Sad but true: The most forceful expressions of humanity are often sparked by acts of depraved inhumanity.

The senseless, cowardly murder of a majestic, beloved African lion named Cecil by a bloodthirsty American dentist has sparked worldwide outrage. Walter James Palmer is the most unpopular human being on the planet. He has closed his Minnesota dental practice — now ringed by angry protesters — and gone into hiding.

Dr. Palmer says he’s sorry for killing Cecil, which, of course, is absolute crapola. He is sorry he got caught poaching a protected animal lured out of a wildlife preserve and that the whole world now knows that he gets his kicks from destroying beautiful beings. Good luck salvaging your practice, Dr. Palmer. I doubt there are many patients who would want the hands that murdered Cecil in their mouths. 

Like corporate “personhood,” deification of the wealthy and Donald Trump, big game hunting is an ugly artifact of the Gilded Age. Dr. Palmer paid $50,000 to have Cecil lured to a place where he could shoot him with a crossbow. Why? Because he could. He had the money to buy the life of another of God’s creatures and found accomplices willing to sell their souls cheap.

Cecil was no average lion. He was 13 years old, a huge tourist attraction, an invaluable research resource and source of immense national pride for the people of Zimbabwe. After he was ambushed with an arrow, he suffered for 40 hours before he was finished off with a gun. He was beheaded and skinned so Dr. Palmer could take his “trophies” home.

What was left of Cecil was left to rot under the African sun. The lead researcher of Cecil’s pride said it’s likely rival male lions will come in and kill Cecil’s many orphaned cubs. Even Cecil’s seed is threatened because some rich idiot from Minnesota wanted to hang the head of an African lion on his wall.

The focus now is on Dr. Palmer, who will be hounded and harassed until the next outrage shifts the cyber-winds. That is as it should be, but more important than this tiny man with a big gun is the backlash against him. I’ve always believed there are more good people on this planet than bad. Cecil’s sacrifice, no matter how sad, offers living proof.