Michael Gorman: There is good and bad on the Internet
This fabulous, horrible thing called the Internet is good for a few things.
Yes, it gives a bullhorn — in the form of caps-locked diatribes — to the ill-informed to spread their hatred and ignorance.
And it give the bitterly partisan politicos in our American electorate a place to scream past one another for amens from the converted on both sides.
But every once in a while, it strikes a chord that makes just a bit of sense.
Yes, you have to wade through a lot of foolishness, arrogance and filth to find it, but there are some examples of the Internet serving a good purpose.
First, some of the foolishness:
After the theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, that left two women and the shooter dead, gun control crazies rushed to their keyboards to call for greater restrictions on our constitutional rights.
It’s never too soon to traipse through the blood of the innocent on your way to the podium, it seems, as long as you’re argument is that only criminals and the government should be able to protect themselves.
Social media sites were inundated with the callous opportunists who seem almost gleeful when there is a horrific tragedy.
One comment that came up on my news feed was an obscenity-laden rant cursing those who want to thwart any attempt at “reigning in” our access to guns.
Sorry, but if you don’t know the word “reining,” you need to leave the political talk to the grown-ups.
And if your first thought when news of a slaying reaches you is how to make a political point on Facebook, you don’t have the moral credibility to make any such argument.
Part of our problem as Americans is that we’ve come to trust the oft-maligned federal government to solve all of life’s problems.
Person kills two people in a random attack, we must have a law.
X type of gun is used in horrific crime, X type of gun must be banned.
The problem with easy answers is that they don’t solve anything.
The fact that Americans go crazy and senselessly take others’ lives doesn’t happen because there are guns. All too often, it happens because we have far too little access to mental health services. But don’t try to tell that to a screaming zealot on Facebook. What we want there is easy answers, regardless of whether they actually solve anything.
Now, for the good:
It doesn’t come in equal supply, but there is evidence of the Internet being put to good uses.
For instance, when a sick person with too much money spends $50,000 to bait and kill a majestic animal to satisfy his bloodlust, that fact should be shared with as many people as possible.
Thanks to the Internet, it can be.
So when Walter James Palmer took part in what is increasingly looking like an illegal hunt in Zimbabwe, wounded a lion that had been used as the face of conservation in that nation, tracked it for 40 hours and finally killed it, the Internet can spread word of this degenerate’s actions quickly and thoroughly.
Some have suggested that the vitriol spewed against Palmer has gone overboard. Perhaps. But what can we make of someone who goes to such great lengths and expense just to kill?
Oh, and the lion mishap — if that’s what it was — isn’t the first time Palmer has stepped over the line in pursuit of his bloodsport.
“I had no idea that the lion I took was a know, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt,” Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, said in a statement released earlier this week.
This guy has the darnedest luck.
Back in 2008, he landed in hot water when he illegally shot a black bear up in Wisconsin and lied to U.S. Fish and Wildife Service investigators about it. He pleaded guilty in that case.
So what is it that makes people travel around the world to poach a lion?
I really cannot imagine, but maybe there should be a law.
That’s right, there is. Of course, it didn’t turn out to do much good in the case of Cecil the lion and his killer.
HoumaToday.com editorial page editor Michael Gorman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.