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Savaged: for being a hunter or a dentist?

31 July 2015

Savaged: for being a hunter or a dentist?

image: AFP

Hello readers and welcome to this week’s newsletter. The above video of Prof Liz Kay does a good job of summing up what you’ll get out of an MBA in Healthcare. It’s the perfect way to complement your clinical expertise with the essential business skills to make your practice thrive. Considering if it would work for you? Be sure to check out our in-depth article below on “Should you do an MBA?” which gives you a run through all you need to know when weighing up your options.

And so to news… and there was one dental-related news story making headlines all over the world this week.  The sheer outpouring of hatred towards Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minneapolis, USA, was nothing short of staggering. And, although a lot of the abuse directed towards Palmer veered into “Die, Die, Die” category, it is easy to see why people feel such anger.

Palmer is alleged to have paid £35,000 to hunt and kill Cecil, a much loved lion who resided in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.  Cecil’s skinned and beheaded body was found in the park after being lured from a protected area and shot with a crossbow. Cecil is reported to have not died immediately following the crossbow shot, living on for another 40 hours before being shot dead with a rfile. Condemnation for the killing has been widespread. Soon a picture of Palmer emerged beaming widely next to another lion he’d claimed as a trophy. This time, it seems, he’s gone too far.

Animal rights group, PETA, summed up popular feeling towards Palmer quite well: “He needs to be extradited, charged, &, preferably, hanged”. Meanwhile, protestors have begun to picket his dental practice and the Facebook page for his River Bluff Dental practice has been inundated with a torrent of abuse.  Any sample of tweets or Facebook posts about his actions reveals the extent to which such animal cruelty is completely unacceptable.

One said: “Nothing in this world would give me greater pleasure than to see your head mounted on a wall, your carcass defiled, degraded and paraded as you did to Cecil and near countless other animals.”  Another had a stark warning for Palmer’s future: “The lion’s 40 hours of misery are going to seem like a blink of an eye compared with your next few years.”

Palmer’s reaction to the scandal, however, seems to be missing the point. He said: “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favourite.” He’s only sorry because it was a well-known lion he’d killed, and he’s sorry it’s got so much attention. He may not have felt too bad if it was one of those less popular lions who wouldn’t make international news was the one he hunted and killed.

What this story tells us, beyond shocking cruelty, is the extent to which our actions do not occur in a vacuum in our interconnected world. Palmer has seen his actions almost 9,000 miles from his home completely destroy him, both personally and professionally, in such a short space of time. There is nowhere to hide on the internet and social media, where any picture or comment can come back to haunt you.

Because Palmer happens to be a dentist and someone who runs a dental practice, a business which is quite likely to have a social media presence these days, a personal hobby that is seen as so wretched, some have called “evil”, can have such negative consequences to both you and your business.

In the space of 24 hours, Walter Palmer went from a relative nobody to being an international figure of hate. His rather unsavoury hobby means he only has himself to blame. He will have learned too late that, in the world we now live in, such actions can have limitless consequences.

What’s your take on the demise of Cecil? Has the vitriol been warranted or has it gotten a bit out of hand? Comment below or email your thoughts to Until next time...

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