The Gorilla, The Boy, The Mom and the Shamers

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The account below seems to capture the shocking and chaotic scene at the Cincinnati Zoo, where a toddler wiggled his way into the gorilla exhibit and had to be saved, unfortunately by zookeepers shooting Harambe, the 400-pound gorilla holding onto him. The gorilla died. The boy has been treated and released from the hospital.

The public has, naturally, weighed in on this, as if any of us in our armchairs have any insights as to what was happening or should have happened. Many people are livid that the zookeepers killed the animal, but just as many seem to be blaming the human mom. Because of course, bad things only happen to the children of bad parents, and parents who are distracted are freakishly awful. And so this outrageous meme is going around:

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Turning an unpredictable tragedy into a mom-shaming meme.

Turning an unpredictable tragedy into a mom-shaming meme.

Here, then, is what appears to be a firsthand account of the horrible afternoon (lifted from Facebook):

My family and I decided to go to the zoo yesterday after visiting my neice at Cincinnati Childrens hospital. For those of you that have already heard, there was a terrible accident there yesterday. And since every news media has covered this story, I don’t feel bad telling our side. This was an accident! ! A terrible accident, but just that! My husband’s voice is the voice talking to the child in one of the videos. I was taking a pic of the female gorilla, when my eldest son yells, “what is he doing? ” I looked down, and to my surprise, there was a small child that had apparently, literally “flopped” over the railing, where there was then about 3 feet of ground that the child quickly crawled through! ! I assumed the woman next to me was the mother, getting ready to grab him until she says, “Whose kid is this? ” None of us actually thought he’d go over the nearly 15 foot drop, but he was crawling so fast through the bushes before myself or husband could grab him, he went over! The crowed got a little frantic and the mother was calling for her son. Actually, just prior to him going over, but she couldn’t see him crawling through the bushes! She said “He was right here! I took a pic and his hand was in my back pocket and then gone!” As she could find him nowhere, she lookes to my husband (already over the railing talking to the child) and asks, “Sir, is he wearing green shorts? ” My husband reluctantly had to tell her yes, when she then nearly had a break down! They are both wanting to go over into the 15 foot drop, when I forbade my husband to do so, and attempted to calm the mother by calling 911 and assure her help was on the way. Neither my husband or the mother would have made that jump without breaking something! I wasn’t leaving with my boys, because I didn’t trust my husband not to jump in and the gorilla did just seem to be protective of the child. It wasn’t until the gorilla became agitated because of the nosey, dramatic, helpless crowd; that the gorilla violently ran with the child! And it was very violent; although I think the gorilla was still trying to protect, we’re taking a 400 lb gorilla throwing a 40 lb toddler around! It was horrific! The zoo responded very quickly, clearing the area and attempting to save both the child and the gorilla! The right choice was made. Thank God the child survived with non-life threatening, but serious injuries! This was an open exhibit! Which means the only thing separating you from the gorillas, is a 15 ish foot drop and a moat and some bushes! ! This mother was not negligent and the zoo did an awesome job handling the situation! Especially since that had never happened before! ! Thankful for the zoo and their attempts and my thoughts and prayers goes out to this boy, his mother and his family.

 

The local TV station WLWT5 explained that the gorilla was not simply tranquilized, “because when the animal is agitated, [Zoo director Thane] Maynard said, the tranquilizer may not take effect right away. This was the first time Cincinnati Zoo officials have killed an animal in this manner, Maynard said. The zoo also said this is the first security breach at Gorilla World since it opened in 1978.”

When something terrible does not happen, ever, I’d say we are allowed to assume it won’t happen. Sort of like if the manhole in front of my apartment suddenly blew up, I don’t think I’d blame the mom of any kid who happened to be walking by it at the time, even if the mom wasn’t right there.

When we are faced with sudden sadness, we have a few choices. We can sigh. We can pray. We can donate — for instance, to an animal sanctuary.We can commit ourselves to trying to make the world a better place, if only to feel less despair. Or we can force ourselves to understand that the incomprehensible — especially sudden death — either has a bigger meaning (it’s part of God’s plan) or it doesn’t (fate is fickle).

What is easier than all of these is to sink into the sewer of self-righteousness and pretend that if only someone had been doing what we believe WE would have done in that unpredictable situation, everything would be peachy. That way we get to feel smug AND angry — a heady combination, and the perfect kindling for a witch burning.

Let’s not burn any witches as we mourn the gorilla. – L.

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422 Responses to The Gorilla, The Boy, The Mom and the Shamers

  1. Katie May 30, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

    I have to disagree. This wasn’t a toddler- this was a four year old. If he had been following the rules- or had a mother paying attention enough to ensure he was following the rules, none if this would have happened.

    This is not a case of bad parenting because she turned her back for a second. We’ve all been there. This is a case of bad parenting because her child was not taught how to behave at a zoo. It’s not like she turned around and he ran, tripped over a rock, and fell into the gorilla enclosure. I’ve been to this zoo and this exhibit. There is a large fence he had to have climbed, wire he had to have gotten under, and a large set of bushes to crawl through. It had to have taken him nearly a minute.

    This enclosure has been set up this way for close to 40 years and this is the first time something like this has ever happened. This is not a situation that could happen to anyone. This is a situation that happened because rules were not followed and she wasn’t paying attention. Unfortunately, the blame is on the mother here.

  2. Emily May 30, 2016 at 11:13 pm #

    I’m really torn on this one. The Free-Range person in me says “don’t vilify the mother,” but the animal-rights person in me* says that there was no reason for the gorilla to have to die, and that yeah, children who are properly supervised don’t just slip into zoo enclosures unnoticed. Now, I’m not crazy about the concept of zoos in the first place, because they seem eerily like prisons for animals, but for the purposes of the situation at hand, I think there are two problems here–first, the parents should have provided better supervision (or taught their son the rules of the zoo, or kept him home if he wasn’t mature enough to behave there), and second, if the zoo enclosure couldn’t keep a preschooler out, it probably wasn’t a very good enclosure. I think a higher fence might be a good idea.

    *P.S., I know someone on here is going to ask me, “If you’re an animal-rights person, do you eat meat?”; and the answer to that is no. I’ve been a vegan for five years, and a vegetarian since late 2001.

  3. Anne May 30, 2016 at 11:54 pm #

    I agree with pretty much everything you said – I’d only add that our choices also include not putting wild animals in places where they are likely to get agitated from human contact (i.e. an enclosure like a zoo). The fact that everyone is outraged that the gorilla was killed tells me that people don’t really understand the point of zoos in the first place, which is to use wild animals for entertainment. But yes, blaming this mother or saying that the child should have been better behaved is completely silly.

  4. L. May 31, 2016 at 12:01 am #

    Empathy. It’s a thing. This could have been any mother and any child on any day.

  5. Peter May 31, 2016 at 12:51 am #

    I blame the zoo. They give the appearance that it is a safe place for children, when this real world test shows that it is not. If you are crossing a highway with a 4 year old, you hold his hand because he doesn’t understand the risks yet, and he is harder to see or predict than an adult. But at the zoo, it feels like a safe place, so you let your guard down. The zoo needs to make it safer, or make it obvious to the harried that things can quickly get dangerous.

  6. Tracy May 31, 2016 at 12:57 am #

    There is a woman giving a first-hand account of what happened and not finding the mother to be negligent. How is that not enough for some people? Why does there always need to be something or someone to blame? Accidents are just that…accidents. Some worse than others, but still accidents. There was no malice involved and quick decisions needed to be made.

  7. LRH May 31, 2016 at 1:05 am #

    Frankly, where it regards the gorilla, I have to say “who cares?” Really. It’s a GORILLA. I think we in this country have gotten really crazy with how we are about animals. A human being’s life should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be ranked above an animal’s, PERIOD, even if the human is a stranger and the animal is one of our beloved pets. No matter.

    As for the mother, assuming she had taught her child proper behavior in the zoo, she wasn’t negligent. There is only so much you can do when a child is determined to explore, short of leashing the child–and even then people will STILL scold you for doing that. No matter what she does, she’s judged.

    I think this is a blameless situation, but at the same time I am tempted somewhat to “blame” the child. From what I’ve read he had been firmly told and instructed that the area in question was off-limits, and the SECOND she turns her back, off to the races he goes. If my child did a thing like that, I’d burn his tail up so good he’d be unable to sit down for a week. Where I come from, you do what your parents tell you to to whether you like it or not. You get to do what you want when you’re 18, no sooner.

    In fact, while obviously the child’s life had to be spared, and if you’re the parent seeing your child heading in that direction you do whatever you have to to stop it, all of that being said if he was traumatized a bit by what happened, I say GOOD, he OUGHT to be. It serves him right for going against his parents’ directives. He was four, I can tell you from my own experiences that age is PLENTY old enough to know better than to go against your parents’ directives regardless of how you (the child) feels in terms of curiosity etc.

  8. SH May 31, 2016 at 1:09 am #

    This is not a case of a need for better fencing, etc. at the zoo. Unless animals are placed inside a glass box (which would, of course, be inhumane) one cannot protect zoo animals from people who want to deliberately breech the exhibit. This child did not simply fall in; he crossed over several barriers to get in. This is where the parental responsibility comes in. The zoo would be negligent only in the case of accidental entry to the exhibit (fell in, toppled in, etc). This boy made a purposeful entry, and the only defense against that is self control, or -absent that- parental control.

    I note that most AZA accredited zoos in the US do not have mission statements that reflect the “use wild animals for entertainment” sentiment expressed here. Most are bonafide conservation entities giving millions in dollars and resources annually to save rare species, including the lowland gorilla species killed in this incident. If the public sees them as entertainment, then they have an incomplete picture, and it might explain why some people feel that “it feels like a safe place, so you let your guard down”. In fact, it is a facility filled with wild animals. This aint no dog pound; its a haven for endangered species.

    For those with the misperception that you can go to a zoo and abandon all parental responsibility to educate and monitor your child, I suggest this as a read:

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/30/health/zoo-safety/index.html?sr=fbCNN053016zoo-safety1016PMVODtopLink&linkId=25013206

  9. Emily May 31, 2016 at 1:23 am #

    I wonder why people automatically blame the mother rather than the child? One of the commenters here said it was “poor parenting” because the child should have been taught how to behave. Which just makes me shake my head because seriously? What 4 year old behaves all the time? My ELEVEN year old doesn’t behave all the time! Children misbehave, no matter how perfect your parenting skills. I’m so glad this child was saved. And chances are, after a scare like this, he will be very, very well behaved the next time he visits a zoo.

  10. Mama's Bananas May 31, 2016 at 1:42 am #

    The gorilla and the boy who invaded his space http://bit.ly/1Y0ogRk

  11. hineata May 31, 2016 at 2:11 am #

    Thanks LRH, couldn’t have said it better. The world seems to have gone nuts regarding animal rights. I do feel sorry for the gorilla, and if it hadn’t been spooked it possibly would have remained not a threat to the child, but it is still not worth a human life.

    And the poor mum! My children are known for being reasonably compliant, but each of them has done some pretty dumb things when my back was turned, even after direct instructions to the contrary. One tried to turn up the gascock for a whole street and on a separate occasion managed to disable an escalator in one of the busiest areas in a major city, another chose to direct traffic (thank God for an attentive motorist ), the third took off on a bus ride without telling anyone. And that’s only a few of the dumb things they’ve done, each requiring a maximum of ten seconds of inattention. Poor, poor mum. Even parents of onlys can’t keep their eye on them every second….

  12. Liz Young May 31, 2016 at 2:29 am #

    Thanks for having a rational discussion about this. I’m totally on board with rational discussion and explanations, and was horrified by all the memes floating around yesterday. This explanation of both sides of the story makes so much sense. It must have been horrifying for everybody involved. In an accident, nobody wins.

  13. Joan May 31, 2016 at 3:14 am #

    Stories like these make me think I should just never leave the house with my preschooler until he’s 18. Even if the mother was totally at fault (and she wasn’t), the kid’s life is more important than the gorilla’s. Sorry. I said it. Guess I wish they could have used a tranquilizer instead but oh well. My child is a smart, compassionate, sweet child who knows how to “behave” and I think we’re good parents, and I could totally see how something like this would happen. The self-righteousness on this topic is coming from everywhere. My neighbor, who repeatedly loses her toddler (in that she has on more than one occasion left the house and wandered over to our place when the adults in the house turn their backs) had the nerve to tell me she thought the family at the zoo should have to “suffer consequences.” Really??? Pot – kettle. Come on people.

  14. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 4:17 am #

    I think it’s fair to say that the gorilla paid for someone else’s mistake.

  15. Larry May 31, 2016 at 4:31 am #

    In my experience, even the best behaved 4 year old kids do random unpredictable things regardless of what we tell them to do or threaten them with – and everybody takes photos at the zoo. The scene in question would probably happen hundreds of times a day in zoos all over the world, but this was the one time the kid made it over the edge instead of running to the ice cream stand.

    There’s no need to blame anybody.

    I can understand the anguish at the shooting of the gorilla, but under the circumstances that was the only reasonable course of action. Imagine the headline – “Zoo staff with guns watch on while 400 pound gorilla kills 4 year old child”. They did the right thing, and it’s unfortunate and sad.

