When I was 6 or 7 I went to the zoo with my family like most families do. My family was walking with 3 kids in tow, and I had turned around to look at something, when I turned back around I was overcome with fear and terror, my family was gone! Anxiety was building up and not only was I terrified of never finding them again, I was scared of getting in trouble. I ran off in the direction I hoped they were heading since we had discussed the reptile house, and luckily rejoined them before they even realized I was missing. Moral of the story – it takes 2 seconds for a child to become detached from their family, and even a super alert family (such as mine) could somehow not notice that a child is missing. This was over 20 years ago, but it’s not so different now. My family wasn’t “bad” and definitely weren’t guilty of neglect. If I had been a kid who was more prone to dangerous activities as opposed to the kid who was worried about disappointing an adult, I could’ve easily found myself climbing into any number of exhibits that day. So here we are, you’ve caught the purpose of my tale, yes, I’m talking about Harambe and the tragic incident that occurred this past week.
People are crucifying the “boy who fell in the gorilla exhibit’s mother, sending death threats and more. Everyone is the “that would NEVER happen to me” parent, even though we all know the same people holding the pitch forks probably don’t buckle their kids in properly in their car seat, or they don’t pay much attention when they’re eating bite size foods, or they walk away when they’re in the bathtub for 2 seconds, or they don’t have all of the furniture bolted to the walls to keep it from falling over, or the curtain strings still dangle, or the outlets are exposed, and the list goes on…all situations where tragedy can occur, but “it will never happen to me”, until it does.
I don’t know exactly what happened that day, but I know there were other people there aside from this child’s mother. Should the parents have been paying better attention? Sure! Absolutely! However, if multiple others saw this child scaling the exhibit barricades, why did no one else stop him? Why did no one help or yell for him to get down? As for the loss of the beautiful gorilla, Harambe, I am sad that such a majestic creature had to lose his life. My sorrow stops there and turns to great joy to learn that the child is doing well. Child’s life over the gorilla any day, any time, always. If that had been my child, I wouldn’t have hesitated to do whatever was necessary to help my child. For those saying the mother should’ve jumped into the exhibit…how was she supposed to get in there? I assume the child was small enough to maneuver around the barricades, and that an adult body wouldn’t fit. Not to mention, I can’t imagine it would’ve done a whole lot of good for her to join him. I have to add that a four year old has no idea the long-term consequences of their actions, and this boy could not have predicted his actions would result in the death of the gorilla – or all of the grief his mother is facing. There’s no way the mother could’ve known her 4 year old would actually find a way to get himself into the situation he found himself in either. What I have to say about all of that is MAYBE EVERYONE WILL STOP CRITICIZING PARENTS FOR USING HARNESSES NOW???
All in all, I think the situation was handled properly by zoo staff and I am grateful the little boy is alive. The same people “mourning” the loss of the gorilla turned around and celebrated by having huge barbeques for Memorial Day, which consisted of the meat of hundreds of animals (yeah, research that burger meat) that were killed. Endangered or not, once the line was crossed and the child was in danger, the child first always. If you have such a heart for animals, there are numerous organizations you can get involved in, also, make sure you don’t litter or throw away garbage that could end up endangering an animal.
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