Mark Radcliffe wants you to get some perspective and spew some of your venom toward the accused serial rapist in our midst.
Today the internet is ablaze with our latest outrage obsession, American Dentist Walter Palmer, who it appears is responsible for the bloodthirsty sporthunting murder of one of the world’s most beloved lions-in-the-wild, Cecil the Lion. After posting a photo of his “trophy kill,” the internet sleuthed him out, taking him to task for his heartless and unnecessary murder of this treasured creature.
And to be clear, yes, what he did was a moral atrocity.
Needless, merciless, heartless, this slaying is just one more example of a vanity-driven male taking advantage of an innocent victim.
With reports coming out that Walter Palmer is a long-standing sport hunter, we can rest assured that he’s not worthy of the apparent privilege he’s enjoyed in this life as a wealthy, respected dentist. (Although he’s hired a PR company to spin the story to make him seem innocent.)
Luckily, after more than 100 million tweets about him, 2000-plus complaints about his business, and countless threats to end his life, his career and public reputation is probably over.
While an abuse of power and privilege such as this is definitely worthy of our attention and concern, is this the best example of such to focus our collective outrage? Meanwhile, with each week that goes by, another incident of police brutality surfaces, revealing an epidemic of an abuse of power and privilege from our trusted enforcers of the law, usually perpetrated against people of color, most egregiously against African Americans and Native Americans.
In another big media story this week, New York Magazine‘s The Cut finally published the names & faces of 35 of Bill Cosby’s rape accusers in a story by Noreen Malone, portraits by Amanda Demme. For the first time, we’re seeing the real human faces of all Cosby’s alleged victims as one force of solidarity, standing together to face their abusive, heartless aggressor. And there are many more behind them who for now are choosing to stay out of the spotlight.
But while we finally have in plain sight what seems to be irrefutable evidence of Cosby’s gross misconduct, did the internet react with similar outrage and vengeance?
It sure didn’t seem so.
My Facebook wall was much more overcome with vitriol over Walter Palmer’s killing of one animal than it was a few days earlier over the image of Cosby’s 35-plus victims. At one point today, 18 posts in a row from my friends were about Walter Palmer.
The same was never true, not once in the last multiple months, about Cosby’s alleged rape crimes.
Do we as a society care more about the heartless destruction of one animal than we do about the perhaps 40-50 women whose lives were affected and possibly destroyed by a cold, ruthless man who abused his position as America’s favorite comedian to take advantage of women for his “sport”?
If you want to truly get upset about a monster in our midst, look no further than Bill Cosby. Because he is living proof that the most charming man in the entire world can still be a rapist.
Now, perhaps it’s because the awful truth about Cosby has taken months to unveil its ugly head, whereas Walter Palmer’s crime canvassed the earth in just a number of hours, but still: our “boredom” with Cosby’s story as a rapist should not go without our collective outrage simply because it’s not a “hot” news item.
Yes, Walter Palmer needlessly ended the life of a beautiful creature.
But Bill Cosby may have committed his own much larger massacre:
The systematic drugging and raping of countless women, all of whom had less power than him, leaving them to try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and try to move on.
It took the internet decades to finally get the news of what horror Cosby perpetrated.
It only took the internet hours to find out the crimes of Walter Palmer.
The world wouldn’t listen to these women’s stories for decades.
But we all came to the rescue of a dead lion we’ve never met within minutes.
What does that say about us?
If we truly care about lessening the suffering of innocent, loving creatures in the world, we should do more to speak up against manipulative alleged rapists like Bill Cosby than sporthunting assholes like Walter Palmer.
Yes, we should all care about needless suffering to a member of the animal kingdom.
But we should at least care equally about the women in our lives–mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and lovers–who could be victims of some above-the-law manipulator like Cosby.
Everyone of us has women in our lives who have suffered sexual harassment, abuse and even rape, often without our ever being aware. All because the world doesn’t seem to welcome the news that openly.
We can change that.
Starting with what we choose to be vocal about when registering our personal protest.
The more we call out the biggest monsters in our midst, the more we can protect the innocent.