Friday, June 3, 2016

On Gorillas and Human Children

You know what's really sickening about this whole Cincinnati Zoo situation? That fact that so many people seem to care more about a gorilla than a human boy. That we anthropomorphize an ape and are callous to the plight of our fellow man. I have seen so much vitriol showered upon the parents of this boy, and so much sadness expressed for the death of an animal, yet no one has talked about how this traumatic situation has affected (and will CONTINUE to) affect this little 4 year old boy. This is something that will live with this boy forever and you can be sure that he will have issues that will be prevalent throughout his life due to his 10 minute ordeal in the gorilla's enclosure. Instead of anthropomorphizing a gorilla, we should be worried about the mental (and physical health) of this scared little boy, a human being.

Because of internet anonymity, it seems everyone on various blogs and news outlet websites has become an armchair judge, jury and executioner. There aren't enough facts to go on to call these parents "negligent", and there aren't enough facts to mock the mother who called out to her boy that she loved him by saying "if she loved him why'd she let him get in the enclosure. Nor is it fair to say that these parents are worthy of the "Darwin award" and this 4 year old boy won't make it to adulthood with these parents. These are all comments I've read by people who are making a knee jerk reaction to the situation. Watch the video below and get the facts. Did you know that this boy also had a 7 or 8 year old sister who was horrified at what had happened, and saw the gorilla get shot as her little brother was in between the gorilla's legs at the time of the shooting? Could it be that the parents were tending to this little girl and took their eyes off the boy for a second? If your a parent of multiple kids (as I am) you know that this might happen occasionally, God forbid, and it doesn't make you a negligible parent.

Before we point fingers, let's realize that the zoo had more facts than you, or I, or anyone else, which is why they AREN'T prosecuting the parents. That gorilla is an animal; it doesn't matter how the boy got into the enclosure. He was there. A human being's life was in danger. The right call was made to shoot the gorilla, as zoo director Thayne Maynard said. This anthropomorphizing of animals has to stop. The vitriolic and ignorant comments throughout the web makes that apparent. We can have warm fuzzy feelings for a gorilla that got shot, but forget about the mental state of a scared, fragile 4 year old boy and his seven year old sister. Yeah right. This was a tragic situation and it's sad it ended the way it did, especially since this species of gorilla is endangered. But it's time to wake up and have some compassion for our fellow man instead of an animal. I care much more for the well-being of this young boy and his sister than I do a gorilla. I would hope if you were at that zoo you would've made the same decision Mr. Maynard and his team did: Save the human being at all costs.

Get the facts in this video, and realize that the zoo knew what to do in this situation more than we did:

Now, I'm also not saying the mother shouldn't get some backlash. Notice I never defended her, I simply don't know the situation. Was the father there too? Or another relative who should've had eyes on the boy while she was tending to her daughter?

But then, if that's so, why wasn't that person or relative watching the boy? Someone dropped the ball regardless, and whoever let the boy have the opportunity to get into the enclosure should get some flack. But to call the parents negligent when we don't have all the facts? Sorry, I won't do that. The zoo is not pressing charges, and they know more about the situation than us. Until more circumstances are released (that's even if they are, which I highly doubt), I won't pass judgement on these parents' characters. I don't know enough to make that assumption. All I can say is that whoever was watching that boy should've kept a better eye on that boy. To call their character into question is asking me to speculate on what happened. I trust the zoo's judgement as they were present at the situation first hand.

Some people have also been mentioning that some commenters are saying things like "So what if all the gorillas died?" apparently meaning that they are "OK" with the extinction of an entire species. There's overreactions on both sides. It'd be a shame "if all the gorillas died", so saying "so what" to that is pretty ridiculous, I agree. I'm not OK with the extinction of any animals; I'm strongly against poaching of elephants, rhinos and other endangered species, and our world would certainly suffer a great loss if these species went extinct.

But here's the crux of the matter: we can't anthropomorphize animals to the extent that they become greater or equal to that of a human life. And that's exactly what's happening with this "Justice for Harambe" hashtag. Someone needs to be held accountable for the horrible tragedy that happened at the zoo, but I'm not going to call for justice for an animal. I'm more worried about how that boy will recover and how that sister will have the image of her brother being inches away from getting shot seared into her brain forever.

Humans and animals are all God's creatures, but will one say that this animal is on equal footing with the dignity due to a human being? We are rational animals. There's a big difference between a human being and a gorilla, which is why the decision to shoot the gorilla was the best course of action by the Cincinnati Zoo. The protection of that human life is paramount.

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