For what it’s worth, the kerfuffle over the gorilla killed in the Cincinnati Zoo is bringing out the worst in people. Most commenters are taking at least some form of a hypocritical stance on the issue, but it’s actually much bigger than most people care to admit. First, I want to make it clear that I’m not letting the mother of child off the hook. I’m a mother, too . . .
I have a 3-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. I know the limits of both. For example, my daughter shot her BB gun, which she got from Santa, ten days after she turned three on Christmas day. My son, though, will be four in September and is far from being able to handle a BB gun. It isn’t a matter of size, it’s a matter of maturity. He’s not where his sister was when she was three and as their mother, it’s my job to know this.
I also know that if my son has to be told “no” more than once. I need to have my eyeballs glued to him almost all the time, not taking selfies of myself at the zoo.
That said, I also value life. Don’t we all? Why even bother carrying a loaded weapon if we don’t want to protect those we love with, God forbid, deadly violence if it comes to that? So if I’m willing to shoot a human who messes with my children. You can bet I would be willing to dispatch a gorilla slinging around my child.
Again, I’m not letting the mother off the hook here. But if my kid somehow accidentally fell into a gorilla enclosure and I saw my daughter being thrown around like a rag doll, I’d have needed to be shot because a tranquilizer wouldn’t have been enough to prevent me from going into that exhibit after her. And they would have had to shoot me prevent me from emptying my gun into that beast.
It’s not hard to decide whose life is more valuable. I choose my child over an animal…any animal, endangered or not.
The point isn’t that the zoo didn’t do the right thing. They did, of course. They did what was best to save a child’s life. Let’s be honest; that gorilla died the day they caged him anyway. If anyone truly cared about that animal, they would have petetioned for his release, not for “justice” after caging him lead to his death.
If we are blaming the mother for losing track of her child — and we should — we also need to blame those who caged a wild animal to begin with. Had he been in the wild where he belongs, no one would even known who Harambe is, nor would they care.