This past holiday weekend a child somehow found their way into a gorilla enclosure which resulted in the death of a rare, 17-year-old, silverback gorilla.
Since then, there’s been a huge outcry — either from assholes who don’t have kids, don’t give a fuck about other people’s kids, or don’t give a fuck about black kids and are otherwise terrible people — over who’s at fault for the gorilla’s death. Some idiots are placing blame on the zoo. Most of the vilification is directed towards the parents and their lack of “effective parenting.” So much so that I now have a cursory knowledge of a terrorized father’s criminal record (Wait, did he run up on the gorilla with an AK-47?), and a distraught mother is getting death threats. (Because of course that’s logical.)
While I understand what occurred was a terrible ordeal, there shouldn’t be any debate over the end result. The gorilla had to die because safety protocol dictated that it had to die. That is to say; HUMAN LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT OF AN ANIMAL BECAUSE WE ARE HUMANS.
Shit happens. A parent’s greatest fear is that something grave is going to happen to their child. I’m not interested in examining how the boy fell into the fucking moat or the animal’s motives. (How about I throw your dumb ass in that exhibit and let a 400-pound behemoth “protect” you by dragging you around?) As a parent of a beautiful, hardly functional (he poops on himself), fun sized (he’s 20 months old) human being, I understand that it’s hard to keep track of their every move. Even if you’re skilled enough to commit hours of completely unbroken surveillance (which is nearly impossible), there’s still a chance that something undesirable may occur. Kids are extremely unpredictable, as is the world in which we live.
We’d all like to think that we would never let something like this Harambe situation happen to our cherished offspring (or theoretical child), but the fact is we don’t know. The only thing we can do is give a valiant effort and pray that the Holy water our local Pastor placed upon the crown of their head, or the benevolent goodness of the cosmic universe, protects them.
While some of y’all busy condemning this woman as the worst mother known to man, y’all are doing irresponsible shit too. Like letting little Jimmy smack you in the damn face because he demands fruit snacks and an iPad. Or completely forgetting to pick Susie up from daycare. Or leaving your infant to die in a car so you can attend a fucking meeting. Or texting while driving with your kids in the backseat on national fucking television. (Some of y’all do this shit every day. STOP!) Or even letting your child slip into a gorilla exhibit. (Yes, this also happened 20 years ago.)
Fun fact: My dad once lost me in a creepy ass Sears, when I was 3. This was circa 1989 when pedophiles were readily sitting in white vans waiting to snatch kids just for sport. According to my mother, she told my pops five times to hold my hand and keep an eye on me, which he did. Yet, I still got loose. Because I was 3. I was small, quick as hell, and thought it was a fabulous idea to hide for 15 minutes underneath an apparel fixture. This doesn’t make my dad “a derelict piece of shit” or mean that “stupid people breed stupid babies.” (Just a few of the ridiculous comments I have read about this boy and his mother.) It only means that SHIT HAPPENS.
And let’s stop pretending that half you faux animal rights activists care about this gorilla. You don’t. You didn’t even know of his existence let alone that Cincinnati had a zoo. (I’ve been there, and it’s kind of a cool zoo.) If you gave a fuck about this gorilla, you’d protest the senseless killing of animals everywhere. Folks out here still recreationally hunting lions, rhinos, and bears, but you mad about this shit?
Luckily there are safety parameters in place to ensure our well-being should shit go south in a hurry. Whether you’re eating a sandwich at Panera Bread or enjoying a day at the zoo, there exists a protocol for worst-case scenarios. And they all prioritize the safety and well-being of HUMANS. The Cincinnati Zoo promptly followed those procedures to prevent the worst possible outcome, a dead child.
The argument whether tranquilizers should have been used is mute and dumb as shit too. Contrary to the honorary degree you think you earned from the University of Google or knowledge you gained from a pet-detective named Ace Ventura, sleeping agents don’t work instantly. In the time, it would have taken for the tranquilizers to take effect who’s to say the gorilla wouldn’t have smashed this child’s skull as if it were a Tahitian coconut? We don’t. Thus, you don’t leave situations like this to chance.
There’s no doubt in my mind that if this boy were white, the mother and child would have a calendar full of invites to every morning talk show. They’d be sitting there cackling it up with Ellen, as she brought out a little monkey for the toddler to play with. The boy would then talk about the valuable lesson he learned. I should have listened to my mother. Also, gorillas are huge as shit and better viewed from afar. We’d hear stories of the torment and agony both the mother and child endured during those horrific 10 minutes. We’d witness empathy and support as mothers’ rights groups would condemn the zoo for its ineffective of barriers. Hell, people would probably even question the need for gorillas being kept captive in a zoo altogether. These dangerous, menaces to the jungle need to go back where they came from.
I love animals. Love them. I’ve had two dogs and cried (real tears) when they were no longer my loyal companion. But if it ever came down to the safety of my child and the life of my dog, I’d chose my child every time. If it was your child’s life and my dog’s, I’m still killing my dog. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re White, Black, or Blue. We’re human beings. And our safety is always the priority.