    Lastly, punishment – for either the mother or the kid. That’s just laughable.

  16. Niki Buchan May 31, 2016 at 4:40 am #

    Thank you for sharing this first hand account of this tragic incident. Why do we feel we need to blame somebody, something, anything? Why not see it as a tragic accident with tragic consequences.

    The zoo is not to blame, reasonable precautions had been taken and there had been no accidents in 40 years.

    The boy is not to blame, he is only 4 years old, he is immature, children are notoriously unpredictable. He may have been disobedient but would not have been able to accurately judge the consequences of his actions. I would say all children are disobedient at times, this doesn’t make them bad children.

    The parents are not to blame, no parent would want this to happen to their child. They appear to have supervised appropriately and did not in their wildest dreams expect their 4 year old to behave in the unpredictable way he did.

    The gorilla is not to blame, he is a wild animal and all wild animals are unpredictable. In the video footage I have seen he appeared to be protecting the child. He did not bite or attack him.

    The audience is not to blame. Yes, nobody tried to stop the child. They screamed and shouted in what I presume a well intentioned attempt to stop the gorilla from harming the child. They noise appeared to agitate the gorilla to move the child away from the noise. Maybe things would have ended better if the audience had remained silent but everybody did what they thought would help in what is a highly unusual incident.

    The person who shot the gorilla is not to blame, they were not responsible for the incident and did what they thought would have the best outcome for the child – even of not for the gorilla. Zookeepers love their animals and I believe would not have shot if they at that moment had felt there was another option.

    Accidents will happen and this was an accident with tragic consequences, these could have been worse if the child had been seriously injured or even killed too. Instead of a knee jerk reaction we all need time to gain some perspective and know that we can not prevent every accident or incident. Some accidents happen daily, such as car accidents, with tragic consequences but nobody has banned cars yet!

  17. BL May 31, 2016 at 5:47 am #

    I wonder if this four-year-old had ever had contact with any kind of real animal before – a pet like a dog or cat, or a bigger animal like a horse or cow. If this child had never seen anything but cartoon animals on screens, no surprise that he was unaware of any danger.

  18. Eman May 31, 2016 at 6:17 am #

    The views held by many in this comment thread are quite revealing though unfortunately not uncommon.

    First, you’ll need to figure out how to rationally justify how a four-year old human is more important than a 17-year old gorilla (remember folks, you’re an animal too!). If you can do this without invoking religion or spirituality of some kind I’ll be impressed. Not saying the gorilla is more important, simply that the human is not.

    That should hopefully also address those of you who seem to simply brush this off as a regrettable accident. An immature and/or irresponsible individual, did something which directly contributed to the death of another individual. That’s not just little Jimmy spilled some juice on your nice carpet.

    If the boy had been injured or killed, that would certainly be a sad event, but in this case, less sad than what actually occurred as it would not have resulted in a purely innocent individual to be murdered in the name of “human safety”.

    The glorification of “human safety” allows some of the most horrific acts of injustice to occur. It is a toxic, barbaric idea which belongs in the dustbin of history. And interestingly enough this is the same core ideological drive that empowers the movement against free-range kids.

    As for most zoos not being prisons? You can MAYBE make that argument in the insect house, but remember, your “consciousness,” “mind,” “brain,” whatever label you want, is simply a different version of ones other non-human animals have. So if I locked you up in a nice house, with free medical care, food, toys, don’t let you leave, and let a bunch of people observe your life, you’ll likely use your quite-capable human version to see your situation as horrible, but so will most of the non-human animals in the zoo, just likely to a lesser extent.

  19. Peter Shankman May 31, 2016 at 6:38 am #

    Interesting perspective, Lenore. Not what I would have expected from you, but it made me think. Thanks.

  20. Donna May 31, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    While I think the zoo did the right thing in killing the gorilla to save the boy, sorry this is an example of something that never should have happened and the parents (both since they were both present) hold some of the blame.

    I’ve never been to the Cleveland Zoo, but have been to numerous zoos in several different countries. Even the most open air (say the San Diego Zoo), has numerous barriers that need to be crossed to get into the animal enclosures. This wasn’t an accident outside of the child’s control that the kid happened to present for like the manhole cover example. This child intentionally sought to enter the enclosure and crossed several barriers geared toward keeping him out to get there.

    First, I do believe that parents are responsible for the intentional acts of their children just in general. If my 4 year old smashes a bat into your car, I am not going to simply say “Oh well, kids will be kids.” I am going to accept some of the blame because I should have both taught my child better and watched him better, and I am going to apologize and pay for your car. The fact that the parents have accepted no responsibility for the acts of their child and the dire costs of them bothers me greatly.

    Second, this is NOT typical 4 year old behavior. Millions of 4 year olds visit zoos each year and only this one ends up in the gorilla enclosure. It is extremely unlikely that this is a previously demure, rule-following, well-behaved child content to walk happily next to his parents without a desire for adventure who completely out of character decided to go into the gorilla enclosure. This is at best an extremely mischievous kid who has been engaging these kinds of antics to a lesser degree for as long as he could walk and at worst an undisciplined brat who does whatever he wants without any parental control. This is further confirmed by the fact that the mother, upon hearing that a child was going into the enclosure, immediately questioned whether it was hers. It would NEVER occur to me to think it was my child even if she was not within my view because this is just not her personality.

    This does not mean that the parents are bad parents, although that is certainly a possibility. Some kids are simply more independent and adventurous than others. It does mean that if you have one of those independent and adventurous kids, you keep a closer eye on them because, while into the gorilla enclosure is probably unimaginable, you know your kid is most likely going to get up to something inappropriate at the zoo. And when your particular kid says “I’m going to go in with gorillas,” as several eyewitnesses have said, you understand that he may actually try and get him the hell out of there.

  21. JJ May 31, 2016 at 7:30 am #

    Some of the comments on this post are just as bad as the comments I’ve seen elsewhere. I don’t understand the mentality of always having to blame somebody for an accident. Sometimes they just happen. When you blame the “negligent parent” it “bratty child” (particularly reprehensible) you are are attempting to protect yourself from the thought that something terrible could ever happen to you or your child.

  22. JJ May 31, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    And it’s particularly smug to believe that you as a parent can control the personality of your child. Don’t have a runner? Good for you. It’s probably because you’re luck, not because of anything you’ve done. Have a kid who dares to be “mischievous”? Once again, that’s probably just who he is.

  23. TorontoMom May 31, 2016 at 7:39 am #

    I heard an interview with a zoo expert. His take on the parental responsibility was thus: Zoos advertise themselves as family friendly places to visit. They tell families “come here with your family for a safe and fun day.” And zoos know perfectly well that children are not 100% directly supervised every minute of every day. The parents may have have several children, they can be distracted and children are naturally curious. This is not on the Mom, this in on the zoo. It was the zoo’s responsibility to make sure that a place that they advertised to families was actually safe for families.

    That seems logical to me.

  24. Warren May 31, 2016 at 7:39 am #

    Yes this falls in the area of horrible outcome due to unintentional action.

    Regardless of who you want to blame, people need to give their heads a shake. Nobody put human life over that of the gorillas. They put a child’s life over the life of an individual that posed an immediate danger to the child. No different than when a sniper takes out a whacko holding a child at gunpoint. You can say that the gorilla didn’t know any better but the same can be said for those that hurt or kill others because of emotional or mental illness.

    As for vegans, well you’re a whole other sort of whacko.

  25. Katie S May 31, 2016 at 7:59 am #

    When the child tells the mother repeatedly that he is going to go in with the gorilla, perhaps that’s when the mother should hold his hand at all times or move along to a new exhibit. He TOLD her he was going in, and she didn’t listen or watch him closely enough.

    I do not agree she should be called a bitch, like in the meme above. She should have made SURE he was with her at all times when he told her he was going in there to swim with the gorilla.

  26. Marie May 31, 2016 at 8:05 am #

    Horrific. I don’t mean the story of the gorilla and the boy, i mean the comments on this post. Didn’t make it through all of them.

    I am so sorry for the absolute terror those parents AND THE BOY must have felt and still be feeling. I hope he heals quickly from his injuries and grows up with little memory of what happened. I am sorry that he and his parents will be interviwed about it at 5, 10, 15, 20 year anniversaries. I am sorry for everyone who loved and cared for the gorilla.

    I am sorry I read some of these comments. Thank you L and Tracy for being in the mix. Thank you, Lenore for your cleansing perspective. I should have stopped with that.

  27. Paul May 31, 2016 at 8:13 am #

    “There is a woman giving a first-hand account of what happened and not finding the mother to be negligent. How is that not enough for some people?”

    Because keyboard warriors like Katie, our first commenter, obviously know the situation better than the people who were there, and should be allowed to pass judgment on things they have no understanding of.

  28. Paul May 31, 2016 at 8:17 am #

    I echo Marie and several others here in their disgust at some of the comments here. If even so-called free-rangers can be passing judgment on the parents and what happened, then it explains the wider insanity and vitriol we’re seeing in other quarters.

  29. Beth May 31, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    What amazes me is that the comments (not so much here, but on all the news stories) and Facebook outrage indicate that there are SO MANY perfect parents out there who never ever turn their back on any of their children, never take their eyes off them for one second, and never take photos on outings (apparently this mom was taking a photo or selfie when it happened and this makes her eleventy-nine million times more horrible). This is a direct quote from a commenter: “I have 3 kids, and you can bet I never ever turned by back on any of them.” Well honey, I can bet that you’re totally lying.

  30. Vicki Bradley May 31, 2016 at 8:43 am #

    I totally agree with James, and totally disagree with LRH and hineata. Who cares about the gorilla?! What a mean, unempathetic, callous thing to say about a poor animal that is being made to live in a cage, being oggled by human beings everyday of his life. As a matter of fact, I’m totally infuriated by LRH’s comment!

    Obviously, laying blame isn’t going to solve anything at this point, as the poor gorilla is dead, and nothing is going to bring him back. Having said that, I think the kid’s parent(s) could have done a better job monitoring the child, who obviously was determined to get into the enclosure (I believe he had expressed a strong desire to do so prior to getting into the enclosure).

    My main message to LRH and hineata is that empathy is not a zero-sum game.

  31. Warren May 31, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    Let’s get this straight. This is not a case of an animal being used as a test subject for drugs or cosmetics or any other life enriching purpose. This was a 400 pound beast that was a clear and present danger. So all the animal rights go out the window.

    I love all animals except snakes. We need to rid the planet of those suckers. I eat all sorts of meat as nature intended our species to do. I hunt and fish, not for trophies but for meat. Now while I am out in the woods, should I be attacked, even killed by a bear, moose or any other animal out there, I nor my family will see it as anything other than what it is. Nature. My family and I would fight any attempts to kill the animal for attacking me.

    Humans are not the only species to place the life of their own over all others. And if you doubt that statement, put yourself between a mama bear and her cubs and if you survive let us know how that worked out for you.

  32. Susan May 31, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    By the way, it’s millions of children over the decades. Probably a million children a year go to this world class zoo.

  33. Donna May 31, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    “And it’s particularly smug to believe that you as a parent can control the personality of your child. Don’t have a runner? Good for you. It’s probably because you’re luck, not because of anything you’ve done. Have a kid who dares to be “mischievous”? Once again, that’s probably just who he is.”

    Reading comprehension. I clearly stated that personality is not something parents control. The manifestations of that personality are. If you have a runner, you secure him from running until he has enough sense to protect himself. You don’t just say “oh well, that is just Timmy’s personality and I don’t need to do anything to protect him from himself.” You watch your runner like a hawk. You hold his hand. You put him on a leash if you have to. You DO something to keep him from making impulsive decisions that put himself at serious risk of injury. Especially when the child is reported to have said repeatedly that he was going into the enclosure before he went (according to several eyewitness reports).

    And this is not a normal runner. MILLIONS of 4 year olds each year go to zoos across the world. This has been going on for generations. I am sure that many of the millions over the years have been “runners.” All except this one have managed to stay out of the gorilla enclosures. It can’t be that hard to avoid.

    As a parent, my response to this would have been extremely apologetic that my child would do something like this and as a result a living creature was needlessly killed (needless in that it did not need to die but for the actions of the child; the zoo 100% did the right thing in response to the child’s actions). The blame would rightfully belong on the shoulders of my family. This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t cute childish antics. This wasn’t typical childhood behavior that you just need to accept if you are going to be in a place frequented by children. The kid wasn’t climbing on something that unbeknownst to him led to the gorillas. This kid intentionally scaled several barriers to get to someplace he knew he wasn’t supposed to go. He may be too young to understand fully the consequences if he went, but he is well old enough to understand that he was not supposed to go there. I don’t know whether the parents are bad parents or just have an exceedingly difficult child that they way underestimated. I would guess that it is more likely the latter. Either way, the gorilla is dead due solely to this boy completely disregarding an extremely basic rule that almost every other 4 year old who has ever visited a zoo is able to follow. The family deserves some blame for that.

  34. JJ May 31, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    Donna I wasn’t aiming my last comments particularly at you. but you did go on to prove my point about smugness.

  35. Hissyfit May 31, 2016 at 9:02 am #

    I wonder how you’ll all feel when this boy grows up and becomes a leech on society like his parents.

