The Equal Opportunity Slayer? NRA Lobbyist Reportedly Compares Critics Of Shooting Elephants For Fun to Racists and Hitler

Unknown220px-Tanzanian_ElephantIf you recall, last week we discussed how NBC Sports Network was airing an episode of “Under Wild Skies” that showed NRA lobbyist Tony Makris shooting an elephant in the face and then celebrating with champagne. NBC has issued a convoluted statement that promises not to air the episode but the far more interesting statement came from Makris who reportedly condemned those who object to shooting elephants for fun.

NBC seemed intent to emphasize that shooting elephants in the face is perfectly legal (at least until 2014 when a moratorium kicks in):

“We’ve listened to our viewers and will not air that particular episode of ‘Under Wild Skies’ again. We’re also taking a close look at our internal standards as part of this process because this content should not have aired . . . While this form of hunting is legal, we understand that many viewers find it objectionable. As a result we are taking an aggressive approach towards objectionable content within future episodes of ‘Under Wild Skies’ and other series.”

Well, it is good that NBC was able to listen to viewers to learn that many people would find it disturbing to see its host sneak up on an elephant, shoot it in the face, then shoot it again when it fled in pain, and then chased it down to finish it off . . . before celebrating the victory over some champagne. Absent hearing from viewers, no one at NBC appears to have had an inkling about this being somehow disturbing.

For his part, Makris, the NRA lobbyist, was not content to take his one-tusked trophy and go home. Makris insisted that he kills all animals equally: ducks, deer, elephants. That appears to make him a type of gun-toting Martin Luther King by embracing all of the beautiful creatures of the Earth and then shooting them in the face. Those who distinguish elephants from deer on the basis for their rarity or intelligence are engaging in his view in a form of “animal racism.” The only way to be a non-racist, it seems, is to kill them all.

Makris is quoted in an interview:

“And they said, ‘but [elephants are] so big and special and they’re smarter,'” Makris recalled of a recent discussion with a detractor. “And I went, ‘you know, Hitler would have said the same thing.'”

So let’s get this straight. People objecting to shooting elephants (one year before such trophy hunts are prohibited) constitute little Hitlers?

That is the man selected by NBC for its new show. In any event, if NBC wanted to hear from their viewers, they have succeeded. Over 60,000 have signed a petition to get NBC to cancel the show.

I expect that Makris may have been deliberately provocative or even humorous but it is unlikely to be welcomed by the rising number of critics for the show. Here is a fuller account of the interview:

MAKRIS: The nice ones will come up and go, you shoot elephant? Why? And I said well, the short answer is because hungry people eat them and because I’m a hunter. You know, I’m not an elephant hunter. I’m a hunter. I hunt all things. And they go, well nobody should shoot an elephant. I said, why? And they go they’re so big and kind and gentle and smart and I said, okay, let me ask you a question. Should I be able to shoot birds? Well, I guess that’s okay. Ducks? Yeah. Pigeons? Oh, they’re flying rats, okay. Rabbits? Well rabbits are cute. But yea. Squirrels? That’s nothing but a rat with a tail — with a fuzzy tail. And I said, well deer eat all my mother’s roses in Long Island and I go– so I can shoot all of those, but not an elephant? No. Do you realize that if you subscribe to that philosophy you are committing a very unique form of animal racism?

CAM EDWARDS, HOST: [laughter]

MAKRIS: And now they’re shocked. And they said but they’re so big and special and they’re smarter. And I went, you know, Hitler would have said the same thing.

45 thoughts on “The Equal Opportunity Slayer? NRA Lobbyist Reportedly Compares Critics Of Shooting Elephants For Fun to Racists and Hitler”

  1. David,

    you don’t know that anyone ate that elephant meat, don’t pretend that the guys some great humanitarian.

    1. RTC – I’m not even suggesting he is a humanitarian, but he said in the interview that the villagers there ate it, and from what I read about the licenses, hunters are required to donate the meat to the local residents of the area.

  2. Oro Lee,

    There is an overpopulation of humans in Africa, leading to land use conflicts with elephants, rather than an actual overpopulation of elephants.

    1. RTC would I guess support culling the “overpopulation” of humans, not elephants since humans are more numerous and dangerous.

      1. randyjet wrote: “RTC would I guess support culling the “overpopulation” of humans, not elephants since humans are more numerous and dangerous.”


  3. David,

    Where to start. First off, deer populations are out of control. Hunting is a legitimate management tool, you point out. However, the Wildlife Conservation Society, which employs actual , not just someone with a “background”, maintains that elephant populations are plummeting in the wild. So, killing elephants really isn’t the same as hunting deer. I don’t know too much about the situation in Botswana, but seeing how elephants are migratory over great distances those population levels you cite could merely be seasonal in aspect.

