Don't hold it against us - Dentists and the tragedy of Cecil the lion

July 29, 2015

The story of Cecil the lion broke yesterday. I think the story is tragic on several levels. Let me get this out of the way. I think it's deplorable that someone would want to trophy hunt a lion.

The story of the hunting of Cecil the lion is terrible and tragic; but why is the media focusing so much on the fact that the hunter is a dentist?

The story of Cecil the lion broke yesterday. I think the story is tragic on several levels. 

Let me get this out of the way. I think it's deplorable that someone would want to trophy hunt a lion. My understanding is that it is legal if properly permitted. So I don't believe it's criminal. But I believe it is a horrible thing to do. You may disagree with me and I respect your opinion, but you're not likely going to sway me on this one. 

Here's the problem. Every story I've seen about Cecil the lion leads with the fact that the hunter who killed him is a dentist. It seems important to the media coverage that he's a dentist. In fact, it's making a lot of dentists I know kind of defensive.

Trending article: The strangest dental crimes across the United States

You may be interested to know that dentists aren't monolithic on the topic of trophy hunting lions. In fact, I think you'll find most of them feel strongly that it's a terrible idea. But apparently, it's a very important part of this breaking news that the guy who killed Cecil the lion is a dentist. Why would this be? 

First, most people think dentists are overpaid. Most of the news stories describe the amount the hunter paid to hunt and kill Cecil the lion. Most of the accounts I've read claim that he paid over $50,000 for the privilege. Of course, it's not very far from that to "if he's got $50,000 to spend on that then he makes too much money." Perhaps dentists are overpaid, but it's patently unfair to make that argument in the context of this story. This is one guy.  One guy who (in my opinion) chose to do something very stupid and reprehensible with his time and money. The fact that he spent a ton of cash to go kill a lion has nothing to do with the price of your crown and it doesn't mean that dentists get paid too much. 

Secondly, many people have had bad experiences with dentists ...

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