To the parents of the boy in the gorilla enclosure… I apologise for the human race

To the parents of the boy in the Gorilla enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo…

I hope you and your family are ok and getting past your traumatic experience in whatever way you see fit.  I also apologise for the human race and their apparent lack of compassion throughout your public shaming of a global scale.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I, too, am extremely saddened by the events at Cincinnati Zoo this week… and deeply bereft that the beautiful Silverback Gorilla, Harambe, had to lose his life.  However, I also think that people (myself included sometimes) can often be all too quick to jump on the bandwagon of judgement in these situations.

I’m no parent, but I do know how difficult it can be to look after my niece (and I only ever have her on her own!!) – young kids can be extremely strong willed when they want (or don’t want) to go somewhere… and I also know that taking your eyes of them for a single second could cause all kinds of trouble!!  Aside from the fact that the kids parents had other children to look after on the day of the incident at Cincinnati, we also tend to go to such establishments (particularly in Westernised countries) safe in the knowledge that the zoo’s themselves have sufficient safety measures in place to avoid such tragic incidents from occurring in the first place!

I feel, in the age where media rules everything, we, as a society, can often be all too quick to judge others based solely on what the newspapers tell us… Why do we feel the need to place blame onto people and shame them??

I believe that this family went through a truly traumatic experience and, without having a second to breathe and actually acknowledge what went on in those moments – which probably felt like a lifetime to them – they’re suddenly being bombarded with insults and admonishments regarding their ability to look after their own beloved children!!  I’ve seen reports, in the media, which dig into the families personal past and dramatise their history in the headlines – just to sell papers and, thus, cash in at somebody else’s expense!  As if all this wasn’t enough – the police are, also, now investigating the parents for possible criminal charges… does nobody have any compassion?? Surely this is complete and utter victim-shaming?!

I’m certain that the parents of the young boy had no idea, even after he’d fallen in, the zoo would go to such measures to protect their child.  I’m also sure the couple would never have wished for the gorilla to be shot.  If we wanted to, we could also blame todays’ greedy society for putting the zoo in such a position where they have to shoot a defenceless animal in order to avoid a potential court case and probable suing had the zoo used any other measures and the child had died instead.  As it stands, however, there is really no point in blaming anybody for an incident that’s already happened.

Surely we’d be far more productive, as a species, by channelling our anger over this incident into endorsing and/or bringing awareness to programs which aim to prevent the poaching of such animals that are actually still alive in the wild, or supporting the national parks which home these magnificent animals – such as: Gorilla Fund, Fauna and Flora International, Endangered Species International, or The Gorilla Organisation.

So, my question is this: Why get angry and start throwing blame and criticism around, when you can actually direct that energy into doing something directly about the cause you are aiming to defend?!

…I hope this offers some food for thought…


(my usual sign off doesn’t seem too appropriate for this post…)

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