It’s horrible, it’s sad, it’s tragic, it’s frustrating and angering, and so much more, but it happened, and all of us ranting and raving and searching for blame isn’t going to change what happened. I’m sure by this point, you know I’m talking about Harambe, the beautiful and massive gorilla that was killed the other day to protect a child who had managed to get into the gorilla exhibit. I mean really that’s the point isn’t it? A child’s life was in danger, regardless of how it came to pass, and the only way to protect that child was to kill the majestic beast that threatened (most likely innocently) the child’s life. Took me a couple days to watch the video, but I realized I had to because I needed to understand more of what happened. It only took me a minute to know that there was no other alternative in this situation. You can watch it here if you haven’t seen it, and I can tell you that I gasped several times even knowing how it ended.
There’s no way to tell what Harambe might have done to the child, and many people believe that the gorilla was simply protecting the child from all the uproar of the witnesses. The child did sustain some serious injuries, but is expected to be ok. The child’s parents on the other hand, have to deal with this horror from now on, and that includes all the videos taken, all the comments and judgements hurled (including calls for prosecution), and the death of Harambe.
I can’t help but be reminded of a moment from my firstborn’s early childhood, that still shakes me to think about. We had just finished one of our mommy and me classes, he was about 18 months old. We were in the foyer of this playspace, me putting my shoes back on and collecting my son’s things as well. There were tons of grownups and children milling about, some from the class that had just ended, and some from the one that was about to begin. Naturally, I turn to gather up my son, and he’s nowhere to be found. I look back inside the playspace thinking he went for the slide one last time, nothing. I looked under the benches thinking he was playing a little hide and seek, nothing. The panic sets in and this is all in the span of a minute. He’s gone. I ask everyone. Did you see a little boy walk out? Have you seen my son? I run out and I don’t see him. I run down the corridor and turn down the alley towards the parking lot where we parked the car, asking people along the way if they had seen a little boy, nothing. In the back of the building, in a deserted parking lot, there stood my little barefooted angel looking at all the cars. No fear whatsoever on his face (this was certainly an indicator to the future), and there I was with a mix of relief and rage. I promise you, in that panic, had someone or something been threatening him, there would not have been a moment’s hesitation, save my son at all cost. I can’t imagine what went through the zoo workers heads having to make that decision to kill “one of their own” to save this boy, but I can imagine what the mother is going through, and I promise you she’s feeling it, but the only thing on her mind at the moment, is that her baby is ok, and that’s what matters in the end.