  36. Warren May 31, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    Donna

    Your smugness is showing a little. This is not the first time a child has fallen or entered an animal enclosure, and it won’t be the last.

  37. Warren May 31, 2016 at 9:10 am #

    Hissyfit
    How will you feel when he grows up to be a veterinarian and saves the lives of animals?

  38. Donna May 31, 2016 at 9:10 am #

    “Yes this falls in the area of horrible outcome due to unintentional action.”

    That is my problem with this whole thing. It WASN’T an unintentional action. It wasn’t an accident. It was a 100% intentional action on the part of the child. An action that he knew was wrong, although the outcome could not be predicted by him at his young age. And an action that every other 4 year old who goes to the zoo doesn’t do.

    As parents, good or bad, we have a level of responsibility when our child, especially a young child, commits a totally intentional wrongful act and that action causes serious harm. I am not saying that the parents are bad parents or did anything other than underestimate a difficult child. I am not saying otherwise either. I don’t know enough facts to make that conclusion. I am saying that we as parents are responsible for the results of our children’s intentional wrong doing until such time as the children are old enough to take that responsibility themselves. If parents are not willing to take that responsibility, then I don’t want kids free ranging. I don’t want to be anywhere near parents who would, for example, view it as an unintentional act for which they have no responsibility because they never imagined their child doing such a thing, if their child came into my driveway, started my car and drove it into my house (yes that is very possible with my push button start car). This is no different, just more tragic. The kid is clearly at fault here, but he is too young to really blame so the parents have the responsibility for the family unit.

  39. Vicki Bradley May 31, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    I totally agree with Donna. She’s not being smug, she’s simply laying out her argument in an articulate, intelligent manner.

  40. Paul May 31, 2016 at 9:20 am #

    Hopefully we can all grow up to be exceptionally perfect parents like Donna.

  41. Thea May 31, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    This is mostly unrelated to this but I wanted to bring it to your attention Lenore. You don’t normally get rational arguments on Scary Mommy. http://www.scarymommy.com/want-kids-talk-to-strangers/

    Now that I think about it, it does connect to this. If everyone isn’t immediately considered a stranger and therefore dangerous, would one of the bystanders have felt more empowered to reach down and grab that little boy before he fell?

  42. lollipoplover May 31, 2016 at 9:37 am #

    As long as we are setting up this dart board of blame/shame targets, I’m surprised no one is blaming Disney and the movie, The Jungle Book.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mkm22yO-bs

    What if this 4 year-old watched The Jungle Book and wanted to be WITH the gorilla, King Louie? Thought they could be friends? Hoped he had the smooth voice of Christopher Walken…and desperately wanted to get in that enclosure for some reason. HOW THE H*LL DID HE GET IN THERE? Maybe he was under the influence of an ADHD medication and we can blame the pharma companies, too. When you play the blame game, there are so many choices.

    I’m sure everyone here can get their pointy fingers out and add someone/something to blame. Perhaps it makes people feel better about themselves when they place blame on others?

    WHERE WAS THE MOTHER?
    Read any comment section on any story about a child and a tragic accident and the comments start pouring in at around #4-5, right after the RIP little one or prayer wishes. I love how perfect the parenting becomes when Facebook Court is in session and others call accidents abuse and negligence and look to punish automatically.

    It’s called empathy.
    Do you know how much this mom regrets not holding this kid’s hand tighter?
    Do we really think that shaming her and asking for criminal charges will help this situation…or a Gorilla Law?

  43. Dirge May 31, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    @Niki Buchan

    ” Why do we feel we need to blame somebody, something, anything? Why not see it as a tragic accident with tragic consequences.”

    I’ve pondered this a lot over the past few years. I think that if there is someONE to blame, people feel safer. It it was someone’s fault, people can say “Well I would never do that, so it will not ever happen to me.” If no one is to blame, it could happen again to anyone at any time. And that uncertainty is scary to most people.

  44. Celia May 31, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    Lenore, I loved the perspective you provided. It was needed with all the vitriol flying around the internet right now. I was truly saddened by some of the terrible judgmental comments about this tragedy–including many of the awful responses on this page! It is useless to argue with these people. I will simply say that many of you could have a little compassion. I will never understand the desire to cast such terrible aspersions on someone you have never met. I guess I am fortunate to see my world through a more empathetic lens. It must be awful feeling like you have to constantly judge and criticize everyone and everything around you! What a burden to bear. I just hope the next time someone shows you a little compassion, you will recognize it and be reminded of your reaction here. Then perhaps you can see this situation through a lens filled with a little more humanity and a little less unnecessary outrage.

  45. olympia May 31, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    Many conflicting thoughts on this. I can all too easily see one of my nephews trying to pull this. Yeah, I’d hope they’d have better sense, but come on, I caught the one nephew about to climb up on a stool wearing oversize roller blades and a helmet with no strap. And of course, look at all the toddlers who’ve been shooting themselves/others lately. At the same age, I got it in my head to drive the car (my SO has told me that by the time he was four, he had already attempted the same half a dozen times). Kids that age are DUMB. All the people claiming they never take their eyes off their own kids, kids never got themselves in trouble- well, they can stuff it. I don’t believe them, for one thing. Literally watching the kids every second would not only be impossible, it would drive both you and the kid insane.

    As Donna said, though, parents are still responsible for any mess the kid creates, and I don’t see the parents taking any such responsibility in this case. The mother has not so much as apologized for the fact her kid, innocent as his motives may have been, caused the death of a beautiful and rare animal. It’s hard to say just how inattentive the parents were (I’m not going to take one exclamation inundated Facebook post as fact), but even if it was just a momentary lapse on their part, you still have to take responsibility.

  46. CrazyCatLady May 31, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    The thing is…if you put the kid on a leash after about age two….then you get grief from the perfect parents for that. Yes, I know. I had a kid who would run – I carried a leash with me and used it until he was 6 and threatened to use it until he was over 7.

    It sounds like this mom had a procedure – the child was to keep his hand in her back pocket. And probably, that had worked countless times before. It just didn’t work THIS time. Just like those fences, shrubs and moat didn’t work THIS time.

    Kids sometimes do stupid things. Things that don’t make sense. There is a book called “Death In Yellowstone” that details all the ways that people have died at Yellowstone National Park. If you have been to Yellowstone, you know that there are NO railings around the geysers – there are walkways with no sides. Not an area for little kids who might tumble. Or dogs. Yet….in one story, a 12 year old boy is told to hold his sister’s hand, because the parents are worried about her – about age 6. The boy does so….but had commented about them not being as hot or dangerous as stated. At one geyser, he just lets go of his sister’s hand, and with a smile on his face walks to the edge and steps over. The last his parents saw of him, he was looking back up at them from the water – his last thought was probably that they were right….it was too hot. A couple of bones were fished out the next day. Even adults are stupid….a man brought his dog, someone threw a stick (not supposed to) and the dog jumped in. The man jumped in after the dog. He was pulled out…and admitted before he died, in horrible pain and blind, that it had been a stupid thing to do and he wished he hadn’t.

    Point is….sometimes people, young and old enough to understand, do stupid things. Had this gorilla killed the kid….he would have been put down. I do feel sorry for the gorilla…but his fate was sealed. Much like the Christmas day mauling of 3 teens at the San Fransisco Zoo a number of years back, I suspect that things will be changed at the zoo so that this doesn’t happen again. I am thankful that the kid will be okay, and thankful that it wasn’t my child when we went to the zoo. Or…one of the children when I went to the zoo with a daycare and had 5 kids 5 and under to watch.

  47. Theresa May 31, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    I have my doubts that the animal that pulled the naughty boy out of the water wanted to hurt him. As for zoo being prisons where should they live? We have taken much of their homes for us. And let not forget about the lovely poachers.

  48. Mark Sullivan May 31, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    This is why, if an election were held, I would run for President of the Lenore Skenazy Fan Club.

    The gorilla’s fate in this narrative is very sad and unfortunate. I like gorillas–and squirrels and bandicoots and goats and pelicans and so on… So, I can appreciate the dismay of those who lament the passing of this magnificent creature. But as a one-time parent of two toddlers, I regard the destruction of this animal as a decision in the same manner as I regard a sneeze as a decision. The child was in mortal peril. The appropriate reflex under such circumstances is to mitigate that peril with extreme and expeditious prejudice. No sane person, who has ever been entrusted with the well-being of a small child, would ever contemplate an alternate course of action.

    And, as for the second-guessers: There, but for the grace of God, go you. This incident supersedes judgement.

  49. Dave May 31, 2016 at 10:15 am #

    Soooooo tired of parents who think it’s everyone else’s job to watch their kids. I see it in restaurants all the time. Kids running around while their parents are eating or checking their phones. My wife and I had the recent pleasure of having forks and steak knives dropped on us by some unsupervised children who were on the upper tier dining room of the restaurant. The parents were aghast when we had the gall to tell the restaurant manager to please make them stop.

    Please don’t have kids You really suck at it.

  50. steve miller May 31, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    It’s safe to say the zoo will now human-proof its gorilla exhibit. They are clearly at fault here.

  51. Donna May 31, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    Paul – Yes, and I am horrified so much of this group echoes the mother’s statement of oh well, shit happens and it is all good because my kid is fine.

    If my kid had done this, I would have been horrified at my child’s actions and the result. My response would have been much less ” oh well, accidents happen” and something much more along the lines of “While I greatly appreciate the actions of the zoo workers in saving my child, I am sorry beyond words that his actions caused the gorilla to need to be killed. I underestimated the full extent of his desire to play with the gorillas and the great lengths that he would go to get there and for this I apologize.”

  52. Buffy May 31, 2016 at 10:31 am #

    Just saw this comment: “The parent should of been shot! Not watching your kid so gorilla has to die?! I don’t think so lady.”

    Think about that.

    The mother.

    Of the child.

    Should be shot.

    Our animal obsession has gotten completely out of control.

  53. David Holzman May 31, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    Thanks Lenore. I posted this on FB, along with an interview of a primatologist from the University of Southern California on this incident. I agree with those below who ask why we always have to blame someone.

  54. bob magee May 31, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    are there any photos of the area where the boy got into the habitat?

    seems to me the actual layout is important to understand if this was simply tragedy or simply neglect.

    Probably a bit of both.

    Was the father there? All comments seem to blame/mention only mother. Fathers are parents too.

  55. Kristin May 31, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    This seems to be a well thought out and rational telling of the awful event. I find the people needing to find fault and place blame so sad and yet so common. I wish there was more empathy and less anger!

  56. lollipoplover May 31, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    I thought this was an excellent letter and not what I expected:

    http://karacarrero.com/open-letter-mother-boy-fell-gorilla-enclosure/

  57. Warren May 31, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Donna

    Assume much?

    How can you compare the mothers response with one you authored while not under duress and completely removed from the situation?

  58. olympia May 31, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    bob magee- Yeah, I’d like to see the layout of the place as well. I do think it’s telling that this is the first such incident here in decades- could be just great luck, as I’m sure the zoo has seen its share of uncontrolled children and absent-minded parents, but it could also speak to the degree of inattentiveness going on here.

    Donna- Yeah, I think a statement like that could go a long way in calming down the situation. And it just makes sense- if, as you said, your neighbor’s toddler smashed a car into your house, no way you’d be letting the parents get away with a, “Oh, but this is what kids do!” You’d want an apology, and some restitution. That’s what’s needed here, too. I also think it’s completely appropriate for the kid to know the consequences of his actions, and, hey, to feel a little guilt. I’m reminded of how my sister, at four or so, decided she was going to teach one of our family’s chickens to fly. Well, after one especially high “flight”, the chicken took a hard landing and was knocked out- appeared dead to my sister, who buried it in some leaves and then took off. At which point, my father took off after her. She said when he caught her, he sat her down, took a stick, and said, “This was the chicken.” He then snapped it. “And THIS was what you did to it!” Really made an impression I think.

  59. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    A proper barrier mainly for the safety of the captive animals would be a tall, plexiglass barrier around all exhibits in addition to whatever measures currently exist. However that would of course help reinforce the idea that the zoo is simply a prison for exotic creatures, something zoos have been trying to get away from with their more natural exhibit spaces.

    As another commenter stated: Provide a rational reason for your evaluation of human life over a gorilla’s. Humanity has found no good answer to that question – the best we have are akin to children’s fairy tales.

  60. pentamom May 31, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    “First, you’ll need to figure out how to rationally justify how a four-year old human is more important than a 17-year old gorilla (remember folks, you’re an animal too!). If you can do this without invoking religion or spirituality of some kind I’ll be impressed. Not saying the gorilla is more important, simply that the human is not.”

    Why does it “have” to be done without religion? Some people believe in religion.

    It may not convince you, but that does not mean it is not a valid belief for people to have.

    So, yes, people rank above animals, especially animals that do not have the intelligence to sort out when their actions may wind up killing a child and are possibly in the process of doing it. That’s what I believe. That’s the belief I hope society will continue to act on in situations such as this one.

  61. John May 31, 2016 at 11:13 am #

    @Larry (15th post down)

    Larry you said it so eloquently! Niki, who posted one below Larry, also said it very well. Allow me to just add that if we start criminalizing parental mistakes (which everybody wants to do to this mother) then ALL parents would be in prison!

