It’s Not Murder
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.
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?