Bachman hosts a weekly show called Winchester Deadly Passion, which follows her hunting exploits across America. But Bachman’s the one running and ducking for cover after public outrage over a recent Twitter post of her picture next to a dead lion she apparently shot and killed.
Bachman tweeted the picture of herself, proudly kneeling and holding a rifle along with the comment, “An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60 yards on this beautiful male lion . . . what a hunt!”
Way to go, Melissa—except for the part where you killed a lion. Because it turns out, while lion hunting is legal in South Africa, there are only 20,000 lions on the entire continent of Africa. (Make that 19,999.) By comparison, there were more than 200,000 lions in Africa in the 1960s. Though to be fair, I don’t think Melissa killed all 180,001 African lions since 1960.
Since Bachman’s tweet, a change.org petition has been created to have her permanently banned from South Africa. The petition has more than 377,000 signatures, including Richard Robinson who wrote, “You didn’t kill a lion, you stood behind a machine and pulled a little trigger, you pathetic, sad excuse of a human.”
Since the tweet, Bachman has done a good job of playing dead herself. Bachman de-activated her Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as her website which featured a “trophy room” section with photos of dead animals including a crocodile, zebra and bear. (Oh my!)
I don’t know how anyone can hunt and kill anything without feeling like a complete jackass (which is probably another “trophy” on Bachman’s wall).
I imagine a moose or deer surviving for years in the wilderness, braving unspeakable perils and predators. Why should any of us get to play God and decide when that life ends? I can’t even function correctly after an iPhone update.
We are not worthy as a species to end the lives of even geese and rabbit. And before anyone starts with the argument of “we have to do it, or there will be overpopulation.” One, that’s probably the most science you’ve uttered in your entire life. And two, c’mon, really? You’re hunting to save the rest of us from an overpopulation of elk? Gee, thanks but no thanks.
I love guns. I have probably fired 30 different kinds, indoors and out. I think guns serve an important purpose when used responsibly and by the right people—preferably not by someone who looks like Larry the Cable Guy slathered in deer urine whose trying to “smoke out” a nest of ducklings from 100 yards and armed with a gun that looks like it should be featured in Halo.
Hunting is not a sport, because sport involves an outcome that is yet to be decided. When the Dallas Cowboys play the New York Giants, sometimes the Cowboys win and sometimes the Giants win. What doesn’t happen is 100 percent of the time the Giants end up skinned and tied to the front of the Cowboy’s team bus. To paraphrase comedian Paul Rodriguez: In a sport, both sides should know they’re in the game.
If you hunt or enjoy taking another anything’s life, so be it. That’s on you. You can carry that around like a stupid, floppy hunter’s cap. There’s enough pain and heartache in the world without intentionally causing something to suffer and bleed to death. Personally I don’t see how anyone could cause that and feel a source of accomplishment or pride like Melissa Bachman.
If it’s about bonding, join a softball team. If it’s about adrenaline, take up extreme sports. Become a really shitty rock climber. Maybe if you fall off of the rock you’re climbing, you’ll land on a raccoon below. That’s kind of like hunting.
Or better yet, take a long quiet walk by yourself—leave the gun at home—and ponder why you glean such satisfaction from hurting furry innocent things.
There’s a target worth aiming at.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org