Idaho State University Employee Triggers Outrage With Taunting Pictures of Big Game Kills In Africa

Sabrina-Corgatelli_3395602bThe alleged unlawful killing of two lions by two separate American doctors has caused an international outcry and demands for extradition to Zimbabwe for prosecution. (here and here). However, one American woman is using the controversies to taunt animal lovers and apparently drive up traffic on her Facebook site. Sabrina Corgatelli is believed to come from Boise, Idaho and is reportedly a university accountant at Idaho State University who also runs a clothing company called Racks and Ridges. She teased those objecting to the illegal hunts by saying “To all the haters. Stay tuned, you’re gonna have so much more to be pissed off about.” She then posted various photos from the “trip of a lifetime” posing with the corpses of a giraffe, warthog, kudu and impala during a trip to South Africa. To be sure to ignite those grieving over the death of Cecil the Lion, Corgatelli posted a series of pictures with such notes as “All you haters, This is for you!! Have a great day, cuz I know I will!!’

Sabrina-Corgatelli_3395604bThere is no indication that the killings by Corgatelli were illegal. However, the postings have deepened the debate over trophy hunts in Africa and other countries. What is most interesting in this public debate is the total disconnect in how both sides view the experience. Frankly, as a lifelong hiker, I journey great distances to see animals in the wild and could not imagine shooting them and posing with their dead bodies. Yet, this precisely the “beauty” that people like Corgatelli refer to in such “trips of a lifetime.” After shooting a large African antelope called a kudu, she wrote “Yesterday, day 1 an amazing day!!! Got my beautiful beautiful Kudu!! It was my #1 want on my list and I got him on the first day!!! Loving it there!!” Likewise, after killing a giraffe, she wrote “Such an amazing animal!! I couldn’t be any happier!! My emotion after getting him was a feeling I will never forget!!!”

Those postings leaves animal advocates and many environmentalists seething at the notion that one sees such an “amazing animal” and then extracts joy from killing it. After killing a huge warthog, Corgatelli rejoiced in killing “one of Africa’s icons.”

I am truly fascinated by the cultural and emotive divergence in such stories. Many hunters are in fact committed environmentalists and love and respect nature. The current debate has not seriously raised questions over deer, duck, and other common hunting game which are plentiful. It is focused on “big game.” Moreover, places like South Africa make a huge amount of money on eco-tourism, particularly photo safaris. These countries risk a backlash if they are also hosting people who want the joy of killing the very same animals. Notably, giraffe hunts are allowed for trophies despite the fact that the giraffe population has been reportedly falling. A package for wealthy hunters allows them to kill multiple animals for $5,400 while the giraffe carries a ‘trophy fee’ of $2,600 by itself.

Corgatelli_warthog_3395607b Corgatelli has become the target of outrage but her postings have also generated more than 7,000 “likes.” In response to those leaving irate messages, she posted a biblical reference from Genesis 9:3 in which God tells Isaac: “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” It is not clear if she ate warthog and the hundreds of pounds of meat that she killed or gave the meat to locals.

2B07153A00000578-3182671-Defiant_Corgatelli_keeps_up_her_posts_despite_a_tide_of_protest-a-8_1438485747892When actively seeking such notoriety, there is also a possible backlash at a university for an employee. Idaho is a big hunting state so the backlash is likely to be far less than at many other universities. Some people have posted demands that she be fired. As I have argued in the past, I do not believe that it is appropriate for universities to take action. Corgatelli has free speech rights and what she is doing appears perfectly legal. We have a disagreement for what is fun. Where some of us see the beauty in watching animals in the wild and leaving them in pristine locations, others like Corgatelli long to kill those animals. We disagree but that is no reason to seek to punish Corgatelli because she is open about his passion for big game hunting or her desire to participate in the international debate as a hunter advocate. I certainly believe that it is inappropriate for a university to chill such speech and punish those with different values. Ironically, the taunts of Corgatelli likely embarrass most hunters and work to the advantage of animal activists calling for new laws barring such trophy hunts in Africa.