    Quote:

    “First, you’ll need to figure out how to rationally justify how a four-year old human is more important than a 17-year old gorilla.” Not saying the gorilla is more important, simply that the human is not.”

    @Eman

    That is probably the dumbest and most ignorant statement I’ve ever read on the internet.

  62. Beth May 31, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    @lollipoplover, good link. I especially liked the point that whenever a kid gets lost, gets away from parents, etc, anywhere but a zoo (apparently) it’s all hands on deck to find that child and make sure he/she is safe. Why does the Internet Public believe that that’s not appropriate when it’s a zoo?

  63. Eman May 31, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    It must be done without religion because you are discussing the ending of a life. Religion is founded on faith, and by nature is unprovable. It is barbaric to take another’s life based on irrational justifications. No one is saying you cannot believe what you like, but part of living in a modern society means you do not get to use irrational beliefs to justify taking a life (of course we often fail miserably at this).

    Dropped into a completely alien (not green men, just radically different to your own) culture, not knowing the language, customs, etc, you would find that you may react in similar ways to this gorilla, even with all that intelligence to sort out “right” and “wrong” actions. Would you be so supportive of putting down the dangerous creature then? Or would you perhaps want more leeway provided, more potential danger to others exist, to hopefully get you through alive?

  64. Warren May 31, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    ManorGorilla

    Without religion or any bias.

    A life is a life no matter what species they may be. All are equal. Just as a mother bear will kill to protect her young, as will moose, lions, wolves and many other animals, so will humans. I have no problem with blowing away any animal to save a child. Just as I have no problem with a wolf ripping someone’s throat out to protect it’s young. Life is life.

  65. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    Can one blow away a man to protect an animal? Or is it your-species specific? If species-specific, why?

  66. Ted May 31, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    I think the thing that saddens me is the blurring between responsibility and blame.

    I agree that the parents have some responsibility, the child has some responsibility and the zoo has some responsibility here for the tragic incident. (In fact, the only one that probably DOESN’T have SOME responsibility was Harambe himself.)

    But, the blaming and shaming of the parents (actually mostly of the mother) are what bothers me about the reactions.

    No one is perfect in their parenting. From the moment this got reported, there were cries that she was a “terrible mother” and blaming her for the actions of her child.

    Children – even at four years old – are independent human beings and no one can be 100% responsible for the actions of another being. There’s no way to control a child all the time.

    I agree that there may have been more the mother could have done, but also feel from the first-hand account that was posted that the mother may have had a system to work with her child that may have worked in the past – and didn’t this time.

  67. Big Dick McGee May 31, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    The child should have been shot, then the mother, then the father.

  68. Warren May 31, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    ManorGorilla

    In some cases I say go for it. But how many lions do you see killing another lion to protect a gazelle?

  69. Workshop May 31, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    Security is a funny thing. We can only create precautions against things we can visualize can happen. Sure, hindsight is great, but the truth is that unless there’s a hidden report where some whistleblower tried to tell the zoo this was an immanent danger and the zoo did nothing, it is simply a case of “we didn’t think of this.”

    Kinda like how many security officials didn’t think terrorists would try to take over four passenger jets with box cutters and fly the plane into buildings.

    While it is sad, and there will no doubt be much blame laid, the people who choose to vilify either the mother or the zoo are wrong. The lesson will be learned, and no doubt the zoo will make changes to their security protocols. But I was at a zoo last month, and if I wanted to I could have jumped into the cheetah pen. I could have jumped onto the back of a giraffe. I was within six feet of several alligators.

    And if my son had gone over the railing, I would have been the one shooting the animal.

  70. Beth May 31, 2016 at 11:44 am #

    @Big Dick McGee, thank you for your thoughtful contribution to this discussion. Troll.

  71. Mandy May 31, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I was a very curious and energetic child. My parents fully acknowledge that it is ONLY by the grace of God that they always managed to be there in time to stop me from drowning or electrocuting or impaling myself. My younger brother was, and still is, even worse than I was. Alertness only takes you so far.

    Parents can be imperfect and kids can do things that are mind-boggling in their stupidity and unpredictability. In this case, the two combined into a perfect storm of tragedy. Mourn for the gorilla, but don’t demand an eye for an eye.

  72. Michael May 31, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    I share your take on this, Lenore.

    I shake my head at anyone who equates an animal (or any life) with a human life. I take it none of those people ever use medicines like antibiotics or bacteria-killing soaps. If they do, they’re nothing but hypocrites.In fact, they probably shouldn’t eat anything, After all, why kill a cauliflower to stay alive?

  73. Jessica May 31, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    San Diego zoo was a big favorite of our family while we lived there. On more than one occasion, I was barely able to stop my 3-yr old from climbing a barricade and entering an exhibit. And yeah, repetition is the name of the game. You can tell them not to pass the barricade by the lemurs, and they’ll gun for it with the lorises. I guess I should be thankful there were no bushes for my kids to hide in on their way to “meet” the animals, or this could be my story. And I think it’s safe to say that the parents of this kid are beating themselves up more than anyone else over what they could have done differently. We don’t need to fan the flames.

  74. Marco May 31, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    I’m glad someone gets it. Children and their actions should NEVER be judged by adult standards, least of all from do-no-wrong, sanctimonious, goody two shoes, who weren’t even there. The zoo was put in a terrible dilemma and I think handled it in the only way that seemed reasonable at the time to save the child from injury or death.

    Having said that, I feel incredibly sad for Harambe and his caretakers. Gorillas are wildly misunderstood gentle giants, and the more one learns about them the greater the affection and sympathy one feels towards them. This is a tragedy, born out of an unfortunate accident, for wildlife conservation and for everyone who cares about sharing a world with all life. Please keep your judgments to yourselves.

  75. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    People who say they mother was not negligent are applying the wrong legal standard.

    Children are a product of their parents.
    Product liability is strict liability.

  76. ChicagoDad May 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    A little boy survives a dangerous encounter with a gorilla, and the news and social media go nuts. The mom, the zoo, & the response team all get heaped with blame for the gorilla’s death.

    Hundreds of children drown in the Mediterranean fleeing war, and hardly a word is said. Apparently, it’s no one’s fault and nothing can be done.

    This is what it looks like to arrange the proverbial deck chairs.

  77. Warren May 31, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    Michael
    I’m against any animal testing but have no problem killing in defense or for food. Then again a lot of other species will kill for those reasons as well.

    It is only human arrogance that puts us above other species. Guarantee you nature sees it different.

  78. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    Warren, your open-mindedness is appreciated. I do not see many lions protecting gazelles this is true. I also do not see them discussing whether or not it is moral to kill gazelles for their food, maybe they do and I simply do not speak their language. But I do know we CAN have that discussion, so does that not hold us to a higher standard due to our demonstrated abilities?

    You originally outlined a basic self-defense principle which seems to be valid but if we were to apply it in an unbiased fashion in this case, if I knew the zoo policy of shooting the animal if it posed a danger, then I would be justified in shooting the boy once he fell in, in self defense of the gorilla’s life. I am fine with this logic but I do not think others would be.

  79. Library Momma May 31, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    For those who think vegans are “wackos” who value an “animal’s” life over a human’s, please educate yourselves about specieism. Tom Regan’s book, In the Case for Animal Rights, is a good place to begin. Vegans value all sentient life, including human animal’s lives. And I haven’t heard anyone say that the kid should have been sacrificed to save the gorilla’s life but that the zoo and mother and father bear responsibility in the death of this beautiful creature, who had just as much right to life as the child (not more, not less). Humans are animals, just in case you’ve forgotten about biology and evolution. This zoo (and I believe all zoos should be abolished — we can learn about animals better by studying them in their natural habitats or in conservatories that protect them), needs to do a better job protecting animals from onlookers. At the L.A. Zoo, there is a very high wall of Plexiglas surrounding the gorilla enclosure. I haven’t been there for years, but the last time I was there, I could see it would be impossible for anyone to climb over that wall without a very tall ladder. The gorilla in this particular incident was probably already agitated by having to live in a prison-like compound and being gawked at by strange creatures day after day. I don’t see this as a free range issue but more as a responsible parenting issue.

  80. Rachael May 31, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    I think it is very unfortunate that the gorilla had to be killed, but can you imagine the backlash the zoo would have received if they hadn’t taken action and the boy had been seriously hurt or killed?
    I don’t think any one who wasn’t there or doesn’t work with gorillas has any right to make any judgement. But… That’s not the world we live in.

  81. Paul C May 31, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    There IS a difference between free range parenting and not parenting at all. If you take children to a zoo, your one and only job is to watch them. If you can’t do that, don’t take them.

    Also, teach your children beforehand just how dangerous these animals are. At four they can understand the difference between something dangerous and something safe. Explaining beforehand what not to do would have saved this innocent creature.

  82. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Regardless of whether you view my train of thought as intriguing or ridiculous, ignorant, nonense, I would highly recommend reading the short book, Ishamel, by Daniel Quinn. It should at least illuminate the bars of the cage that growing up in any culture places on our minds and affects how we view the world.

    We have made great technological progress since our species first appeared, unfortunately an ideology which places technological progress above social progress has been dominant for quite some time. We see the effects of this from the certainty of the death of this gorilla being justified to our refugee creating wars.

  83. Beth2 May 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    Oh for pete’s sake. Nobody wanted the gorilla to die. Nobody wanted the kid to die.

    So what are people “disagreeing” about? How harshly they should judge a stranger they’ve never met. Umm….for what purpose? What will calling her a bad mom accomplish? What will calling the kid a bad kid accomplish? Why do any of us have to have an opinion about the mom, or the kid, or the zoo?

    I feel like the world would be a much better place if more people said more often: “I have no opinion about that.” The next time some local story becomes international news for some sensational reason, and all of the Internets are gossiping about what should or shouldn’t have happened, based upon the laughably incomplete details available through the media, just try saying this: “I have no opinion about that. How could I? I’ve don’t even know these people.” Trust me, you’ll like it! And it’s fun to watch the utter bewilderment of others, who for some reason don’t realize that they have the option of declining to form half-baked yet inexplicably white-hot opinions about things they know almost nothing about.

    Sometimes the appropriate reaction to news of a tragedy is just to be sad. There’s nothing else to be “done.” Please, let’s not have some misguided souls now try to pass “Harambe’s Law.”

  84. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    This isnt the first time something like this has happened, and it wont be the last. Preschoolers are unpredictable. As for vegans, biology should explain why that isnt a viable dietary option. Look at a diagram, do research. If we werent meant to eat meat, our digestive tract would reject it before digestion even began.

  85. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    ChicagoDad, those wars are caused because we can otherize those unlike us so easily. It is built into all aspects of our culture. You otherize the gorilla, deeming it more important, automatically, than the child. Some otherize the members of ____ tribe/nation.

    It is not a new phenomenon for the human species, but it is one we must overcome.

  86. Andrea D. May 31, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    Forewarning: he’s not crazy about the current “animal rights” movement.

  87. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    We cant break down cellulose. Our digestive tract is too short.

  88. Suze May 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    I’m absolutely shocked this is being circulated around. I found it on Facebook …. posted by a friend of mine. I have no words for this.

    https://www.change.org/p/denise-driehaus-support-harambe-s-law-for-the-gorilla-killed-in-cincinnati

    ……

    So we start punishing parents? Do you not think they’ve been punished enough?

  89. Warren May 31, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    ManorGorilla

    There is no moral debate when killing to eat is the issue. There is a food chain and like lions, humans are apart of it. Hate to burst your bubble but if lions could figure out how to domesticate their prey they would.

  90. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    Andrea, while your linked post was interesting, the author certainly does seem to erect a lot of strawmen to tear down and relies on some pretty outrageous examples to garner sympathy.

    One can certainly argue that some individuals have gone too far, but this overshoot is made more likely because of the callous way in which a vast majority of us view and treat (or accept treatment of) animals. These crazy animal rights people would seem far crazier if factory farms did not exist. If we did not keep animals in cages, whether for testing or entertainment. If we did not just dispose of millions of dogs and cats in the US like they were extra, unwanted fries in the warmer at the end of the shift.

  91. Michael May 31, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    Warren,

    A lot of species also kill for a whole range of other reasons such as to protect their genetic line. Lion males will kill cubs from a defeated male leader and some polygamous birds will kill chicks that were fathered by a subordinate male and the list goed on. We “arrogant” humans are the only species who have evolved the ability of reasoned thinking and selfawareness to the point that only humans actively and conciously protect species that are a potential threat to ourselves. Nature, indeed, sees things differently. It sees things without reaoned thinking in a cold, harsh reality without any form of compassion beyond self preservation or reproductive rights.

    As for animal testing. Being against that is a perfectly valid point of view but imho unworkable in the modern world short of removing oneself from civilization altogether. Precious few medicines or other products (lenses, etc.) have been developed without animal testing. Our entire medical sciences are based on animal testing. Surprisingy as well, things as wideranging as diapers, razors and stationery often involve animal testing.

  92. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    Warren, in our society, most people do some job unrelated to food production, and then use trinkets to exchange for food products in order to survive. Since killing to eat is perfectly OK, I could instead, sit at home, practice with my weapons, and then just kill my neighbor once he traded his trinkets for food. I’m doing it to eat so its automatically OK?

