Many of you have probably read or heard about the controversy regarding Kendall Jones, a 19-year-old Texan cheerleader who loves to hunt endangered animals in Africa. Kendall's hunting escapades and subsequent photos of dead African animals have sparked quite the outrage among, probably, millions of social media users around the world. It has gotten so heated that recently a Democratic Politican, Mike Dickinson of Virginia, has Tweeted that he will give $100,000 to anyone who can come up with nude photos or sex tapes of Jones. Dickinson states that Kendall "deserves to be a target." Just a little background on myself, I graduated from Brigham Young University in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation and have worked with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for two consecutive summers. Now, I have my own opinions on Jones' hunting, but before I get into that I have a few things to say to this Mike Dickinson who gives new meaning to the "sleazy politician" stereotype.
You recently asked for pornographic pictures of a 19-year-old girl because she posted about her hunting trips online. You not only requested these pictures/videos, but you offered millions of people $100,000 if they could get them for you. Not only that, you tweeted these questions about her, "Does #KendallJones use vegetables as sex toys? Does she enjoy being spanked? We want to know." Well, maybe YOU want to know, but personally, I don't think its any of my business. Obviously, you believe it is your right to ask for these things, not only because you yourself stated that it is "free speech", but because you are a liberal democrat.
Dick, may I call you
What makes you think that naked pictures and sex tapes of Jones even exist? Are all young girls supposed to be having sex and taping it? Maybe in Crazytown, Dick, but not in the rest of the world. And even if these things don't yet exist, $100,000 is a LOT of money, don't you think that some people might go out of their way to capture or forge such materials? Which could get uploaded to the internet and be there forever, for anyone to see? Actually, you probably did think of that.
Now, lets go back to the hunting controversy for a minute. What do nude photos and sex tapes have to do with hunting? Shouldn't the punishment match the crime? Oh, I get it, the only way to punish a girl in our society is through sexual shaming. You want to sexually subdue a young girl, humiliate her, and teach her a lesson. That actually reminds me of something... oh yeah, sexual harrassment, abuse, and rape. WOAH! You say, I didn't say anything about rape! Really? Well, I'm pretty sure that your request and rape have similar goals in mind. You want to make this girl "a target" of sexual abuse. You want to expose her and shame her and that is exactly what makes a sexual predator. Am I getting too extreme? I don't think so. Next time you want to get a popular vote but spending your time on Twitter with the high schoolers why don't you think about your actions first.
I have a suggestion for you, Dick. How about instead of offering mass amounts of money to sexually shame a young huntress, you offer that money to wildlife conservation efforts? I'm actually surprised that you haven't done this yet, seeing as you're such an animal lover. Maybe you could get the animals to vote for you, hopefully they are the only ones who will.
A young woman and wildlife conservationist
Whew! Glad to get that off my chest! (And no I don't mean my shirt, stop trying to take pictures of me, Dick!) Now, if you'll bear with me I will address Kendall Jones' hunting.
As I stated before, I am a wildlife conservationist. I have worked on animal studies with either BYU or the state of Utah for three years now and am currently working with an endangered species, the June sucker of Utah Lake. So, I feel like I might have some valid points, though I know not all conservationists will agree with me.
However, if the system were to work correclty tags for endangered species would be auctioned off so that the hunter would be able to kill an individual in a population with a low reproductive value - meaning that they would be able to kill an animal who no longer contributes to the population. This would benefit both parties because the hunter would be allowed to hunt while paying for conservation efforts and removing an individual who is taking up resources without giving back. What I will say is that it's not Jones' fault whether the money she pays for a tag goes to a corrupt government or a wildlife refuge. Not only that, but Jones is hardly the only person hunting endangered species in Africa. So, if you're going to attack her for it, you better find every single person who has ever killed an animal in Africa and attack them as well.
Lastly, I can't help but think that all the outrage has a lot to do with the fact that the animals in Jones' pictures are charismatic African animals. I'm willing to bet that if I held a dead June sucker up for a camera that about one person would even notice and that would be my boss. What if someone killed a smoky mouse and took a picture? Or a Mississippi gopher frog? Who would care? My point in all this is that species go extinct every day, some that we haven't even discovered yet. And it's your fault. And my fault. Basically, it's humans in general. So, if you're going to put all this effort into "loving animals" then love all of them. Don't jump on a bandwagon that you don't understand.