    BTW, deer are over-populated in large part because wolf populations have been decimated. And as a side note, protecting wolves is really about maintaining clean water. Wolves are the most effective means of controlling deer numbers, which is overgraze vegetation surrounding riparian areas.

    1. RTC wrote: “the Wildlife Conservation Society maintains that elephant populations are plummeting in the wild.”

      Where do they make that claim? You have to watch propaganda organizations like this one. Their entire existence is based on preserving wildlife and receiving donations from people who want to do that. So they give out information about one species, then talk about another species as if it were the same.

      There are two species of elephants: Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana. Elaphas is endangered and the numbers are in decline. Loxodonta is vulnerable and its numbers are increasing. The elephant that Makris shot was Loxodonta.

      Consult the IUCN red list instead of conservation organizations like the Wildlife Conservation Society for clear objective data.

  4. Hey John,

    when the big strong hunter drinks a toast with champagne over the animal he just mercilessly shot to death, it’s pretty easy to guess they’re having fun.

  5. Did you know the local people there ate the elephant he killed? If your concession here is honest, that should affect your assessment.

    damn good thing mr. makris traveled all the way to africa to feed the poor villagers. how heavy this white mans burden.

  6. The stupidest elephant on earth is a MENSA candidate compared to Tony Makris. I don’t know how he could possibly think what he did was manly or courageous. He’s obviously got delusions of being the great white hunter out of an old novel. He should go back on his drugs.

  7. Bob Kauten,

    Right. We destroy/take over their habitat and then say they are overpopulating the area. The 1% will probably be saying the same thing soon about poor and middle class humans.

  8. There’s rampant overpopulation, for sure. Of humans.

    That’ll take care of itself, but, unfortunately, they’ll take innocent animals to extinction with them.

    Makris wants to have a little sadistic “fun” before the party’s over.

  9. “Most of the overpopulation is due to loss of habitat — the animals, not their numbers, are huge and the land base to support them has shrunk.”

    That was stated awkwardly. If elephants were free to roam over their original ranges there would be no over-population issue at current levels.

    However, the over-population problem may actually sort itself out if weonly do nothing. See–

  10. And Davidm2757 is correct (gotta give credit where credit is due), there is an overpopulation of elephants in Africa and especially Botswana (paradoxically because its long and violent civil conflicts kept poachers at bay). Most of the overpopulation is due to loss of habitat — the animals, not their numbers, are huge and the land base to support them has shrunk.

    Absent some (hellaciously expensive) advance on the habitat front, the only option for the maintenance of healthy elephant herds is culling — cows and calves by government teams and the bulls by hunters who pay out the nose for the privilege.

    Reminds me of those best interest determinations in child welfare cases, where best interest of the child’s placement was usually a choice between really crappy alternatives.

  11. Dear Mr. Makris:

    Might I ask, how many birds are there? How many ducks? Pigeons? Rabits, squirrels, and deer/

    How many elephants are there? More than numbers separate the elephants from the animals you named.

    Would you care to know what else? No, you wouldn’t, being that you are probably a psychopath and couldn’t care less that an elephant is much more like people than the others you named.

    Meet the amazing creature you killed –

    I understand animal over-population issues, and I understand hunting as a game management tool and revenue enhancer for game protective services, and I understand the short term side benefits of employing and feeding the locals, and I appreciate fair chase hunting.

    What I can’t understand is . . . champagne? This is how you celebrate the harvest of such a noble animal? You, sir, are a poor, soulless shadow of a man destined to never know your place.

    These are wasted sentiments, but might I suggest you read some of the works of Aldo Leopold. In them you will find words such as these –

    “Thinking like a Mountain
    We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.…I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.”
    ― A Sand County Almanac: With Other Essays on Conservation from Round River

    I hunt. I have shot my share of small game, turkey and deer, and some elk. Celebrations are few and muted, prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving more prevalent. I hunt, hopefully, for the protection of the mountain.

    I started writing this piece nearly weeping for the elephant. I now feel the need to weep for you. You’ve no idea what you are missing.

    I pity you.

  12. **I forget what they’re called, but if you search back though Britain’s, Spain’s, etc., Ship’s Logs from their Navies you’ll see after about 14-15 days of starvation you would also eat your shipmate. **

    It may be longer?

    How long did that sports team that survive a plane crashing into the mountain in South America go hungry before they went cannibal?

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