For my part, I am still in Yosemite hiking with the kids in some of the most beautiful locations in the world. I would be thrilled to see a mountain lion today and enjoy not just watching it but leaving it in this wonderful place. Indeed, knowledge that it is still up in these mountains is part of my “trip of a lifetime.”

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112 thoughts on “Idaho State University Employee Triggers Outrage With Taunting Pictures of Big Game Kills In Africa”

  1. Patric,

    I apologize if my comment on yours came off as snippy, unhinged, callous, etc. I hold you in a very high regard, and I believe you are doing a great service for the public. I find your writing to be enjoyably intelligent and thoughtful. I do agree with a lot of what you say, however some things were not clear to me- and they could be interpreted in either direction. I think I disagree with you on this particular subject.

  2. I suspect it is considerably easier to rationalize societal violence, when one doesn’t deal with the human wretchedness on a weekly basis.

    We reap what we sow.

  3. Antonio
    Red State laws regarding voter ID’s are being struck down…
    “… you want to censure or destroy any idea, thought or practice with which you disagree. And destroy anyone who engages in such.”

  4. Davidm2575 said this:

    “It doesn’t really have anything to do with bettering humankind.”

    Oh, I say it does. We already know that adult behavior has a considerable impact on the emotional balance and wellbeing of children. Our local schools right here in Redlands California are grappling with this issue as we speak, even before the school year starts. Teachers and counselors are prepping for the challenge of how they are going to address the questions they already know are in the works. The same challenge is happening in schools all over this nation.

    “Does he have the right to pursue happiness in this way? Well, as long as he doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

    My whole point. It is hurting, and it’s hurting plenty. Lethal recreation can and does emotionally affect considerably more folks than the players involved.

    “Did the dentist hurt anyone else in the process? Well, yes, the researchers and others who observed that particular lion were saddened to lose the lion. But if they did not own the lion, then what claim do they have?”

    “Claim” is a legal term. They have no legal claim. My discussion has nothing to do with law. It has everything to do with the constant, drip-drip deterioration of civil behavior.

    “The question really comes down to whether the company the dentist hired had the proper permits to allow them to take a lion on that day. It has nothing to do with the net good to humankind.”

    Correction: The “legal” question comes down to that. And that will likely be adjudicated. My argument is not the law. My argument is exactly what Mill argued:

    “Conduct is right – graded on the curve of other possible conduct – if it leads to the optimal balance of societal tranquility. Conversely, an action is wrong to the extent that it results in societal distress.”

    Now, one of my 3 jobs is professional driver training instructor, Most – but not all – of my students are teens. And I can assure you that the death of these creatures is disturbing to developing minds that already have far too many adult-level challenges to deal with.

    The crapification of modern society is an ugly thing to behold, and all you have to do is look around.

    1. PatricParamedic wrote: “My whole point. It is hurting, and it’s hurting plenty. Lethal recreation can and does emotionally affect considerably more folks than the players involved.”

      What are you saying? Are you trying to say that hunting causes permanent emotional harm to those who hear about it?

      PatricParamedic wrote: “Conduct is right – graded on the curve of other possible conduct – if it leads to the optimal balance of societal tranquility. Conversely, an action is wrong to the extent that it results in societal distress.”

      In the long term, this might be a satisfactory definition, but in the short term it can be a very misleading metric. Martin Luther King, Jr. caused a lot of societal distress in the short term. So did Gandhi. So did Jesus Christ. In fact, I am not sure that any profitable societal reform was ever accomplished without societal distress.

      Furthermore, it is self evident that the tranquility of the individual and the tranquility of the collective often are at odds with each other. The hunter wants to hunt. The collective might not like the sound of the gun or the idea that he is killing an animal. How do we then determine whether the conduct is good or bad? We have to weigh the liberty of the individual to be free to do what makes him happy with the love and tolerance of others in society being able to allow it. Ultimately this is the purpose of the law, to define these lines of conduct.