    Non-human animals do this all the time (usually minus the trinket intermediary though). So good enough for them, good enough for me, right? It certainly would be easier if one felt that their moral bar was equal to that of a lion, but I do not.

  93. Barry B May 31, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    There are differing witness accounts of what happened. Some, like this one, say the kid ran off and for immediately lost in he crowd, and mom wasn’t fault. Others say the kid had repeatedly stated he wanted to go into the gorilla enclosure and mom was not paying attention. I’m going to chalk this one up to “I wasn’t there, don’t know the real story, but will reserve judgment regarding as to whether his was preventable or caused by negligence.”

    What I will judge her for is her idiotic statement afterwards in which she said God kept her child safe before authorities arrived. Not only did she express no sadness at the loss of this highly intelligent, critically endangered animal, but her ranting about God’s intervention was just idiotic. First off, if God was going to intervene at all, why allow the kid to fall in, get snatched by the gorilla in the first place, let the gorilla drag around the kid, etc? So what, his divine intervention was limited to just making sure the gorilla didn’t yank him so hard as to kill him? If God was handling things,why did she want to climb into the pit, why did anyone even need to shoot the gorilla? Why didn’t he just get lifted magically back up, or, if God was working by physically controlling he gorilla, why didn’t he have him place the kid down gently and walk away?

    Not to mention, kids die in accidents all the damn time, God didn’t protect them. So what, is her kid God’s super special favorites, unlike all the other kids he lets die? Not to mention, even though of course the zoo made the right call to protect the kid, thee are are plenty of humans in this world, and gorillas are facing extinction. Why did God place no value on the life of the gorilla, one of his creatures? If he was already interceding to save the kid, why not also keep the gorilla safe while he is at it?

    This mom may not be negligent, I dont know, but she sure is an idiot who lacks basic reasoning skills. Hopefully her kid makes it through the rest of childhood with such a stupid mom, and not being taught critical thinking skills.

  94. Vicki Baker May 31, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    So many people are way to quick to judge others UNTIL All the Facts are known. This is one prime example!!

  95. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    I am AMAZED by the number of people who seem to equate being responsible for their kids and their actions with being “perfect parents who never make a mistake”. No. No, no, no, no, NO!

    I don’t know of anyone who claims they’ve never been guilty of moments of inattention. I know I have. Most of the time, those moments are not important because there are no bad consequences. But if there are bad consequences, they are my fault because I was the one who was inattentive.

    Take driving, for example. Lots of people are guilty of inattentive driving. Usually it doesn’t matter because there was nothing that needed our attention while we were thinking about something else. As the saying goes, “no harm, no foul.” But, if you were being inattentive and ran down three nuns and pregnant lady in a crosswalk, you’re not going to get much sympathy when you say “but I just looked away for a second!”, even if it’s true, and even if every single other driver has been guilty of being inattentive at various times on the public roadways. I expect the person who did the nun-running-over to take responsibility for the result of their actions, just as, had it been me, I would have taken responsibility for mine. This is apparently “smug” to some people. So be it. If I am “smug”, they are “lazy” and “irresponsible”.

    Let me give an example. My little one was a climber. I knew she was a climber but I didn’t realize she had no respect for heights. She was about 3 years old and we took her to one of those traveling carnivals that sets up in the grocery story or shopping mall parking lots and my sister and I took her on the Ferris Wheel. We were stopped at the top of the wheel while the ride operator was letting someone on or off or both. I didn’t notice that my daughter, who was literally right there next to me, was trying to climb over the back of the seat. My sister did, and sat her back down, but if something had happened to my precious little treasure, it would have been my fault. I would have been to blame. I was fortunate that my sister was sufficiently attentive in a moment when I was not. It hadn’t occurred to me to tell her “don’t try to climb out of the seat while we’re on this ride”. After that, we had a new rule… no climbing on things without telling parents that you want to climb on it, first. Fortunately for me, she learned fairly quickly what sorts of things dad would say were OK to climb on, and what sorts of things dad would say not to climb on, and adjusted her behavior accordingly.

    In the Olden Days, children were minded by lots of adults. People could, and did, mind other people’s kids freely when it was needed. We saw a narrowing, though, as nuclear families became more insular, the responsibility for minding kids was distilled down to the parents, and only the parents (often at the parents’ insistence). Well, with the freedom to raise your children as you see fit comes the responsibility for ensuring their actions don’t injure others. I had no fear releasing my child into the wild because she was responsible for herself from an early age…. she wanted freedom, she was taught that freedom requires responsibility, and met her side of the bargain.

  96. Warren May 31, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    Library Momma

    Vegans go against nature. Our species was and always will be a predator.

    Like I have always said, if lions, sharks, bears or any other animal could figure out how to domesticate their prey they would.

    You want that lifestyle choice, go for it. Unfortunately too many vegans are like JW’s and feel the need to convert.

    Just as I can end up food for a bear, it can end up food for our family.

  97. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    Michael, re: animal testing and its role in civilization (I’d argue its completely uncivilized but for this point we’ll use the generally accepted use of civilization):

    If you do not defecate on your food supply and in your water supply. If you have basic antibiotics. And you have a rough understanding of what viruses and bacteria are. Your society will be better off than most others in recorded history. This technology and information all exists already. We have sacrificed millions upon millions of animal lives to acquire it. You can continue to have all of this without another animal death. Do you get to cure all cancers? Probably not. Still gonna have loved ones die of some diseases? Probably. But just as the absence of slaves may have had a negative effect on some individuals lives did not mean that it was moral to continue the practice, it does not mean you get to inflict fear, pain, imprisonment on another creature for your “benefit.”

  98. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    Warren, you seem to fall into the typical trap of the technology-dominated culture. That just because you can do something means you should.

    Lions very well may, if given the opportunity, domesticate gazelles and farm. Perhaps they might settle down, build more permanent shelters, and maybe even start to eat a few specific kinds of plants, just a few of them at first of course. Then maybe those plants make those lion offspring stronger, more likely to reproduce. Maybe then some genetic copying glitch results in some more complex cognition, leading to better hunting tactics. Soon more of those individuals are part of the lion pride. Maybe thousands of generations later, in the shade of a tree, members of a species descended from those lions are sitting in a complex nest, discussing whether or not a dolphin would farm a tuna if it could and whether it was morally right to hunt gazelles.

  99. Juluho May 31, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Am I the only one wondering why it is possible for a 4 yr old to get into a gorilla exihbit?!?
    I’ve read all the possible combinations of comments about how bad this kid may be, how bad the mother must be, but no where have I read that any parent taking their child to the zoo has a expectation of reasonable safety. Even if the Internet outragers are correct in every assumption of this parent and child, getting into the exhibit should never be possible. That’s the bottom line.
    Don’t tell me, by the way, that we assume some risk when taking our children because if that were the case parents wouldn’t go, in droves, and pay upwards to 50$ a ticket.

  100. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    If it is human nature to eat meat, then it must also be human nature to question the morality of doing so, it must also be human nature to not eat meat. Because humans do all these things. So human nature is not a rational argument, it is simply invoking a different kind of faith or embracing one’s ignorance as a virtue.

  101. tdr May 31, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    This idea that “the parent didn’t teach” really burns me! Teaching is a 2-way street — you can teach until you are blue in the face, but if the kid (or student or whatever) doesn’t learn it’s not because you didn’t teach!

    And of course, this is a 4-year old so you can’t blame the kid.

    And yes, the zoo could perhaps have made a fool-proof enclosure, but at what expense? This a 40-year event. As we all know, you can’t prevent every accident.

  102. Buffy May 31, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    “And I haven’t heard anyone say that the kid should have been sacrificed to save the gorilla’s life”

    I’m pretty sure that’s what most of the internet shamers ARE saying. It’s very clear to them that the gorilla shouldn’t have been sacrificed to save the child, and there aren’t too many other alternatives.

  103. tdr May 31, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    @Juluho expectation of reasonable safety?

    Something happens once in 40 years? Isn’t that considered reasonably safe?
    I would say it’s more than reasonably safe, it’s very very safe. 100% fool-proof safe?
    Not really, but I don’t believe in such a thing.

  104. EricS May 31, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    This is a situation where I think the parents were too busy doing THEIR thing, rather than keeping an eye on their kid(s). In another news article, the mother of the child said that her boy was wanting to go down to see the gorilla. We all know how kids get, at that age, when they want to do something but are either told “no”, or they are ignored. They go on and do it anyway, by themselves. This seems to me a clear ignorance on the parents part. It’s not like a park where the kid could just run off to play with other kids, it’s a place where a small child can easily get into places we would never expect. And place where there are potentially dangerous animals. The Facebook post, clearly illustrates the complete ignorance of the mother. She’s too busy taking pictures, instead of acknowledging her “begging” son. And it’s not like there was only ONE parent, taking care of many children. It was 2 taking care of 2 kids. But again, when people are to consumed with their personal wants, and their mobile activity (taking pics to show off to their “friends”), bad things tend to happen. It’s fact, when people are distracted with their mobiles, they get into all sorts of trouble. In this case, the parents were too distracted to make sure their kid doesn’t run off, and fall into a gorilla habitat.

    Two other things I take from that Facebook post, the parents (mostly the mother), seemed to be completely unphased when she heard of a boy down there. “Oh, who’s kid is that”. But when she found out it was HER kid, she was in hysterics. The selfish mentality of, “If it’s not my problem, I don’t care. If it becomes my problem, everyone better put what they’re doing down and help me!” The other, according to other articles, this woman didn’t even have the slightest remorse for what happened to the gorilla.

    Selfish attitude. And her kid and the gorilla paid for it. Certain things do happen out of our control. But I don’t believe this is one of those times. The signs were there. From the boys attitude, to the environment they were in. It was a very evident chain of events. The parents just didn’t bother to heed them. And could have prevented this very potential incident. Common sense was not used here. I picture these parents to be the ones you see at Walmart letting their children run amok, while they ignorantly chat on their mobiles.

  105. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    “Am I the only one wondering why it is possible for a 4 yr old to get into a gorilla exihbit?!?”

    They’re designed to keep gorillas in, not to keep toddlers out.

  106. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    “I’m pretty sure that’s what most of the internet shamers ARE saying.”
    It’s not even close. The shamers are saying “if you’d been watching your kid, he wouldn’t have gotten into the gorilla habitat in the first place, and nobody would have had to shoot anything.”

    “It’s very clear to them that the gorilla shouldn’t have been sacrificed to save the child, and there aren’t too many other alternatives.”
    No. Just, no.

  107. Donna May 31, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    “How can you compare the mothers response with one you authored while not under duress and completely removed from the situation?

    Assuming what? My response? I’ve made similar apologies for the behavior of my child when my child caused injury or damage. It is what parents do — they apologize on their child’s behalf for the damage they cause. Even if they don’t believe themselves personally at fault, they acknowledge that their children were.

    The mother made her statement a couple days after the incident occurred, not off the cuff in the heat of the moment. While I am sure that she was still very shaken, her child was home and safe and had been for days. She wasn’t even caught off guard by a reporter who cornered her. She chose to make a comment on Facebook, something she had plenty of time to contemplate before hitting “post.” They were her own words in her own typing and not something a reporter could have edited against her.

  108. Warren May 31, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    ManorGorilla

    You completely miss the point. Nature is all about survival of the fittest. Pure and simple. Humans as a species in order to survive have used our mental fitness to domesticate and dominate.

    You need to understand, those that can not accept that, don’t belong. If truly humans fell into survival of the fittest, the population of humans would be a small fraction of what it is.

  109. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    “If it is human nature to eat meat, then it must also be human nature to question the morality of doing so”

    Morality isn’t the only aspect. Raising meat for consumption is far less efficient than consuming the animal feed directly. You can feed far more human beings on a vegetarian diet than you can on a carnivorous one.

    Man evolved as a scavenger. We aren’t particularly fast, we don’t have particularly strong muscles, or sharp teeth, or claws. But we are VERY versatile. We can obtain sustenance from a very wide range of nutrition sources. That says “scavenger”, not “predator”.

  110. EricS May 31, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    @James Pollack: I don’t normally agree with your comments. But your entitled to them. But I do agree with your last post. I’m old school when it comes to raising mine. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. And I raise mine as I was, with a few needed modifications to get with the times. But for the most part, old school (aka Free-Range). But in a situation like this, knowing that kids can easily fall or get into certain places most people can’t. My common sense and logic, would dictate me to be extra vigilant with my kids. ESPECIALLY, when they are being very “are we there yet, are we there yet?”. Because at some point, they’re going to want to be a kid and take off. If I were the father of that boy, I would have carried him and let him look over. Then explain that he can’t be down there. I would also tell my wife, to put down the phone, and pay attention to the other kids. Once we are in an area where I know I can let my kids explore, without getting into very real, and very potential trouble, I say enjoy. If you lose us, this is where will be. Come back here. Of course, mine was raised proper since they were kids. And they both intellectually smart, as well as street smart. None of them would have put themselves in that position.

  111. EricS May 31, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    Make that your second last comment. 😉

  112. EricS May 31, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    Dang! The long one. lol

  113. Workshop May 31, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    How do you know someone is a vegan?

    Because they’ll tell you all about it.

