It is sad that a gorilla died, yes.

636001135966205385-Harambe1A 3-year old went over a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati zoo, and zookeepers shot and killed the 400-pound gorilla inside, Harambe. How scary for everyone.

But now people are attacking the parents of that 4-year old, because the people who are attacking the parents have never let a child slip from their hand, have never had that heart-sinking moment when you look down and the child you are charged with watching has slipped away.

I wish I could be a person like that. But I’m not.

Here’s Great Britain’s Daily Mail story on the father. Here’s a petition for people who want the parents investigated. (Not a fan of zoos, but that’s a whole other blog post.)

Oddly, there is never this much outrage over the shooting of a child. For more on that, go here: “The limits of white compassion.”

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16 responses to “It is sad that a gorilla died, yes.

  1. I think bringing up the father’s criminal record is just wrong. I have a certain empathy for animal rights folks but attacking the parents is rash. Accountability for this incident rests solely with the zoo.

    Primatologist Julia Gallucci said: ‘The gorilla enclosure should have been surrounded by a secondary barrier between the humans and the animals to prevent exactly this type of incident.’

    • I think the enclosure should get quite a bit attention, and I, too, am sad that the gorilla was shot and killed. I had this argument over coffee this morning, about how losing your child in the grocery store is one thing, but this? I disagree. Same situation, different venue.

      • I agree. It can happen in an instant. That’s why it’s the duty of whoever is managing venues that have inherent safety issues to take every precaution…consider every contingency. Especially where “attractive nuisances” are present.

        Now I’m seeing articles about how parents should put their kids on leashes. That’s just ridiculous.

        • However, I have seen kids on leashes, and I have to stop myself from fishing into my bag for a treat. I’ve also been in schools where children respond to a particular number of claps. Same thing. Treat ’em like dogs, and they’ll most likely lose the ability to reason for themselves. That, too, is another blog post, I guess.

          • Children should not be leash trained. That’s cruel.

            • It’s ridiculous. They shouldn’t be taught to respond to claps, either. They should be treated like the wondrous beings that they are. Yes, it’s more time-consuming, but Jesus.

              • This isn’t the first time a child has fallen into a gorilla zoo habitat, too. I can think of 2 other little ones who have slipped beyond the barriers and fallen in over recent years. There should be better barriers that would make this impossible.

                When I observed the clap thing in a classroom, it looked like it worked well. It allowed the teacher to get the kids’ attention quickly without having to raise her voice to quiet everyone down. She used it when there was a transition from noisier activity to listening to the teacher time. Was this what you meant, or did you observe something else?

                The mention of a leash reminded me of this Modern Family episode. :-) Or, is it a child safety tether?

                • I observed something where depending on how many claps the teacher clapped, the students gave a particular response. The students weren’t unruly, and maybe the claps were a reaction to an unruly time, but it bothered me deeply because it looked like something you’d teach a dog. What happened to words?

                  Great Modern Family link. Thank you.

                  • That sounds a little different. The way I observed it, it was more of a quick eyes and attention on the teacher, not much different than a whistle blow from a ref on a sports field kind of thing. I actually preferred it to a teacher yelling over voices.

  2. Cynical Susan

    A friend’s FB post suggests that much of the negative attention is racist.

    • I’m seeing that today, too. The Root has an article about it.

      People, black, white and all in between, have dragged the parents through the mud for what they believe to be complete negligence…Of course, the child and his parents are black, which leads us to the blatant racism at the root of the attacks against them. It also provides further evidence, as if any were needed, of the utter lack of concern for black lives, including the lives of our children.

      I think that’s an overreaction.

    • There have been many such cases of children wandering off at the zoo, and at many other venues. I have yet to find one where the first official response was to consider criminal charges against the parents, or calling in child protective services to remove the children from the parents. Or bringing in one parent’s criminal past as “evidence.” It all smacks of the same “blame the victim” vitriol aimed at Trayvon Martin and his family, Tamir Rice and his family, and many — too many — other cases we’ve seen just in the last 7 years.

  3. This case renews my anger at my imperfect parents, knowing that there are at least 400,000 perfect parents on the internet.

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