It’s Not Murder

 In Uncategorized

Okay, so I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to do it today and damn the consequences. Not that I think I am about to say anything controversial or out there. But if you have an opinion on the internet these days, it seems like you’re just getting yourself ready to be shot down in flames.

Because, you know, you disagreed with somebody else’s opinion.

The story of the little boy climbing into the gorilla enclosure in Cincinatti Zoo is an emotionally complex one to deal with. First of all we feel relief that the little boy is safe and in hospital and expected to make a full recovery from his ordeal. Well, you’d think that would be the natural impulse, wouldn’t you?

Thank goodness that poor boy was saved. He could have been savaged by that gorilla. This event could have resulted in life changing injuries, or even death.

And I think for most people that is the natural response.

I really do. I believe in the innate goodness of the human race. That deep down, when you strip away cultural differences, the belief in entitlement, doctrine and power plays, I believe that people are generally good.

But then I look at the reporting of this story, and some of the comments that are on social media, and I can’t help but think that maybe I’m wrong.

Am I seriously supposed to read this story and automatically assume that the parents of this child are ‘murderers’?

That the mother is to blame because she couldn’t look after her child properly, and that we need to start a petition to punish parents who lose a child?



I’m going to be charitable, and assume that all these people who are putting the responsibility of the gorilla’s death onto the parents don’t actually have children. Because anyone who has even one child and has taken them out in a public space will have lost that child at some point. No matter how attentive a parent is, children are independent, adventurous and bloody minded individuals, intent on exploring their surroundings.

All it takes is a moment’s inattention, and they’re gone.

They’re gone.

And sometimes, tragically, some of those children never come back.

But a lot of people don’t seem to be able to think in this way anymore. The killing of Harambe is unmistakably a tragedy. Absolutely. But only an idiot reared on a diet of TV cop shows would realistically expect a 400 pound gorilla to drop to the floor the moment it was hit with a tranquilliser dart. The zoo officials had to act quickly and efficiently to make that child safe, and that is what they did.

It’s not murder.

And the parents aren’t responsible for the death of Harambe.

Maybe as a society we need to start examining our own relationship with the natural world. Because I think that is where a lot of this shit is coming from.

After all, who the hell is responsible for the fact that the silverback gorilla is an endangered species in the first place?

That’s right.

We are.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Vanessa-Jane Chapman

    I couldn’t agree more! Everything you’ve said there is exactly the same things I’ve thought. Anyone who has been a parent knows that you only have to turn your back for a second and a small child can get up to all sorts! I’ve seen calls from people saying the child should be taken away from the parents. They have no idea exactly how it happened, or what type of parents the child’s parents are, and yet they see fit to make those judgements! I was surprised actually that more people weren’t blaming the zoo for it having been apparently so easy for a small child to get in there (I’m not saying I’m blaming them, just expressing surprise that more people weren’t). As you say, nobody is denying the tragedy of the whole situation, nobody would want the gorilla to be killed, but on the other hand if he hadn’t been shot and had gone on to kill the child, then everyone would have said why didn’t the zoo do what it needed to do to save the child! They had no choice really, it certainly won’t have been a decision they took lightly. Even if the gorilla didn’t want to deliberately harm the child, you only have to look at the part of the video where he is dragging the child through the water to see that the child could so easily have been harmed or killed. It’s all terribly sad, but thankfully the boy at least is ok.

    • Ken Preston

      Absolutely. It staggers me that people feel they can shout about stuff they know nothing about, purely because they are doing it on a computer, and not face to face with the people involved. The Zoo officials took a difficult decision in a fast moving situation, and as far as I can tell they made the right one. The only one.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Mary lou

    I just read joe coffin episode one and downloaded two. Great book. Thank you for making these both available through ebooks. Love your writing

    • Ken Preston

      Wow, thank you. I hope you enjoy Season Two. Season Three is almost finished and will be out soon. Thanks again for letting me know.

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