Prejudice Lives Long and Prospers. Unlike Melissa Bachman’s Lion.

Wireless Magazine’s vegetarian editor would like to state that the below is not the opinion of the magazine or its staff. However it is an interesting point of view and we are all about having a good massdebate. The Lion King is now available for £1.25 in all good second hand shops near where a blockbuster used to be.

No doubt by now you’ve heard of Melissa Bachman; the heartless, amoral TV presenter who recently posted photos of herself smiling next to the corpse of a lion she supposedly shot and killed. You may have heard of her before this scandal, as in 2012 she was forced off “ultimate survivor Alaska” due to a media storm of rage surrounding – you guessed it – her fondness for hunting.

In the last couple of days I’ve seen Facebook pages springing up: “ban Melissa Bachman”, “anti Melissa Bachman”, “Melissa Bachman is a murderer” and other such hate-pages. There have been numerous articles of a similar nature popping up all over the place. Basically, there’s an awful lot of hate for this woman going on.

But WHY? That’s the part that puzzles me. There are many hunter out there; why is everyone focused on Melissa Bachman as if she’s the only one doing it? Could it be that she’s a media personality? No, that can’t be it; there are a lot of celebrities more well-known than her who enjoy to hunt. 

Perhaps it’s because she takes pride in her hunting, as anyone might take pride in a sport or hobby they excel at. Perhaps it’s also that she appears to otherwise be an ordinary, reasonably attractive woman, which sensationalises the issue; no one bats an eyelid when they see a rugged bloke grinning next to his kill, but this is more like seeing your mum holding up a gun with a smile – it’s not something we’d typically think of because of gender stereotyping (not to mention our tendency to assume things about people based solely on appearance). And that definitely makes for more exciting, more memorable news.

Then again, a cynic might make a connection to recent comments by the British government about relaxing the rules governing fox-hunting. The timing certainly works out; just a couple of short weeks after a somewhat smaller level of outrage over fox-hunting, the sparks of hate are fanned into a huge great fire with the news of Ms Bachman’s latest kill, with many wishing only to throw her into that fire.

But whatever peoples’ wishes, even if Ms Bachman is banned from South Africa, it’s hardly likely it will change anything. People will continue to hunt. People will continue to hunt endangered animals. Melissa Bachman will continue to hunt. And it will still be legal. Something that many articles have overlooked; whilst many people disagree with it, the fact remains that in shooting that lion Melissa Bachman did nothing illegal.

That really raises some ethical issues. If she did nothing illegal, how can we ban her from returning to South Africa? On what grounds do we do so? It is really just to punish someone, even when they’ve remained in the law, just because their actions were outside of that which we personally believe to be right? Or does that sure as shit send a message of intolerance and societal disharmony? That seems to be what this is boiling down to; when all is said and done and everything is above board, all that’s left is a group of people with a shared belief persecuting an individual who believes and practices something different.

If people are opposed to hunting, shouldn’t they be taking that up with the governments that legalised it in the first place, rather than intimidating and persecuting the individuals who practice it? Furthermore, is it really reasonable to be judging people based solely on one single belief, or even hobby, of theirs? Sure, Melissa Bachman hunts, but it’s pretty unlikely that there are no other facets to her personality. So why is it being assumed, being written that she’s evil through and through, stupid, idiotic, ugly, and uneducated? Have we really evolved so little that we will still write people off purely because they disagree with us on one specific issue? Are we still so prone to prejudice that we think that that’s okay?

Words by Ari Carrington