Tragedy Strikes: Harambe the Gorilla’s Death
I’m sure by now most people are aware of the current story circulating the news and internet about the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo where a three-year-old boy had fallen into a Western Lowland male gorilla’s den, where he stayed for nearly fifteen minutes until a difficult decision was made for Harambe the gorilla’s death.
What an awful situation for everyone involved, with no clear-cut decision. It was obvious from the time it took zoo staff to make the decision for Harambe the gorilla’s death, that it was not lightly made.
I am quite certain that everyone surrounding the incident secretly waited for a miraculous event to occur, hoping that Harambe would give the boy a hug, lift him up to his parents, and then with a gentle pat on the head, be gone.
We all know that our miracle never came.
Was There Another Option Apart From Harambe the Gorilla’s Death?
How can we have such high expectations on an animal who has had no involvement with children in the past? They both must have been so scared and confused. Was he dangerous? Should he fight him? There was no way Harambe could have known how integral his actions were to everyone involved, during those 15 minutes.
People have questioned “why couldn’t he have been tranquilized?”, but at 450 lbs, I assume it would have been like guessing where a tree cut from all sides would fall.
It is the sad truth that the three-year-old boy owes his life to the person that held that gun that caused Harambe the gorilla’s death.
What is Wrong With Humanity?
I am all about animal rights, and I truly believe that humanities ingrained speciesism is reprehensible. If we take anything at all from this story, it is that we as a society need to take a good hard look at how we have only given animals who live on this planet two options – stay in captivity and be laughed at and cajoled as pieces of entertainment, or run the risk of becoming extinct.
Maybe we should be looking at humanity as a whole and what we can do to change it, instead of looking for another head on a platter.
An Unfit Mother?
Since the incident there have been public outcries, viral memes generated and even a petition made on Change.org, called “Justice for Harambe”, in which 480,939 supporters have signed requesting that this child’s home be investigated.
While I completely agree that it is a parent’s duty to provide supervision to their children at all times, I also know how difficult some children can be to manage. I have a 15 month old little boy at home who can easily be found standing on our kitchen table naked in the time it takes me to tell my daughter to go wash her hands. I know first-hand what tiny feet can accomplish in mere seconds.
According to US Weekly, this mom had written a Facebook post that she has since taken off, writing “As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids. Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place.”
For all of you who know me at all or have read my articles about what’s really important to our children, about everyday strangers who help moms avoid epic public meltdowns and how our lives are perfectly imperfect, you already know that I am very passionate about talking to the unfortunate prevalence of mommy guilt.
It is easy in retrospect to respond, “how easy is it to prevent your child from jumping into an animal den?”
Seems like a simple enough task.
But we weren’t there. It wasn’t intentional and we cannot judge.
The Pandemic of Mommy Guilt
In our current society, it doesn’t matter what you do as a mom, you will feel judged for it.
It goes something like this:
You breastfeed your children? Oh, well I sure hope you’re covering up those tantalizing ta-ta’s while your baby tries to eat. I eat under my covers all the time!
Bottle feed? Don’t you know that breast is best? And that formula, well you’re pretty much guaranteeing your kid is going to be fat and diabetic later. You sure are winning at this parenting thing.
Co-sleeping? You mean suffocation at its finest! It really should be illegal.
You let your baby cry it out? What kind of monstrous beast are you?
You let your baby nap on you every day? What a push-over! You’re going to be their bitch forever.
Your kid is so active. It’s obvious that she is a little terror because you don’t set enough boundaries!
You don’t buy your kids organic baby food? Don’t you love them at all?
You’re watching your child on that play equipment like a hawk. You must be a helicopter parent. How are they supposed to live a full life with you hovering over them?
How About We Show Some Compassion
Being a mom these days is hard.
But being three-year-old-kid-who-fell-into-a-zoo-enclosure’s mom?
I bet that mom feels fucking awful, even with her son’s positive outcome.
Let me put it this way: Do you think she took her child to the zoo that day with the intent of losing him in a gorilla den and ultimately becoming a part of Harambe the gorilla’s death? No, she went there to share an experience with her son that our society has made almost a right of passage.
The sad thing is, no matter what the outcome ended up being for her son and Harambe, this mom’s parenting skills will forever be scrutinized. There have been over 400,000 people who have already signed their names to a document stating that she is a negligent mom who needs Children’s Aid involvement!
Imagine, just for a second, what that must feel like – to have enough complete strangers to fill a small country, who do not know your parenting style at all, band together to try to have your kids taken away.
I really have no clue who this mom is, what this mom is like, whether I agree with her parenting style or morals or whether she does need CAS involvement, but that is the point.
None of us can make those determinations from this single, saddening, freak accidental event.
Even when she isn’t being judged, even five years from now, she will that think she is.
She will forever second guess herself.
To this mom, who as I write this is probably putting her son to bed, relishing the time she is able to spend with him, and breathing him in as much as he will allow – I really feel for you.
Be strong and you will get through this.
For all of you in the comfort of your own home, your kids safely tucked in bed —
Those of you who just as easily could have killed a deer while driving your kids home from the movies, and afterwards found yourself thanking your lucky stars that your family wasn’t hurt instead of grieving for the death of the deer —
Please try to remember your humility before writing hateful words directed toward someone who has already gone through enough.
What are your thoughts about Harambe the gorilla’s death? Please share in the comment section below! No hateful comments, please or they will be removed.