Yesterday Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, admitted killer of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, granted an interview to Brian Bakst of the Associated Press and to Paul Walsh of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. The Star Tribune has printed what is reportedly a full transcript of the interview: Click HERE to read.
Palmer was accompanied by his unpaid adviser, Minneapolis lawyer Joe Friedberg. I too am an attorney, and I have decided to become an unpaid consultant to the late Cecil the Lion. I will be his Dr. Doolittle and give him a voice in this interview. I have inserted what I imagine Cecil would have said in response to some of the quotes attributable to Palmer and the other participants, as shown below.
Palmer: I have a lot of staff members at River Bluff Dental. I'm a little heartbroken at the disruption in their lives. And I'm a health professional. I need to get back to treating my patients. My staff and my patients support me and they want me back. That's why I'm back. I'll be coming back this week.
Cecil the Lion: I had a large pride on a protected preserve in Zimbabwe. I am a little heartbroken at the disruption of their lives. As the king of the jungle, I need to get back to caring for my cubs and pride. They and the staff at Oxford University (who were studying me) support me and want me back. Of course, I'll never come back-- because you killed me.
Bakst: You said you've been visiting family and friends and kind of staying out of the public eye. Can you give us a sense of what you've been up to in those six weeks?
Palmer: No. Just normal day off, for example, I, uh. It's a good question. Usually, I'm really busy. I just haven't been that busy.
Cecil the Lion: Usually, I'm really busy protecting my pride and posing for photos with tourists. I just haven't been that busy since you slaughtered me.
Palmer: Well, I've been out of the public eye. That doesn't I mean I've been hiding. I've been among people, family and friends. The location is really not that important and I really wouldn't say. But I haven't been in hiding.
Cecil the Lion: The location might be important. Please tell me that you haven't been hunting!
Joe Friedberg: Look, as I understand this, he contracted with people who are lawfully allowed to provide services for a hunt in Zimbabwe. All kinds of papers and permits had to be obtained. As far as Walter knows, all of those were obtained and we have no reason to believe at this point that they weren't. Everything was done properly. This was a legal hunt for a lion in Zimbabwe and because of the professionalism of the people that he had to help him, a lion was taken, and, we believe, in an area where he could be taken and in a manner in which he could be taken.
Cecil the Lion: Hmmm? In the movie Casablanca, Police Captain Louis Renault tells Rick "I am shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here." (Ok, lions don't go to movies. I took some liberties here.)
Palmer: The lion was not taken with a gun. It was not 40 hours later. It was followed up the next day and taken with a bow and arrow.
Cecil the Lion: Do you really think I care whether you finally killed me with a bow and arrow or a gun? I'm dead either way.
Palmer: It was tracked and taken, dispatched the next day.
Cecil the Lion: I was not an "it." I was a proud lion. I was not "taken, dispatched." I was killed, slaughtered, skinned, beheaded, and my remains left to rot.
Bakst: Will you go back to Africa, or even back to Zimbabwe, or have you been spooked by this whole affair?
Palmer: I don't know about the future, Brian. But I can say what Joe said, Zimbabwe has been a wonderful country for me to hunt in and I've always followed the laws for the country I'm in.
Cecil the Lion: Did you follow the laws when you allegedly pleaded guilty to felony charges of making false statements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the killing of a bear in Wisconsin in 2008? Please stay away from Zimbabwe-- I have family and friends there.
Palmer: Nobody in our hunting party knew before or after the name of this lion.
Cecil the Lion: My name was Cecil.
Palmer: It's been especially hard on my wife and daughter. They've been threatened. In the media, as well, and the social media, and again, Brian, I don't understand that level of humanity, to come after people not involved at all.
Cecil: It's been especially hard on my family. They keep waiting for me to return. They've been threatened and killed by other lions. I don't understand your level of humanity-- to kill me for fun.
Here's some classic humanity for you: