The Consequences of Our Actions
This is a little story the might be a lesson to us all. It did make me sit back a bit and ponder this fight we are all in.
About a week ago I was scanning one of the animal activism groups, a thing I do to keep up with the various things we are all doing, and one of the things I came across was an image of Cecil with blood on his face. It was a frame from a YouTube video of him that had been doing the rounds on the internet for a while. The person who put it up said it was footage of him dying after Walter Palmer had shot him with his bow. I was a bit shocked by it because I thought I was on top of the whole story surrounding Cecil and his death, so I thought I would try track down the source of this image and find out more. It did not take too long to find the video and I watched it to see what it was all about. It ended up being a video someone took of him a while back, he had just eaten an animal and was therefore covered in blood. I then contacted the person that had said that it was a video of him dying to inform her that she had got it wrong. She said that it was not just her that had thought this video was Cecil dying and that a few news websites had misled a few people to think this was the case. Her relief in finding out the truth made her really happy because she had for weeks been really upset thinking what she had seen was his last moments on earth, but that is not where this story ends and not the point am am getting to. After chatting to her I thought maybe I should do a graphic using a few stills from the footage to maybe make sure other people who had also thought this video was bad could maybe get some peace by finding out the truth. I did this and put it on quite a few groups. On the bottom I put a note to say that the footage was not of him dying, but him resting after a meal. Someone who saw this graphic then got in touch with me about using these images for an awareness protest she was organizing, so I said to her I would first need to check who the original owner of the video was because it was not my footage and only fair to ask. So I then went back to the YouTube page that had the video, but the video was no longer there, it just had a notice saying that it was now a private video and no longer available to the public. I thought this is odd, why would someone want to hide it, surely it should be something that would be a good thing for us all to see, especially because it was not a negative video and more of a celebration of his life. I wanted to find out more about the reasons behind the hiding of the video, so I then tracked down the owner of the video to maybe get a better idea behind the reason for this. I found his Facebook page and to make sure it was the right person I had a quick look at his page to see if I could see any mention of this video or an explanation about why it was no longer on YouTube. There was not much mention of it, but there was a note on his page saying that no one is allowed to mention hunting or anything related to it, but nothing more. I then messaged him and asked if I could give the images to the person who had asked for permission to use them and apologized for using them myself without asking myself. He replied shortly after this and was very nice but said I could not use the images because he had received a lot of abuse over it. We then began to chat about what had occurred and I shall not go into too much detail because he already has had enough trouble from people. The basic thing that I am getting at is that due to people like us, the activists who got confused he became stuck in the middle of a lot of bad publicity. He not only got attacked by us, but he received death threats from some pretty hardcore people in the hunting community as well. He said that although he is totally against trophy hunting and on our side, we all need to be a lot more careful about the way we are approaching the fight. There are many of us who are a bit extreme and we are attacking not only the ones that maybe need the attention, but we are also attacking some of the hunters that are maybe not simply bad folk. What is this doing? It is making the lives of people on the ground who are actively involved a living hell. The anger and hatred that is coming from some of us is not well informed and it is easy for us to sit in our houses and safe places and spew our hatred at these people. We need to make sure who we are attacking are who they are, we need to maybe focus on doing what we doing without being people that are maybe a bit too radical and full of hate. By issuing death threats and saying some pretty harsh things or by exposing some people to the hate of a lot of people who are angry on the internet we have a lot of power, but this power we need to channel to do good, we can not become people that cause harm or make innocent people get death threats due to our sometimes ill informed knowledge. It was an eye opener and I am glad that he was honest with me about his reasons for saying he chose to not let me or anyone else use his images for the activism thing. I also said to him that I would convey his thoughts to the activists so that maybe a lesson could be gained from his bad experience, so please anyone who is fighting this fight like I am, take time now and then to maybe think before you act because the consequences of our actions are not always good or achieve what it is we intended them to do.