    FYI, the wild rabbits around my property are decent eating, if a bit lean. I don’t understand why my wife makes me live-trap them, though. They end up in stew either way.

  114. Juluho May 31, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    @tdr
    But it’s not, maybe at this exihbit, in this zoo. But it’s not Haily’s comet rare for a person to get into an animal enclosure or for an animal to get out. It happens.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/harambe-gorillas-zoos-safety-incidents-animals/

    Is it likely on any given day? No way. But maybe just maybe we should be using our collective outrage to look at the actual safety of these places, the potentially dangerous combination of wild and aggressive animals and wild, willful, and quick children and reevaluate? Maybe?

    Instead of collective rolling over this mother like army ants and leaving destructive in our wake?

  115. Betsy in Michigan May 31, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    First off, I haven’t eaten a mammal in 40 years, so I’m pretty empathetic toward higher animals. This was a tragic incident, but humans do come first. Secondly, I would very much like to hear from all the parents of high energy (ADHD) kids. This could have been us when my now 10 year old was this age. We watched him like a HAWK; but at 18 months he walked (ran?) into a small town (thank goodness) street to go back to check out something where we’d been. My eyes were off him for maybe a minute when I damn well nearly had a heart attack and ran to scoop him up. There had been no time for any passers by (lots – a tourist town) to even react; just the cars stopped in the road.

    I can now tell the stories (because I’m finally able to come up for air!), but my life from then to age 8 was one of everyone telling me how fast I was (to catch him!), having him call 911 and pull fire alarms, push the secret panic button at the IKEA play area, etc., etc., etc. (and also telling me that I WAS a good mother, for those of you who may think I’m some wishy-washy, no follow-through, child-spoiling sort). You can’t beat a kid into submission, and even losing toys had limited effect. I imagine that consequences are perceived differently when your brain is running at a bajillion hertz. We had to put high latches on the front door to keep him from exploring without our knowledge (we could hear him when when the tot would drag a chair over in an effort to reach it). HYSTERICALLY funny if he wasn’t your kid, and friends asked me weekly what new antic he’d come up with. He had a one-on-one school aide from KG on (and no thank you, we decided not to medicate him b/c he was happy, enthusiastic, not oppositional, had friends, wasn’t violent, etc.). I had to hire a college student to go to the summer playground program (with lots of counselors) with him when he was 6. He recently recalled that his lower elementary school had stop signs all over the doors and light switches; I had to reveal that those were for him! This has NOT a permissive or poor parenting issue; no one doubts that he is going to be a whiz-bang engineer type when he grows up (he’s already starting to fix things, not just take them apart). We are making reasonable progress toward him not blowing up something accidentally, as did Thomas Edison to his parents garage. These kind of kids are crawling out of the crib by the time they’re two. You can TEACH them how to behave, but it doesn’t mean that they will be able to withstand the biological/neurological impulse to not do so. There is plenty of science about this condition (often occurring hand-in-hand with giftedness, as in our case. It’s a lot of work to make sure you don’t end up with an evil genius). Lots of the best and brightest people in history have used it to their advantage (check out Winston Churchill – that great man had a textbook case).

    And have any of you ever really LOOKED at zoo barriers? Even before this youngest cowboy child of mine came along, it sometimes crossed my mind that a small child wouldn’t be held back much. They are meeting professional standards, though, and it’s generally only an issue when some nutjob adult wants to jump in with the wild animals.

    Unless any of you have parented Jim Carey or Robin Williams, I would politely suggest that you don’t know my world. And when my kid grows up to invent some life-saving device, he WILL make it available to you. Even so, I’d probably better not come back to this site on this topic. Some of you are vicious (and I’m a stickler for personal and collective responsibility. I’m the b-h who tells you to get out of a handicapped parking space if you have no permit, and to pick up the trash you just threw on the ground).

  116. Buffy May 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    What do you mean, no? Read any selection of internet comments on any of these news stories and they all express profound regret, sadness, and anger that the the gorilla was killed. There is very little of any empathy or even basic human kindness toward the child.

  117. Buffy May 31, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    That last was for James ….

    “It’s very clear to them that the gorilla shouldn’t have been sacrificed to save the child, and there aren’t too many other alternatives.”
    No. Just, no.

  118. Another Sad Mom May 31, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    My son has survived to be almost 8 now. Throughout his pre-school years I pulled him off of any number of gates, fences, and barriers – especially if there was (or he thought there was) an animal on the other side. No amount of “talking to him about it” made a difference. He was actually part of a social services investigation at his day-care because he and a friend managed to break out of the day care and take a walk to see the horses down the road. They made it to the main road where a cop happened to spot them and brought them back.
    It is all but for the grace of the Divine that this was never our story. He was quick, and he was good at it. A determined and willful 4 year old is a force most people will never understand. Do I wish the mom had been able to keep him out of trouble, of course I do. I do not however believe she needs to be further punished and blamed for it, and the amount of hate out there scares me. I have been there, I know just how quick it can happen.
    I am also concerned about the bystanders. My understanding, from the first hand description, is that there was an area before the drop where the kid was noticed – and nobody else reached out to grab him. Now of course it isn’t their fault either, but when did we become so concerned with kids that when we see a small kid heading towards danger we ask who the kid belongs to before taking action? No blame, just a sad commentary.

  119. Juluho May 31, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    @ Betsy
    I hear you loud and clear sister. I have a son who is TS+, also 10, who has certainly calmed down as he’s gotten older. But he is a sneaky, crafty, and stubborn little genius. You can’t parent it out of them, you can’t medicate it out of them (unless you put them in a walking coma) you can’t therapy it out of them.
    I’m constantly yelling ‘danger danger danger Will Robinson!’ But he doesn’t always compute.
    So, anyway, I can completely relate to you and this mom. Who may be the perfect mother who turned her head or the world’s worst mother. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t change anything.

  120. Rye May 31, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    So, your child was just involved in a serious incident, where he could have been killed, regardless of “why”. Is your first reaction going to be to go to your child and comfort him, make sure he is ok, and just be with him OR are you going to waste time apologizing to people who don’t matter in your life, over an incident where your child’s could have been lost?

    I guarantee every parent would be with their child first, and then deal with everything else afterwards.

    Give this family some time to react. To heal. To recover. Only then with her head on straight can any mom make a public statement about such a tragedy.

    As I tell my children when accidents or mistakes happen, what’s done is done. Placing blame doesn’t fix anything. Make the proper response and move on. The people so focused on blame, finding the fault, pointing the finger… You must live miserable lives, always trying to dodge the bullet has to be tiring.

  121. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    ” Read any selection of internet comments on any of these news stories and they all express profound regret, sadness, and anger that the the gorilla was killed.”

    They’re very upset that the gorilla was killed. They’re very upset that the situation was allowed to reach the point where the gorilla needed to be killed. They’re very upset that the child was allowed to get into the gorilla habitat. They’re very upset that the child was allowed to get into the gorilla habitat, creating a situation in which the zookeepers found it necessary to kill the gorilla.

    Do you see how this is WAY different from
    ““It’s very clear to them that the gorilla shouldn’t have been sacrificed to save the child, and there aren’t too many other alternatives.”

    The meme says “I was killed because a bitch wasn’t watching her child”, not “I was killed because a child was in danger”.

  122. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    “Make that your second last comment. ”

    Now you know why I quote people before I write my response. The little blue poundsign next to the timestamp for each comment has a link to that specific comment. It can be cut and pasted into a comment, if you want to insert a link to the original comment. I like my system better. YMMV.

  123. alan lewis May 31, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    I feel sorry for the mother of the child with the gorilla mainly because you americans are in a country with 10000 kids die every year because of guns 30000+ people die and you have people that attack schools and kill children and yet you people got a flea in you head about a kid with a gorilla get real I wonder how many people making rude comments against that woman got Guns to say you are an hypocritical country would be an understatement

  124. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    “So, your child was just involved in a serious incident, where he could have been killed, regardless of “why”. Is your first reaction going to be to go to your child and comfort him, make sure he is ok, and just be with him OR are you going to waste time apologizing to people who don’t matter in your life, over an incident where your child’s could have been lost?”

    Just out of curiosity, where you do you see anybody claiming otherwise?

  125. Shana C May 31, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    “As for vegans, biology should explain why that isnt a viable dietary option. Look at a diagram, do research. If we werent meant to eat meat, our digestive tract would reject it before digestion even began.”

    As veganism isn’t the topic of discussion I will keep this brief and won’t debate the point further, but literally EVERY major, respected medical organization in the Western world disagrees. Yes, we are designed to be able to eat meat. That doesn’t mean we have to to thrive. After decades of research, the AMA, the APA, NEJM, BJM, etc all state that not only is it fine for kids and adults to eat a (well balanced) vegan diet, but such a diet is actually significantly healthier than the average non vegan Western diet. Of course, many people lack easy access to a wide variety of foods that can cover all their nutritional bases; but vegans who can do just fine and have significantly lower rates of heart disease, GI cancers, diabetes, and they live longer lives than your average meat eater. Unless they lived in the arctic, most of our ancient ancestors lived on an overwhelmingly plant based diet with limited meat consumption, and eating lots of meat is in fact really bad for your health outside of arctic populations who evolved to live mostly on meat.

    I am not a vegan, btw, but work in health care, and absolutely hate when lay people say “do your research” when obviously their idea of research is “read it on Facebook and believed it without fact checking.”

  126. Sarah in Bunkyland May 31, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    Thank you for writing this. It is terrible what people are writing. The fact that millions of people probably go trough that place and this is the first incident, sadly accidents happen. I do believe most parents do the best they can. I have one guy who is age 4. Watching him 12 hours a day is exhausting. Yes we go on heightened alert but as long as we are together there is almost a bit of “alertness.” IWe can all analyze what happened but there will never be 100% full-proof safety on kids.

    I have traveled to the big parks in South Africa. Where everything is a warning of not getting out of the car. And people there do stupid things. A zoo is so vastly different. Thousands of kids running around. Not a care in the world. And, this is not like the hunters that kill endangered species. Just a family out to the zoo and a tragedy.

    And yeah “zoos” can do a lot better. Most don’t have the space, or realty the space is for human use. I live in DC area. They recently redid it, but mostly for the public use, not to really enlarge most enclosures. And yes the apes have plexiglass, but they could probably expand it by several acres at least. But that would disrupt the people. And we cannot have that.

  127. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    “I wonder how many people making rude comments against that woman got Guns to say you are an hypocritical country would be an understatement”

    Got a car? Cars kill more people accidentally than guns do.

  128. Donna May 31, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

    James, EXACTLY!

  129. Donna May 31, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    “So, your child was just involved in a serious incident, where he could have been killed, regardless of “why”. Is your first reaction going to be to go to your child and comfort him, make sure he is ok, and just be with him OR are you going to waste time apologizing to people who don’t matter in your life, over an incident where your child’s could have been lost?”

    Nope, however here the mother consciously decided to make a statement about the incident a couple days after it occurred.

  130. MattB May 31, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    Donna and James pretty much agreeing….I may keep an eye out for Ragnarok.

    The other absurdity as lightly touched on is that opinions on this aren’t binary.

    Between “This was a random event no one could possibly see happening” and “The parents are evil villains that deserve to be shot” is a vast swath of reasonableness.

    Is she a horrible mother? The full range of facts isn’t in evidence.

    Is she responsible for the actions of her kid? Almost definitely. In this case, her only possible defense is if the kid had a strong record of respecting boundaries and following rules. As an example, my 3.5 year old has a year and a half of understanding crosswalk lights and traffic at intersections and has hundreds of instances without a mistake, and her and her 6 year old brother also explain to be in tedious detail why they did not chase a ball into the street. Because of that, I have relaxed my vigilance in those situations. I have reason to believe that is warranted by past actions. In contrast, I’m like a hawk around the ocean. The 6 year old is getting to be a strong swimmer and a bit cocky, so he still has to have an adult buddy (even in a group, and with a lifeguard present) and not sticking to the buddy, or going back into the water without one is swift and immediate punishment in the form of sitting out and a tedious, painful lecture (appropriate punishment for getting excited and losing focus, as opposed to meanness or defiance). I don’t take pictures without verifying his mother is on the case.

    In this case, the kid stating he was going to climb in removes that defense from her.

    As far as the zoo goes, maybe legally there’s a requirement to protect normally developed people from their own stupidity, but morally? Any reasonable, functional, person knows a fence with animals in it, including domesticated ones, means a boundary not to be crossed, and being the guardian for someone that doesn’t get that means responsibility for keeping them out. If I have a high porch, I need to put up a railing high enough to prevent people accidentally falling, not high enough to prevent jumping.

    She had at least a moment of being irresponsible. It happens. As James said though, that doesn’t absolve one of responsibility. My opinion of her hinges less on a moment of inattention, and more on if she learned her lesson. Her comments around God protecting the kid leave that very questionable, and absolution of their (I see no reason to absolve the father either) negligence makes it less likely she will. As do the aggressive, violent statements sent her way. That just makes people tune out. Hopefully people learn something from this and adjust their own behavior as opposed to “other people need to protect my kid from himself.” The zoo is responsible for keeping the animals in, people are responsible for keeping themselves and their kid out.

