By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Aug 04, 2015 at 1:05 PM

The death of Cecil the beloved lion in Zimbabwe has awakened a long dormant strain that has risen briefly in the past only to retreat behind a wall of inattention.

The strain is mine and the mantra it carries comes with a question mark at the end: "Are people who kill living things for sport crazy or cruel?"

This is probably blasphemous in Wisconsin, a state that puts deer hunting right at the top of life’s great pleasures, along with the Green Bay Packers, pungent cheese and great sex.

But I’ve felt, all my life, that hunting is stupid and cruel. And the controversy over the killing of Cecil has only added fuel to the embers.

Think about this. Some rich guy pays $50,000 to go halfway around the world to kill a lion so he can cut the head off, have the inside of it scraped out, get it stuffed and then put it up on a wall in his house or office or garage or outhouse. Not only did he kill the lion but he and/or his guides lured the beast out of a safety zone so that he could kill it.

This whole thing is shameful and I just don’t understand how someone can possibly enjoy a hobby that involves killing another living thing.

Sir Roger Moore is an actor who played 007, the famous James Bond, who knew a thing or two about danger and courage under fire.

"Hunting is a coward’s pastime, and no one has demonstrated that more clearly than the American dentist Walter Palmer," Moore said.  

Palmer, by the way, has gone into hiding after the story of his killing has spread. If he thinks hunting is so good, why isn’t he standing up and defending himself?

I love what comedian Paul Rodriguez said about hunting.

"Hunting is not a sport," he said. "In a sport, both sides know they are in the game."

Hunting is hardly a contest. The guy with the gun always wins. Always.

I went deer hunting once with a photographer I knew. He and five of his buddies went hunting together every year and I went with them once. Between the beer, brandy and bullcrap nobody killed anything. But I wondered about a bunch of adults, half-drunk, wandering around the woods with loaded guns. I mean, really?

We get a lot of deer in our backyard. When I see them grazing in the back I wonder what the adrenaline charge  would be if I pulled out a gun and shot one dead.  Why in the world would that make anyone happy?

You need a hobby? Try golf or stamp collecting or guitar or watch repair. Those don’t hurt anything.

I know hunters are going to argue about thinning the deer herd or their constitutional right to keep a gun and go hunting with it.  These are excuses, not reasons, for hunting.

Now, I know that a lot of people who think they are perfectly honorable, are going to go crazy over this. But if you kill living things just for fun, you’ve got a step or two to go before you get to honorable.

I also know that a lot of the nuts are going to say I’m a wuss or a chicken or you don’t like my eyebrows or that I’m a coward who’s afraid of a gun or a fight. All that’s going to prove is that you really are one of the nuts.

I have several things to say about all of the insults.

Lots of people love my eyebrows. I’ve actually fought in a war. I’ve carried a gun for a reason. And I’m not in the least bit of a wuss or a chicken. But I am a little conflicted.

I don’t know what’s more barbaric: hunting or Mixed Martial Arts.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.