Whenever something controversial happens in the modern world you can bet that your social feed will be inundated in articles, opinions, thoughts and in some cases just outrageous levels of abusive language vaguely aimed at someone. Some discussions on matters will expand your thoughts and perception on the issue whilst some will make you question the intelligence of modern day adults.
Yesterday an otherwise generically dull bank holiday saw just an event take place and now civil unrest has shifted to a new topic. As you’re no doubt aware a gorilla by the name of Harambe was shot dead in Cincinatti zoo yesterday after a four year old boy fell into the gorilla pen. There is plenty of shaky cam footage online to give anyone a rough idea of what happened although given the quality of the footage and the variation in witness statements it’s proving very difficult to establish what actually happened.
The point is is that there is now a global blame game on the rise with more fingers raised than a lesbian sex party. First up there are the genuine animal lovers and compassionate sorts across the globe who are truly heartbroken by the loss of such a beautiful and majestic creature who, regardless of any footage or witness statements didn’t actually do anything wrong because, being a gorilla you are exempt from the judicial system of humans. Sadly, not the killing bullets.
Then you’ve got the hundreds of thousands of ‘band wagon’ opinionators whose interest in this entire matter will be over by tomorrow when they realise that they haven’t played Angry Birds for a day. These people are the worst because they don’t need to study anything, or research anything, or consider anything other than their own loud angry voices. They’re the kind of people who make up the majority of the Brexit campaign.
There is a lot of hate pointing towards the zoo at the moment for they were the ones who pulled the trigger. They also kept a gorilla in captivity for years in the name of preservation all the while capitalising on the unaware creature. Now, chances are that if the gorilla wasn’t living in the zoo, be it any zoo, he’d probably already be dead because that’s the horrific world that we live in. Sure, captivity must suck, but it’l beat being dead for as long as you’re healthy, looked after and safe like Harambe was up until yesterday. From our point of view it’s disgusting to think that he lived out his days whilst people cashed in to take selfies with him in the background but the gorilla didn’t know that, he was sheltered, fed and not dead. Which was good.
Now, the parents of the little boy didn’t leave for the zoo with the intention of leaving their child unsupervised so that he could enter an exhibition and put himself in harms way. It’s exceptionally rare for any parent to plan this sort of thing, I mean for one you have to pay to get into a zoo so if you were going to put your child in peril there are cheaper alternatives.
For Operation Bandwagon blaming the parents for the death of a gorilla seems to be a popular move with people now screaming out for ‘criminal prosecution’. Hold on a minute here, let’s calm it down a bit. First off, when I was about three I legged it from my mum’s side on a busy train station to go off and talk to strangers, she was back by my side moments later as the man I had decided to speak to wasn’t a kidnapper, but either way that was my fault, I was just a silly little boy. When my sister was about two or three we went away to Spain and within five minutes of getting to the hotel she had run across the lobby and jumped into a fountain. The other day at a family members house I found a toddler that had climbed into the bathroom sink, I don’t know how he got there, he just did. The point is that children are stealthy, fast little blighters with no sense of danger and an infinite curiosity. Parenting is a relentlessly exhausting full time job and if you’ve seen enough films and TV programmes about child abductions or missing children then you’ll be all too familiar with the line ‘he/she was just here’ or ‘I looked away for just a second’. It happens and any parent that refuses to accept that it does happen is either lying or spending too much time constantly observing their child.
As far as criminal prosecution is concerned I don’t see how setting a precedent for ‘you’ll be prosecuted for negligence if your child accidentally makes his way into a gorilla enclosure’ is preferable to ‘oh, you left your children unattended in a holiday apartment in Portugal whilst you went out for drinks? No worries here’s a global platform, monetise off it’. Or ‘Oh, you’re the Prime Minister of the UK, well, your job is stressful I can see why you left your kid in a pub toilet don’t worry about it’.
“Get another gorilla and throw the mother in” – Facebook comment.
I feel for the parents and I feel for the gorilla. I don’t feel for the zoo who are ultimately responsible. By applying the rule of strict liability it leads back to the zoo being responsible. It was their gorilla, their enclosure, their zoo. Would the child have entered the enclosure had there been more security and fencing around the enclosure? No. Why was there less security? Because zoo-goers want a closer experience with the animals and walls and fences prevent that. Well, are zoo-goers professional zoologists? No. Do people understand the Physcology of animals and the dangers that they can cause? No.
Does a zoo? Yes.
So whilst the zoo can argue that the reason for reduced fencing is to improve the experience for the zoo-goer, the zoo-goer is just a money paying idiot who wants to see some animals, they have no experience of this stuff, their opinion doesn’t matter. You, the zoo are obligated to keep the money throwers safe during their tour of animal prison. The zoo failed and as a result chose to shoot one of its prized animals, resulting in a tragic loss for the animal world and also a sign of complete incompetence on their part. I mean, the footage of the child going in is around ten minutes long. How can it take ten minutes to rally a response?
If you’re a parent imagine how heart wrenchingly unbearable that ten minutes must have been. Your four year old child has fallen a great distance into a moat with an enormous gorilla right there, the next thing you know, you’re watching the gorilla carrying your child around like a doll, with no knowledge of whether he’s helping or hindering your child. What do you do? Meanwhile the crowd around you is watching and filming the scene unfold, desperate to get something worthwhile onto their Facebook feed. These people aren’t motivated to help you or your child, but the staff at the zoo are, so where were they?
By the time a decision had to be taken the option to terminate the gorilla’s life was probably the only alternative that the zoo could put together given how much time had past and how the life of a small child was extremely compromised. There may have been another option, but the window closed quickly.
We should all be grateful that the child is okay and safe with his parents, we should all be grateful that the situation did not get any worse. The event has happened now and there is no going back from it but in order to learn from an event blame needs to be correctly distributed and changes made. This never happened with the global financial crisis, it’s never happened in politics and it probably won’t happen now, but we can dream. Otherwise the gorilla absolutely died in vain.