    Someone above also said they hope the kid doesn’t remember the horrible, traumatic event for him. That’s also not a good viewpoint. I hope the kid has nightmares, feels guilt over causing the death of the gorilla, and generally is miserable about the whole thing. If he forgets, what’s to prevent him from being a reckless idiot all his life?

  131. Tim May 31, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    I wonder how many times the shamers and those making nasty comments have come close to tragedy several times in their lives, but didn’t because their kid stopped running at just the right time, or a car happened to have just passed, or they just happened to turn around and see as their child was going around a safety barrier, etc? It was an accident. All the piling on does not say much for the pilers.

  132. Donna May 31, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    “The fact that millions of people probably go trough that place and this is the first incident, sadly accidents happen. I do believe most parents do the best they can. I have one guy who is age 4. Watching him 12 hours a day is exhausting. Yes we go on heightened alert but as long as we are together there is almost a bit of “alertness.” IWe can all analyze what happened but there will never be 100% full-proof safety on kids.”

    All that is 100% true. And all that doesn’t change the fact that you are still responsible if your child damages something in ypur natural momentary lack of attention. Even indirectly as was done here.

    I am not opposed to the outrage over the people who are commenting that they never lose track of their children for a moment and she is bad mother for doing so. Of course they do and one incident a bad mother doesn’t make. I am opposed to the idea expressed here that this should be blown off as accidents happen and that the family bears no responsibility for the death of the gorilla.

  133. Autumn May 31, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the sides of the story that so many others have not.

  134. Shana C May 31, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    ” No way. But maybe just maybe we should be using our collective outrage to look at the actual safety of these places, the potentially dangerous combination of wild and aggressive animals and wild, willful, and quick children and reevaluate? Maybe?”

    Meh, I don’t think it’s common enough that we have to get rid of zoos entirely. Most things in life carry some degree of risk, and statistically it’s way more likely a kid would be killed or injured in the car ride on the way to the zoo than injured by an animal at the zoo itself. We don’t just advise parents not to drive their kids unless the drive is for something absolutely necessary like school or a doctor visit.

    Now I do think that zoos shouldn’t exist unless they are primarily for the benefit for the animals; that is, they have spacious enclosures with lots of things to stimulate them and allow them to engage in natural behaviors, they are with other animals of their own kind (if social animals), and the main objective of the zoo is to benefit the animal species exhibited via breeding, rehabilitation, public education, etc. Zoos that are meant just to entertain humans with insufficient thought given to the animals’ welfare have no place in modern society.

    As long as standard safety precautions are taken and compliance enforced, I don’t think the occasional mishap, tragic though it may be, is reason enough to end zoos as we know it.

  135. Curious May 31, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    What are the odds? The likelihood of this happening are zero to none. It was an accident. Accidents happen. Thanks, Lenore, for calling this one correctly.
    Is it a universal human failing to demand certainty in an uncertain world? Or do most of us forgive the twists and turns of our awkward and chaotic existence and make the best of it and forge ahead?
    From the comments, I’d say we are poles apart on this one, as in most everything else these days.

  136. Beth2 May 31, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    @James Pollack: “The shamers are saying ‘if you’d been watching your kid, he wouldn’t have gotten into the gorilla habitat in the first place, and nobody would have had to shoot anything.'”

    Sure, yeah, but so what? It’s not like the mom took to TV and announced, “What’s the problem? I don’t mind that my kid fell 15 feet. I don’t care that an endangered gorilla is dead. If I could replay that entire day, I wouldn’t do anything differently!” She’s probably miserable, and probably blames herself.

    All of us, including the mom, wish the kid hadn’t climbed over the barricade. And I bet all of us, including the mom, speculate that if she’d been holding the kid’s hand during that split second, or hadn’t looked away during that split second, she could’ve stopped the kid from climbing over the barricade. It’s terrible that the kid fell. It’s terrible that he was dragged like a rag doll. It’s terrible that the crowd’s reaction made things worse. When given a choice between certain likelihood of animal death and uncertain-but-real-danger of 4-year-old human death, the zoo chose rightly in saving the human life. But we wish the gorilla were still alive.

    I assume we all agree on all of the above. So, why the merciless judgment of this random woman? Why call the mom a “bitch”? Why launch some campaign for “justice” for an already-dead gorilla?

    The mom-shamers all sound to me like the Anti Kitten-Burning Coalition.

  137. Kathy Havins May 31, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    So….

    Remember that one time Mary lost kid Jesus? It’s a good thing there was so Gorilla in the Temple.

    Social Media would have crucified her.

  138. Shana C May 31, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

    “You completely miss the point. Nature is all about survival of the fittest. Pure and simple. Humans as a species in order to survive have used our mental fitness to domesticate and dominate.

    You need to understand, those that can not accept that, don’t belong. If truly humans fell into survival of the fittest, the population of humans would be a small fraction of what it is.”

    Tou are utilizing a common misperception of exactly what “survival of the fittest” means. In terms of evolution, it doesn’t mean the strongest biggest brutes that can dominate all the other survive and thrive. A lot of evolutionary biologists actually shy away fromt he term, and Darwin himself was said to regret coining the phrase as it became so misused by the public.

    What “survival of the fittest” refers to is the fact that the genetic variances that are most well adapted to a given environment are the most likely to be passed along to future generations. A genetic mutation doesn’t need to provide an advantage to get passed on. Most such mutations are actually neutral, they don’t help or hinder us. Some genes are disadvantageous (for instance, the BRCA 2 mutation that greatly increases the chance of breast cancer), but are still able to be passed on because they do not prevent the organism that has it from being able to survive childhood and reproduce, or because they are recessive genes that are only expressed if both parents carry them, thus a parent can be a carrier for a conditions like Tay Sachs that kills children at young ages.

    However, some genes provide a clear advantage to a given species in a given location. A classic example is moths in a white birch forest. If you have a group of brown moths, and a gene enters the population that causes a moth to be white, that gives it a huge advantage because that moth is much less visible to predators. That moth is much more likely than his brown moth brethren to survive longer and make more moth babies. Thus the “white moth” gene is far fitter than the “brown moth” gene, and more likely to be passed on. “Survival of the fittest” refers to how advantageous the white moth gene is to a moth in a forest full of white trees. It in no way indicates that white moths are the biggest, baddest, strongest moths out there and that is why they survived.

  139. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    “Remember that one time Mary lost kid Jesus?”

    Jesus had his other parent looking out for him.

  140. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    Warren, unfortunately I’m quite aware of your point. It is simply what I view as a barbaric and misguided one. Survival of the fittest is part of the story humans tell themselves about their world. It is part of how the dominant human culture comes to understand things. Natural law as most prominent western philosophers see it is based on primitive understandings of our world.

    There is no biological law which states that one species cannot value its life or that of one of its fellow species members over another. The dominant culture shaped your view of the world much more than your biology has in all likelihood. You can use a basic understanding of human biology and psychology to mold a mind to believe almost anything given the proper conditions.

    As a male of a sexually reproducing species, the law of nature seems to state that I can force myself on a member of the opposite sex. Yet I doubt you would be advocating for this. Accept that part of your nature is that you have the cognitive capability to explore concepts that allow you to expand beyond your biology-influenced tendencies.

  141. karen May 31, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    Am I naive? I have always thought that zoos were 100% safe — especially for children. I have heard of instances where people have intentionally breached the cages, but thought that was an example of idiocy (and/or drunkeness), not danger.

    I am shocked that a 4 year old could get into a gorilla cage. That is the problem.

  142. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    “@James Pollack: ‘The shamers are saying ‘if you’d been watching your kid, he wouldn’t have gotten into the gorilla habitat in the first place, and nobody would have had to shoot anything.’

    Sure, yeah, but so what?”

    So… this has caused people to suffer. Not just the poor gorilla, which doesn’t fall under the heading of “people”, but actual people. There are a large number of other people who love animals in general, gorillas in specific, or THIS gorilla most specifically. They suffered, and continue to suffer, a loss.

    Your lack of empathy for these people speaks poorly for you.

    “She’s probably miserable, and probably blames herself.”
    I’m sure she blames herself for the fact that her child was endangered, and hospitalized. I’m not sure she blames herself (or her child) for the misery of the people who mourn the highly-preventable death of an animal. (Yes, I’m aware that animals are dying, right now, in large numbers and varieties, all over the world. But people were attached to THIS one, and they aren’t to those others.)

  143. JJ May 31, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

    Alan Lewis you are right. A child dies in a gun accident everyday in this country and we don’t see even a fraction of the outrage at the (in these cases nearly always) negligent adults involved.

  144. JJ May 31, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    To be outraged over the fact that the mother didn’t seem sorry enough is kind of silly.

  145. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

    “A child dies in a gun accident everyday in this country”

    A quick Google search suggests the number was around 265 for 2015, or one for every weekday.

    Any idea how many kids were accidentally killed by motor vehicles?

  146. Sam May 31, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

    Blaming the mom for this momentary lapse is outrageous, since 4 year olds are autonomous beings. But so is shooting the gorilla, who is a critically endangered and beautiful creature and shares 98% of our DNA.

    The zoo’s primary responsibility to toward the animals. Since they invite children to visit, they must also ensure that the place is quite safe for people of all ages and abilities. However, as we all know, nothing is 100% safe. The zoo should be perfectly clear that in an emergency, it can only go as far as tranquilize an animal, not kill it. It is time for people to accept more responsibility for their actions, and to understand that they are not the most powerful creatures on earth.

  147. JJ May 31, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    James I know that, overall, guns kill about as many people as motor vehicle accidents do in the US. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/17/guns-are-now-killing-as-many-people-as-cars-in-the-u-s/

  148. EtobicokeMom May 31, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

    Dear Free Range Parents (and anyone else on this site),

    Can we please all make a pact? Let us not judge.

    1. Have you EVER, in your LIFE read a media report about something you were actually familiar with and found it to be 100% accurate? No, me either.
    2. Have you EVER, in your LIFE made a mistake? Yeah, me too.
    3. Have you EVER, in your LIFE, made a judgment about a situation and later, armed with more knowledge, found your judgment wanting? Yeah, me too.

    As with all of the situations reported by Lenore here, We. Weren’t. There. Let us never, ever, ever, judge a parent unless we were actually there, actually know the WHOLE story and know the people involved. This is a great place for us to comment on social policy and general ideas about raising children in 2016. It (can be) a wonderful place to exchange thoughts and ideas. But it should not be a place to judge. Educate, yes. Provoke debate? For sure. But judge? Please, no.

  149. Robin May 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    I agree with Katie; this wasn’t a toddler, he hadn’t been taught how to behave and as a result a family leader of a highly endangered species is now dead.

    It’s not a case of whose fault this is (sometimes it’s no one’s fault, but a combination of circumstances) but, if parents today do not take responsibility when appropriate I really fear for the next generation and the lessons they are learning. Obviously her first concern is for her son, but unless I missed it, where is any public statement about the permanent loss to the world that this shooting represents?

  150. Jenny R May 31, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    Thank you for your sane response, Lenore. Anyone who would argue that the life of a gorilla is more important than the life of a human child is hopefully not a parent. And as far as the mother’s culpability, she could have been any of us. Does taking your family out for a nice day at the zoo (exhausting at the least) sound like something a negligent mother would do? No. It was an accident.

  151. Ann May 31, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

    Everyone makes mistakes. I guess that the people vilifying the mom much have children with 100% compliant personalities and not an ounce of strong-willed tendencies or curiosity. Lucky them. It certainly makes their parenting easier and harder to fall off the perfect pedestal.

  152. olympia May 31, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

    JJ- I look at it this way: say a family is at a restaurant with their unruly toddler. The toddler frees himself from his booster seat while his parents are studying the menu and crashes into a waiter, sending boiling water flying all over the waiter; the child, fortuitously, is grabbed by a nearby patron and spared all injury. The waiter requires extensive treatment, but the parents refuse to apologize, saying, “He’s just a kid! These things happen!” They do, however, crow about how God saved their child.

    I don’t know, reading about that would get me a little miffed.

  153. Jana May 31, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    Lenore, I think that this is just a REALLY bad example of a free-range parenting. This was not even a free-range parenting at all…
    Olympia, Donna & James Pollock, I completely agree with you! Both my kids were energetic (especially the girl), so I knew that in environment which could be potentially dangerous for them I had to watch them all the time. If I did not feel like it, I stayed at home. If anything happened, I would not say “it was just an accident”. When I was a kid, a little girl climbed over to the lion’s cage in the zoo and lost her hand. My father told me so in front of the very same cage reminding me how to behave. I’ve remembered it since… Nowadays some parents believe that it is someone else’s job to bring up their children, and when something bad happens, well, “it was just an accident”!

  154. Theresa May 31, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    They should make sure however that boy got in is eliminated. So some other dumb and daring kid doesn’t cause trouble.

  155. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    “James I know that, overall, guns kill about as many people as motor vehicle accidents do in the US. ”

    Gun accidents killed around 265 people (under 18) in 2015.
    Car accidents killed about 870 people (under 13) in 2014.

    I guess that’s “about as many”, if you ignore the fact that one number is three times higher than the other one.

