A Day at the Zoo
While on the subject of television and the news, another news report had me talking back to the TV the other day.
Perhaps you heard: a little boy fell through a semi-protected enclosure into a moat at the gorilla compound at the Cincinnati Zoo and was instantly manhandled by an endangered silverback gorilla, named Harambe. He pulled the three-year-old through the water to another part of the moat as if he were a tiny branch and sat there for a while with the kid seated in front of him as frantic people called 911 and shot the scene with their iPhones.
The zoo wardens decided then and there to shoot and kill the gorilla.
The story doesn’t end there, unfortunately.
Thousands of people were outraged that the gorilla was killed. An online petition garnered hundreds of thousands of online signatures of people incensed that the gorilla wasn’t stunned with a paralyzing dart from a tranquilizing gun instead of a deadly bullet.
I talked to my TV when I heard that. The first thought that entered my mind was: would so many people have been as furious at the zoo authorities if the gorilla had swiftly and unexpected slapped at the boy’s head, killing or injuring him, something which could easily have happened in the blink of an eye? Would they be petitioning the zoo? Would they be walking around with angry placards?
I love animals as much as the next person, although I’m no fan of zoos, believing that animals can never be as happy in an enclosed area as they are in their natural habitat.
But did the safety of the boy temper the fury these people felt at the loss of an animal?
It didn’t end there.
The boy’s family actually received death messages!
(Someone, actually many “ones”, are seriously deranged.)
Besides “unstressing” on the zoo employees who eliminated the threat to the boy’s life, people have been sorely vexed at the family for allowing the boy to wander into harm’s way.
I talked to the TV again: Must every parent keep their kid on a leash?
What happened was a very rare event: the first in 30 years at this zoo, I believe.
Kids can wander into all kinds of trouble in the blink of an eye. The mother, who I believe is a day-care worker and quite responsible when it comes to children, happened to be attending to other kids at that exact moment that her son wandered away. It could have happened to anyone, I think.
Yet, hundreds of thousands of people want this family to be criminally responsible…
They also want this family to also be financially responsible for the loss of the gorilla.
Such are the emotions that flare up when it comes to animals.
What I think you’re seeing in this instance is a deeply rooted hatred and lack of understanding of members of our own human family, and an outsized, irrational “love” for members of the non-human animal family.
This is what this incident is really about.