The video of the shooting of Sam DuBose by former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing was released today. It is very graphic. It will upset you.
The other day, it was revealed that there were 204 mass shootings in 204 days in 2015.
And yet, we -- all of us, en masse -- are angry about the illegal killing of Cecil The Lion.
And we should be.
The killer, American dentist and big-game hunter Walter J. Palmer, is in hiding. His business has closed as a result. He is universally reviled. He has been called out and admonished by everyone from Jimmy Kimmel to Ricky Gervais and almost all of Twitter and Facebook combined.
But why has Cecil galvanized us so, when clearly there are equally horrific events taking place all over everywhere? Why are we up in arms about a lion in Zimbabwe when it is statistically likely that a teenager you know is contemplating killing themselves as we speak? Why does this move us in ways that another white cop killing another black person does not?
Because we cannot imagine being baited, stalked and killed by a rich white dentist armed with a crossbow (and thank God for that... That's almost as terrifying as clown murderers. But only almost). And when we cry out about the horrific nature of this brutal illegal slaying for something as disgusting as a trophy to hang on a wall, we aren't at risk of making ourselves accountable for the cessation of it.
Universally, people can say with all authority that luring a national treasure of a lion off of protected land and illegally murdering it, and then trying to cover the evidence and then decapitating it and leaving its body out to rot while its cubs are now at risk of being killed, is a bad thing. A very, very bad thing, in fact.
But it's a "safe" bad thing.
Meanwhile, kids wanting to kill themselves are, sadly, an everyday thing, and scares the shit out of people because deep down everyone is afraid they might be mentally ill and they have no idea how to handle it.
A young gay male in a small town community being beaten and left to die in the streets one night for no other reason than the fact he is gay is, sadly, an everyday thing, and it scares the shit out of us because saying something means making themselves a target for daring to defend someone.
Another black person being killed by white police is, sadly, an everyday thing, and and it scares the shit out of us because daring to say that we need police reform in this nation is seen as "anti-cop" and makes you a horrible criminal sympathizer.
Another mass shooting taking place in America is, sadly, an everyday thing (literally), and it scares the shit out of people to say anything because you'll be seen as a leftist anti-Constitution gun-hating commie pinko whatever the fuck else that means "non-patriot."
But hating the rich white dentist for illegally baiting, slaying and butchering a majestic creature like Cecil the Lion has no consequence of any sort for the person speaking out, and the only thing necessary to participate in making things "better" is completed the second you agree out loud that it's bad.
So of course it's much, much easier to rally behind Cecil The Lion. And there's nothing at all wrong with it. I'm right there with you.
I'm just saying it's safe. And for anyone wondering why this cause is getting so much outrage while your personal cause goes largely ignored or gets debated to death... Well, its because people are afraid of just about everything that could make them accountable for the work it takes to make it better.
And besides, everyone already hates the dentist.
This piece originally appeared on Joe's blog. It's a good blog. You should read it. And if you are going through tough times and need some daily inspiration, Joe will write you a letter every day for free, with real advice and not fluffy generic inspiration crap.