which Christianity has, for a long time, considered mere things. In this case the beast is an elephant, the colossus of the world.
One does not have to imagine. It happened again by the avowed head of the NRA. In Africa. In Botswana to be precise. A few years after the greatest massacre of elephants since the 1980s. We continue to obliterate as if it were a game. A caprice. Obliterating the life breath of a miracle. Because one can. The elephant has undergone a second apocalypse in the last decade. The head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, paid his dues in utter complicity with the aid of a country that should know better, Botswana. But the fact remains Western morality started the whole “royal” sport thing centuries ago and imposed its will on Africa, when the continent was invaded and strangled beyond recognition.
It may seem like a small thing, or rather a big small thing to shoot an elephant. One has paid for the execution of a being that has now been pronounced endangered. Both the savanna and forest elephants in Africa and of course their Asian counterparts that the Hindus considered the four pillars of the world. One can have permission to shoot a great being like the elephant because it has not been outlawed yet, but the day will come when our mortality and consciousness will have to come up to speed.
Many cultures have expected an end to the universe. Ragnarok as a final battle engulfing everything in the known world. When Elie Wiesel personally told me, of all people, that the killing and taking of innocent life, is a crime, he, of all people of the 20th century could define evil. He spent his career pronouncing it and making sure none of us ever forget. But the evil that men do, we also inflict on the nonhuman world. Beings such as elephants and whales that are categorically indispensable to their ecosystems. We are heading toward Ragnarok, not the marvel comic kind but the rainforest scorched, ice melting, elephant slaughtering at point blank range kind. Elie Wiesel said to halt the sadism, the ruthless killing is an “urgent moral imperative.” Just as fossil fuels are being phased out, because our lives, our civilization’s tenure depends on it — just as one day it will be a fine for driving a gasoline powered car and taking advantage of what had to be kept in the earth, so, too, will the remorseless mutilation of the most extraordinary species that walks the Earth be considered a high crime. All of civilization’s past actions, all its karma is coming home to roost.
The rage against the killing of a man called Floyd also sprouts from the heartless head of supremacist beliefs. Those who believe they are the rulers of the universe are creating Ragnarok — whatever Christian equivalent one believes in.