Do we care more about dead lions than murdered people?

The Empire State Building lit up for a cause over the weekend with images of endangered animals from around the world projected onto the building to raise awareness.

The event was planned before Cecil the lion was killed, but it comes as an outpouring of grief from that incident is making headlines.

"People just get passionate about something going wrong," said one National Zoo visitor.

Another said, "Animals are just a cause that a lot of people are behind right now."

All of this attention is happening as murder rates are on the rise in many of America's cities this summer.

Last year, Northeastern University in Boston showed 240 people fake news stories involving violence on animals and on humans. Emotional reactions to the animal stories were much stronger.

Gene Policinski of the Newseum said it is an attention gap that is growing thanks in part to social media. "Now you just tag it, send it, put it on Twitter. So, it's a lot easier to share those kinds of stories right now."

But some people said it is not all about emotions. Instead, it is about what they can stop and what they cannot.

"They probably think they can have more control or more effect on that than what's happening right around them," said one National Zoo visitor.

The bright spot? If we can feel strongly about animals, perhaps we can feel stronger about each other.