South Africa has been through a lot. After finally shaking off the yoke of apartheid in 1994 it looks like White America via Buzzfeed (Why Killing A Lion Is The Most Cowardly Thing You Can Do) has decided that they’re not able to make the right kinds of decisions with their own land. Enter the Melissa Bachman story aka a bunch of racist/orientalist neo-colonials who think South Africa should be just like Starbucks.
She shot a lion and she had this to say about it.
“An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60 yards on this beautiful male lion…what a hunt!”
First things first, all the meat from this lion went to locals in need. Nothing was wasted. Now that that’s out of the way, Bachmann hunts pretty much everything and she poses with it because that’s a tradition ever since photography existed. I hunt too and I’m not a fan of it, generally, but I also don’t get upset by it the way some might because I recognize that it’s a memorialization of the moment. That has value whether I think it’s an appropriate memorial or not. But, moving on, Buzzfeed hates this woman because she paid probably somewhere around $40,000 to hunt, stalk, and then kill a lion. That includes a license from the South African government. She claims she took the killing shot at 160 feet. That’s less than the short side of a NYC block which is 264 feet. It’s the length of the Purdue Bell Tower. It’s not very far at all. And she stalked it which means she was on foot, not in the back of a truck. But that didn’t stop the feed of many buzzes from publishing this character assassinating atrocity by a hipster on his very first trip to a nature preserve which is absolutely not a game preserve like where Melissa Bachman was hunting.
You see, Matt Stopera doesn’t know the difference. He thinks a photo safari in Botswana among animals that do nothing but see trucks full of human beings all day is the same as being in the wild where animals see very few humans at all. Well it isn’t and I won’t even bother trying to explain the differences since they’re so self evident. Suffice to say that Matt either knows he’s wrong in which case he’s lying to his audience and trolling or he doesn’t know and couldn’t be bothered to find out. Both are inexcusable and show an absolute disregard for Conservation efforts of any kind. There’s such a thing as land and animal management. It’s actually a science. You can get a degree in it.
Melissa was hunting in the Maroi Conservancy, privately owned land that’s subject to South African laws on hunting and conservation. Let me repeat that, hunting in South Africa is subject to South African national law, y’know, like in any civilized country. Ms. Bachman followed that law and at the top of the page is the result. Fine, a lot of people can feel a lot of different ways about that but what I find deplorable is the insinuation that somehow South Africa doesn’t have any idea what it’s doing. There’s an insinuation on the part of great white photographer Stopera and the Buzzfeed audience in general (many of whom think Bachman should literally be killed) that they, the great white hipsters of America need to re-colonize the South African decision making process. To be blunt, these White American middle class people think that these formerly oppressed Black Africans need to be shown the right way. It’s just that good ol ironic Racism, alive and well.
South Africa knows what they’re doing. They have one of the most amazing conservation systems in the world responsible for an incredible amount of land and for preventing poaching on a budget that would be laughable in any state like New York or California. And yet they’ve done amazingly. Photo safaris are enormously popular now but lest we forget, it was the hunters, Black and White, who originally saw the need for conservation, both in South Africa and in the United States. The Sierra Club once primarily consisted of hunters. It was the hunters who cared and it’s still the hunters who care and screaming bloody murder and making death threats (yeah, that’s happened) won’t change that.
Also, this is what lion hunting can have a tendency to look like. You don’t have to like it but it’s not for cowards.
And to the Buzzfeed commenters who threatened murder, posted Bachmann’s personal address in the Facebook comments, and wished death for something they didn’t understand, who’s the coward again?