There Once Was a Gorilla Named Harambe

Some things just happen.

They are beyond our control:
Cancer.
Tornadoes.
Earthquakes.
Donald Trump’s Mouth.

And then there are things we CAN control:
Our behavior
Our attitude
Returning the martini to the bar because you were shortchanged on the vodka…
And children falling into gorilla habitats.

I made a comment recently on Facebook about the death of Harambe, the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. I made the comment the day of the event:
“A little boy is in the hospital with serious injuries and a beautiful gorilla is dead because whoever was in charge of watching that little boy…didn’t. It’s a sad day, indeed.”
(Note: the little boy did not suffer any serious injuries as the initial reports claimed-thank goodness)

Some of my Facebook friends took issue with the statement, claiming that “things just happen,” and “it’s nobody’s fault.” It’s a common societal theme, this “nobody is to blame” mindset. And I welcomed their comments, because discussion is a good thing to have. And boy, did we discuss. And discuss. And discuss.

And after the discussion, and a lot of thought and analyzing the situation from all angles, I still feel the same way: somebody wasn’t watching this child closely enough.

It’s not a judgement; it’s a fact.
Because children do not just end up in gorilla habitats.

I’m sure this mother loves her child; I am in no way saying she is an awful parent or should have her child removed from her guardianship, or she should be beaten with sticks or anything of the sort. I am simply saying that is NOT one of those things beyond our control. This was a result of an action, or more accurately, an inaction.

Cause and effect.
Because, again, children do not just end up in gorilla habitats.

“Oh yeah, my kid crawled through barriers, and dropped into the moat at the zoo’s gorilla enclosure. It happens. It’s nobody’s fault.”

Well…that makes no sense. Of course the fault lies with the person in charge of the child. Do children become separated from even the most responsible of parents? Yes, but when they do, it is STILL the fault of the parent.
Because again, children do not just end up in gorilla habitats.

Listen, there is no perfect parent, or perfect anything (Grey Goose is close, though) And as parents, we have all done bonehead things regarding our children and when we have, we take responsibility. It’s not that we want it to happen, but when it does, it is still our fault, as we are our children’s caregivers. When we fail despite our best intentions, and we all do, we still fail.

And it breaks our heart, because we know it is our fault.

But the Internet, unable to discuss things logically and respectfully, has puffed itself up to three times its size. The Internet outrage over this incident has reached a fever-pitch with comments calling for the mother’s head on a spike to the suggestion that the gorilla’s life was more important than the child’s. Opinions are fine, but hate is not. When a discussion loses all perspective and descends into disregard for human life, the argument becomes invalid.

Come on, Internet people. Really? All you’ve done is assure anyone who agrees that this not a “blameless” incident can not freely speak their mind without fear of being branded hateful. Once again, well done, Internet…THIS is why we can’t have nice things. Or respectful discussions.

We can disagree till the cows come home as to where the blame lies, but at least we can remove blame from one individual: his name was Harambe. He was a 17 year old gorilla living in the Cincinnati Zoo and he was shot dead on Saturday, May 28, 2016.

But, hey, it’s “nobody’s fault.”
xoxo

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