      1. Why do people quote and idolize a man who indisputably did the following:

        1. Plagiarized his PhD thesis.

        2. Regularly plagiarized his public speeches.

        3. Was a serial adulterer. In fact, slept with a woman not his wife the night before he was murdered.

        4. Used church funds to procure prostitutes, often beating them up afterwards.

        That individual was Martin Luther King, Jr. The only individual other than Jesus Christ to be honored with a public holiday.

        And people put him on a pedestal along with Gandhi and Jesus Christ. Amazing!

  5. Patric: ” Future debates will surely rage on just how much suffering and death can be rightfully meted out upon other life-forms. ”

    Just the right amount. No more, no less =P.

    “Mill’s utilitarian advocates believe that conduct is right – graded on the curve of other possible conduct – if it leads to the optimal balance of societal tranquility. Conversely, an action is wrong to the extent that it results in societal distress. Mill refined his argument further by stating that the concepts of duty and obligation are secondary to – and driven by – that which increases happiness and diminishes harmful outcomes to the rest of society.”

    I also argue, with this concept- that the statists, collectivists, communists of all stripes, will have to kill me, and everyone who thinks like me, in order to have the optimal societal tranquility they desire.

    “Specific elimination of maladapted individuals from a population is natural selection.”

    Who decides who is maladapted? I believe that I have been marked as a ‘maladapted’ person, or at least with a faulty logic which needs ‘correction’, according to my ‘betters’.

    Unless that statement was for someone like Katherine Chappell, who was maladapted for African Safari.

    A lion doesn’t know your rights.

    1. Marty
      Why? Because you don’t approve of sport hunting, that’s why. And as a good leftist, you want to censure or destroy any idea, thought or practice with which you disagree. And destroy anyone who engages in such.
      Nothing illegal was done by this lady. From all appearances, she had the proper licenses and permits. Not to mention she put over $50,000 into the economy where the hunt occured.
      If we Red Staters are so wicked, backward and morally deficient, LET US GO. Secession YES! I want a divorce from the rotting cesspool which is rapidly becoming a 3d world country.

  6. It was 250 years ago when Immanuel Kant proffered his brilliant thoughts on right and wrong. What we now call Kantian Ethics carries impressive weight in our classrooms and courtrooms, even today. Kant’s Principle of Humanity argued that life-forms should be treated humanely by saving them when we can and alleviating suffering – proper respect for the miracle of life. And that is indeed a fundamental of a righteous society. Of course it was also Kant who proposed that moral expectations are based on what he called the Categorical Imperative. Unethical behavior, Kant said, violates this societal imperative and is therefore not rational.

    Bernard Gert grew famous in part because he expounded that there are no true ethical rules of good will at all – only ethical ideals. Obligations in a moral society, he surmised, are defined by shunning injury and acts of bad will. Gert’s opinion was that we share no obligation to promote good – but rather to minimize the causes of evil. Those of rational mind would treat all of life with the aim of non-injury. Gert argued with great passion that causing harm is immoral.

    Over the extent of recorded history plenty has been written – and much wisdom can be mined – from the cogency of those of considerably brighter mind than our own. From Confucius to Aristotle, from Descartes to Socrates, dozens of intellectuals have proffered enlightened points of view on the matter of exactly how an ethical society ought to behave.

    But at some point in the human future, we anticipate that heads will nod in agreement with John Stuart Mill’s clarifications of Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarianism – that the moral worth of any action is determined by its resulting outcome. Future debates will surely rage on just how much suffering and death can be rightfully meted out upon other life-forms. Mill, who expanded much of his inductive logic from Avicenna, ancient Persia’s finest philosopher, argued that moral thinkers had scribed a litany of unconvincing and unimpressive theories, that could be better whittled into a single standard of ethics – one that allows society to more readily determine what is right and what is wrong. He proffered the Principle of Utility – the “greatest happiness” theorem – as the basic foundation of ethical behavior. Conduct is moral in proportion to its provision of happiness for everybody else.

