Why the lion?

It’s hard to miss the social media mini-backlash to all the attention a lion poached in Zimbabwe has gotten over the last few days. Before I get my day started I wanted to chime in to answer the question “why do people care more about a lion than all the abortions.”

First, I don’t think the issues are mutually exclusive. It seems perfectly possible to me that one might be concerned about both poaching and abortion simultaneously. Talking about one doesn’t negate any opinion one may have on the other. The fact is, this country has been embroiled in the abortion debate for well over 50 years now – and like it or not, the arguments have become just more background noise to most people. It’s not “news” in any meaningful way.

Second, every discussion I’ve ever heard about abortion has been fueled by emotion and quickly descends into a shouting match between the two sides. Nether has proven particularly effective at making well-reasoned, rational arguments. When you charge into the issue from a position of emotion rather than logic, you almost guarantee I’m going to stop paying attention.

Third, and perhaps most important I’ve always liked animals way more than I like most people. We’ve covered that before. People, as a group, tend to be assholes. By contrast, lions tend to just be lions. So all things considered, if I have to spend the limited amount of time I have worrying about a species of 7 billion individuals stretched to every corner of the globe or one that has 30,000 in the wild, I’m going to defer my interest to the critters just about every time.

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