When a 3-year old boy fell in an enclosure and came face to face with a gorilla at a zoo in Cincinatti, unfortunately for the majestic gorilla, the authorities made the decision to shoot it dead claiming that the little boy’s life was in danger.
What followed was a slew of angry posts all over the internet, attacking the boy’s parents – mainly his mother for letting her boy out of sight.
Apparently the boy crawled past a railing and fell 15ft into the gorilla exhibit moat, when his mother looked away for a few seconds (according to witnesses) to tend to other children in her care.
Whilst I understand the anger towards the situation, having young children myself and knowing how fearless and unpredictable they can be, I can’t help but feel it is unfair to blame the mother for the senseless death of the beautiful creature.
What about the zoo? Isn’t a family-friendly place such as a zoo supposed to have adequate safety measures that would prevent such a dangerous situation from even occurring in the first place?
And should the gorilla have been shot dead? Zoo director Maynard explains that trying to tranquilise the gorilla would have taken several attempts and would have caused the situation to get much worse.
Ok fair enough. But on the other hand could it be the case that the real reason they didn’t want to risk putting the boy in danger was that of protecting the reputation and financial security of the zoo? because inherently by protecting the child, the zoo is really protecting itself.
How? You may ask?
Well, if the boy was hurt, then its family could have sued the zoo very heftily and there would have been a totally different headline in this week’s news. So could it be that the reason the zoo took the decision to shoot the gorilla is because dear “Harambe” has no family to sue the zoo, to give interviews about how he was killed because the zoo did not act in his best interest? So whilst, yes their action probably saved the boy’s life, it also saved their reputation.
Yet, all over the world, the outrage is towards the mother. Not towards the zoo management, not towards the bystanders whose screams caused the gorilla to panic even more. It is the mother – who is expected, no matter what, to super-humanly ensure that her kids are never, ever, not even for a split second, out of her sight.
I am by all means not saying this mother is perfect. But then again, who is?
“Did the mother make a mistake?” Yes.
“Should she have held the boy tight when he said he wanted to go in the water?” In retrospect, yes.
“Could she have known that the boy would manage to crawl under the fence and fall into the pit with the gorilla?” Probably not.
When one goes back and re-evaluates what happened, yes it is very easy to blame the mother. Yet it is also easy to realise how the mother could not have been expected to know something so extreme will happen, if she looked away for one minute.
So, what if she acted differently? Would she have still been judged? Or would she have been applauded for being a fantastic mother.
Picture the following scenarios:
1) Mum did not take son to zoo; kept him home instead whilst she watched her favourite TV show, even though his dream was to see a gorilla in real life.
BAD MOTHER – she is stifling the boys’ freedom and limiting his life experiences.
2) Mum took son to zoo but kept him on a leash; boy cried because he hated the leash.
BAD MOTHER – children should not be treated like animals.
3) Boy threw a tantrum because he wanted to get closer to the edge of the spectator section to view the gorilla better. He screamed and cried but mum says no.
BAD MOTHER – too strict with her boy.
4) Boy fell in pit next to gorilla; mum cried and begged the authorities not to shoot the gorilla. Boy is crushed dead by the gorilla.
BAD MOTHER – how could she put the safety of the gorilla before her son?
So please go easy on this mother. Yes she made a mistake by letting her son out of her sight for a nano-second but if you have young kids you will know the hard work that goes with parenting and making sure your kids are out of danger at all times.
What’s for sure is that most of us would never have expected such a dangerous encounter to even be possible within such a “family-friendly” place as a zoo. So whilst it really makes me sad that this accident cost the life of the beautiful creature “Harambe”, and I appreciate that us humans need someone to take the blame for such a horrible occurrence. Before blaming the mother and posting nasty memes, think twice and appreciate that whilst not an endangered species, her son is an innocent human being, and the fact that he made it out alive should be celebrated.
R.I.P Harambe, I sincerely hope that your “senseless” death, as they are calling it, helps to serve as a lesson to Zoo companies all around the world to help improve security measures and avoid such preventable situations. And to all those nastily condemning the mother, then I hope that Karma does not catch up with you