    Behaviors are immoral, he said, if they produce less happiness among the rest of us.

    This offers up an uncomplicated proposition – a dispassionate assessment of a better path for humankind may lie in acts which contribute to overall wellbeing and reduced suffering.

    Mill’s utilitarian advocates believe that conduct is right – graded on the curve of other possible conduct – if it leads to the optimal balance of societal tranquility. Conversely, an action is wrong to the extent that it results in societal distress. Mill refined his argument further by stating that the concepts of duty and obligation are secondary to – and driven by – that which increases happiness and diminishes harmful outcomes to the rest of society.

    Consider this for a moment: ever-growing pockets of fomenting resentment – for any reason – have no choice but to contribute to a toxic environment. The scientific specialty of brain plasticity tells us that changes in the environment create changes in the neural pathways of the brain. As negative behavior socially accumulates, mutations within some brains invariably short circuit rational thinking.

    The subsequent incivility and inhumanity we see today – even in grade school classrooms – quite naturally pass on to the next generation, guaranteeing a constant withering of human decency; first as sub-cultural tendencies; eventually as a species commonality.

    Those who “love” to kill and rationalize the demise may well live to out-breed those who don’t. Why? Because our kids are watching all of this play out.

    At some point in America’s future, we envision a sea-change in what law-abiding citizenry will tolerate. They just might demand those governing the masses seek peace by inflicting ever more painful consequences on those who kill for fun. We suspect they will do so in part by once again acknowledging the unflinching laws of nature that seems to permeate the cosmos – one of which is this:

    “Specific elimination of maladapted individuals from a population is natural selection.”

    So the simple question here can be whittled down to its most basic thoughts:

    Did the dentist killing the lion – or these other hunters – add to the net “good” of humankind?

    Are we a better version of ourselves – or measurably diminished – because of blood-sport? Are we to believe that the scales of “fairness” remain unmoved?

    Through a dispassionate eye, which of these life-forms is better adapted? Which of these life-forms are more likely “maladapted?”

    One guy’s thoughts.

    .

    1. PatricParamedic wrote: “So the simple question here can be whittled down to its most basic thoughts: Did the dentist killing the lion – or these other hunters – add to the net “good” of humankind?”

      It doesn’t really have anything to do with bettering humankind. It made the dentist happy to travel halfway around the world and prevail against a lion with his bow. Does he have the right to pursue happiness in this way? Well, as long as he doesn’t hurt anyone else, if he doesn’t break any laws, then yes, he has that right.

      Did the dentist hurt anyone else in the process? Well, yes, the researchers and others who observed that particular lion were saddened to lose the lion. But if they did not own the lion, then what claim do they have? Some people are offended by the killing of any animal. We don’t ban eating meat just because some people are saddened by those who do.

      The question really comes down to whether the company the dentist hired had the proper permits to allow them to take a lion on that day. It has nothing to do with the net good to humankind.

      Interestingly, though, if that question really was important to someone, it could be argued that a dead lion eaten by humans is of greater net value to humankind than a live lion that potentially might kill a human. Check out the following story:

      “Katherine Chappell went to South Africa on a volunteer mission to protect wildlife. But as the 29-year-old American was taking photos of a pride of lions at a safari park on Monday, one of them leaped up against the vehicle she was in and fatally attacked her, according to accounts of the incident.”
      http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/03/africa/south-africa-lion-attack/

      1. david – I saw an article (didn’t save it) that the funding for monitoring the lion was coming from pro-hunting groups.

  7. Guys, she lives in Idaho. its hard to find people that don’t hunt in Idaho. My family and I like to hunt for meat, don’t get me wrong a nice mule deer always make my day but we eat what we hunt.

  8. Imagine … if you encroach on a wild animal’s territory and threaten its young, it just possibly will attack you, even if it’s an herbivore.
    Seems like a perfect justification to gun it down.

    Because after all, what better way is there to show respect and admiration for wildlife than shoot them, skin them, and mount their heads on your wall?

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