  156. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

    ” I guess that the people vilifying the mom much have children with 100% compliant personalities and not an ounce of strong-willed tendencies or curiosity.”

    I guess that guessing is WAY easier than actually reading their comments.

  157. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    “When I was a kid, a little girl climbed over to the lion’s cage in the zoo and lost her hand. My father told me so in front of the very same cage reminding me how to behave. I’ve remembered it since… ”

    When I was a kid, a 2 or 3 year old kid tunneled out of the enclosed back yard by going under the house, crawling the length of the building, and escaping through the inspection hatch. He got a couple of miles away, walking down a busy highway, before being spotted by the police. When questioned by police, he refused to give his home address, although he claimed he knew it. Fortunately for the police officer, a passing motorist recognized the child and provided the home address.

    It was the mother’s fault. And she doesn’t like it when I tell this story, to this day.

  158. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    “They should make sure however that boy got in is eliminated.”

    You want an end to gravity?

  159. Bobbi May 31, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

    I love how everybody thinks there such perfect parents and can put down everyone else! I am a parent of 3 children and my kids have wondered off from me in 1sec and and ended up clear on the other end of the mall (yes In that amount of time) and yes it is horrifying!! But it does happen and it’s NOT from neglect like some of u think!! This mother is going through enough, something bad happened to her son and they will live w this for the rest of their lives, and now they have hate mail and death threats!! Really peoples, damn maybe the zoo should of waited and let the gorilla kill the boy then your precious monkey would of been saved!! Would that have made u happy??? Cause that’s what alot of u make it sound like should of happened!! Leave the family alone, theyve been through enough!! NOBODY IS PERFECT, WHERE ONLY HUMAN AND WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES!!

  160. EricS May 31, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    Well said MattB. Well said. People really need to telling it like it is again. It’s has nothing to do with being mean, or disrespectful. It just is. With the hopes that it will be beneficial to the people your talking to. If I see something that looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck…I’m calling it a duck. Plain and simple. So if I see kids going crazy, and the parent not doing anything to quell them, I’m going to say something to that parent. Not as judgement, but purely observational. With explaining all the consequences of their actions (including the parent). As member of the community, I think it’s my obligation to voice out some wisdom. So that people can adjust their behavior, and not affect society as a whole because of selfish and arrogant nature. Otherwise, silence only enables them to continue being that way. Like spoiled little kids that never learned to be corrected.

    I’d also like to add, that if “talking till your face is blue” doesn’t help, then maybe discipline is the next course of action. After all, words are a poor consequence of very bad behavior. I think many of us here understand how discipline works. And many may agree that it does have it’s merits. For me, it helped me become smarter as a kid. More respectful. And to understand that I can’t do anything I wanted. There are consequences. It worked for many of us as children, it’ll work the same way for this generation of kids. Just keep in mind, there is a fine line between discipline and abuse. I’ve disciplined mine a number of times since they were little. As a last resort. And I always explain to them afterwards WHY that happened. And they can ask all the questions they want, and I always answer honestly. Not thinking of them as children who know nothing, but human beings open to learning. They still get into trouble, but they also no limits and boundaries. We are lucky they haven’t pushed them. But I owe that to old school upbringing since they were 2. We’ve managed to find a balance between how we were raised, and the slight changes in today’s society. 😉 And I’m happy with how mine are turning out. It’s all we can hope for as parents. Parents just need to do what they NEED to do. Forget about being friends to your kids. Forget about them getting mad at you. Do what is best for them, and their future. Even if we don’t like it, or they don’t. As adults, I’d like to think we would know what those things are.

  161. Jana May 31, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    EricS@, very, very nice!

  162. Jana May 31, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    James Pollock@, of course it was a mom’s fault! When my toddler daughter escaped many years ago and went to the park, it was also my and my husband’s fault and it would never occurred to me to blame her or someone else! We were lucky that nothing happened, but it was also a great lecture that we needed to watch her more and better. We started to lock the main door and hid the key. She was a rascal…

  163. andy May 31, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

    If you expect accidents like it to never happen, then the only way to achieve that is to hover constantly and closely over kids. I have seen young kids impulsively run away when parent was not looking for a moment, but fortunately nothing bad happened.

    This time it had bad consequences and I haven’t read mothers facebook to make judgement on whether she was appropriate or not. I assume she wrote something she hoped wont make abuse worst. If she assumed apology would make them target of bigger harassment, I am find with her being neutral instead of doing apology.

    This was not a case of a child being allowed to run around zoo freely. It was parent loosing control for a moment. Parents think it is their duty to helicopter and be scared when they do not see child for 30 seconds, because whenever something happen parents are deemed irresponsible for loosing control for those 30 seconds.

    Those who joined in to complain that some kids in other case run around without being supervised closely, well, you are the reason why parents helicopter and dont give them freedom. Because you succeeded and parents were convinced by people like you it is their duty to control children all the time.

    At the “good old times” when kids used to be allowed to run around freely four-five years old (I personally find it too soon but anyway), those kids caused troubles and damage occasionally. That is just how it was and unfortunately, we can not have it both ways.

  164. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    “I love how everybody thinks there such perfect parents […]”

    I love how arguing against a position no one has taken is so much easier than addressing the points people have actually raised!!!

  165. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    “If you expect accidents like it to never happen, then the only way to achieve that is to hover constantly and closely over kids.”

    Unless you count the other ways.
    If you can’t be sufficiently attentive to your child to keep them out of trouble, recruit others to help you. Don’t take your children to places where their particular personalities are likely to create problems for other people. Physically restrain the child if necessary to keep them away from trouble.

    And of course, never having kids is also an effective method to achieve the stated goal.

  166. andy May 31, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    @JJ “To be outraged over the fact that the mother didn’t seem sorry enough is kind of silly.”

    It is sort of trend I would say. A lot is about projecting right feelings (and preferences for that matter). People care more about what who feels and whether those feelings are appropriate then about factual evaluation whether mother actions are in line with reasonable expectations or not.

    By actions I mean what she actually did or was supposed to do as opposed to whether the risk part of “the risk something bad will happen is small” happened.

  167. David May 31, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

    “Blaming the mom for this momentary lapse is outrageous, since 4 year olds are autonomous beings. But so is shooting the gorilla, who is a critically endangered and beautiful creature and shares 98% of our DNA.”

    Sharing 98% of our DNA does not make the gorilla 98% human, any more than sharing 60% of our DNA makes a chicken 60% human or sharing 35% makes a daffodil 35% human. The gorilla was not human or even nearly human; it was an animal. That it had to be killed to protect this child is not outrageous, just an unfortunate necessity.

  168. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

    “Parents think it is their duty to helicopter and be scared when they do not see child for 30 seconds, because whenever something happen parents are deemed irresponsible for loosing control for those 30 seconds.”

    If your child is the sort who would jump into a gorilla cage if left alone for 30 seconds, then it is YOUR responsibility to EITHER remain at least 31 seconds away from any and all gorilla cages, or be sufficiently attentive to your child such that there are no periods of inattention longer than 29 seconds.

    My child was a climber; this meant that we had to establish a rule that before climbing on anything, she had to tell one of her parents that she wanted to climb on it. She quickly sorted what sorts of things received parental permission for climbing.

    “Those who joined in to complain that some kids in other case run around without being supervised closely, well, you are the reason why parents helicopter and dont give them freedom.”
    No. Teaching your children to run around respectfully of others does not require helicoptering. In fact, it negates the need for helicoptering entirely.

    “Because you succeeded and parents were convinced by people like you it is their duty to control children all the time.”
    You are responsible for your child’s well-being whether they are under your constant control or not.

    “At the “good old times” when kids used to be allowed to run around freely four-five years old”
    You could do that back then because pretty much any adult could and would correct your child.
    Then we went through a phase instead of extended families, nuclear families became the “ideal”, and parents demanded that other people NOT discipline their children. That just means that the only one to blame for poorly behaved children is the parents, since they reserved for themselves the sole right to discipline.

  169. Ace67 May 31, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

    U r a fucking piece of shit if u think that dam gorilla is worth more than that kids life

  170. Troy May 31, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    Listening to radio. You got to be kidding. Sad part of people thinking we are to much to blame someone for problems is that no one takes responsible. Everyone else’s fault. Yes it is the parents fault. If you lose your kid yes it is your fault. You forget your kid in a bathroom or in a hot car and dies. Is there any differents…. wake up . The pass the buck needs to stop.

  171. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

    David,

    Can you not recognize that you are making an arbitrary distinction based on no real facts? Or at least none were presented in your comment. Why can you eat deer but not Davids? What makes one meat and the other an equal deserving of respect? Is it something you would be able to show me or is it some sort of puzzle I must figure out or perhaps a spark of insight or emotion I must feel?

    I am not trying to be sarcastic or attack you. I have likely believed many of the same things you do and that we now disagree on. I can’t say I had any rational reason for it though. The dominant culture can be quite persuasive and hide some true horrors in plain sight.

  172. Tom May 31, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    Your just stupid

  173. Michael Moore May 31, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    It’s reasonable for a mother to lose sight of her child for a moment…….if the mother and child are in a location where the child is unlikely to do something in that moment that would endanger its life. This wasn’t the case in Cincinnati. Because of the proximity to the gorilla and the open nature of the zoo, the mother should have been more vigilant than “normal”, especially when the kid had just stated that he wanted to climb into the exhibit.

    Whether or not the zoo should have shot the gorilla is a SEPARATE issue – shame on you Ms Skenazy for attempting to conflate the two – and the zoo was correct in shooting the ANIMAL to save the HUMAN even if the chances were remote that the gorilla would have seriously harmed the child. The magnitude of the consequences of what the gorilla might have done make “drastic” actions by the zoo acceptable even if the odds of the gorilla acting was small.

    Value of human life >>>>>>>>>>> value of animal life.

  174. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

    To the person who quoted me, my research disagrees with your biased articles. We DO need meat. Ive eaten meat my whole life, and the amount i eat hasnt changed much. I didnt start gaining weight until puberty (genetics, ugh). Until then, i was a lean, happy girl with absolutely no health issues. Diabetes, heart problems, and the like run in my family. My diet has nothing to do with that. It simply is. My immune system is and always has been made of steel. So DONT bark at me about the BIASED studies that say meat is bad no matter what.

  175. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    Also, i did NOT “read it on facebook”. Im not gullible like that. I QUESTION EVERYTHING. IT IS A PERSONALITY TRAIT. I READ AND READ AND READ ON BOTH SIDES AND DETERMINE FOR MYSELF WHAT I KNOW TO BE FATUALLY ACCURATE. IT IS SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE BIOLOGICALLY FOR HUMANS TO LIVE WITHOUT ANY MEAT PRODUCTS WHATSOEVER.

  176. SteveS May 31, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

    And all that doesn’t change the fact that you are still responsible if your child damages something in ypur natural momentary lack of attention. Even indirectly as was done here.

    What is the law in Ohio? Many states limit the liability of parents in these circumstances. In Michigan, for instance, it only applies to “willful or malicious” conduct and is capped at $2500. Do you think the zoo of their insurance carrier will sue?

  177. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    We would do well to remember that the lens through which we view the world is only one type of lens, there are many different ones that exist, some completely unlike the lens we are familiar with. If I give you a lens that doesn’t allow you to see yellow, if most everyone has those lenses, you will never know yellow exists. You may even find someone to be crazy if they told you about it, for you had never seen it or know anyone serious who claims to believe in yellow.

    What biases are you not even aware of? What concepts have you not been given or thought of yourself? What concepts HAVE you been given or thought of that then influence others? Is there some information, some experience, you lack?

    We are limited by the constructs we possess at the time. This applies to everyone so you must question the fundamentals of your ideology periodically. As a social animal, we are also limited by the way the majority of the culture thinks, especially if the majority culture is overtly hostile towards the ideas (animals being in any way equal to humans being a prominent example).

  178. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 6:28 pm #

    Elizabeth, meat/animal products are not a magic substance. Your human body needs certain components of these, this is correct, you are correct. However, we are aware of what those substances are. They are not some mystical energy force that dwells within non-human animals. So if you synthesize those components, using either artificial or simply using the natural processes of non-complex lifeforms, you then get to not die and not kill complex life in order to do so. Now of course even a vegan diet kills, insects on crops, bacteria, etc, so they are not bloodless either. And in this final point, we find perhaps an acceptable compromise? Eat insects as your meat source, many humans do it already.

  179. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    “So if you synthesize those components, using either artificial or simply using the natural processes of non-complex lifeforms, you then get to not die and not kill complex life in order to do so.”

    Lol dont make me laugh. Since when is artificial supplumentation better than getting it straight from the source? Btw, vegans wont eat anything made from animals, not even suppluments, so your argument is invalid regardless.

  180. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    Is the artificial better than the one nature makes directly? Perhaps, perhaps not. It certainly has less of the whole taking another’s life part though so many would argue its better and if it makes you not die, then its good enough.

    I must have missed the part where I argued for using animal products thereby making my argument invalid. Perhaps, rather than pointing that out for me, you might be able to articulate exactly what component(s) you require to not die that you cannot make without the use of complex lifeforms?

  181. Donna May 31, 2016 at 7:05 pm #

    “It was an accident” is being written over and over so I have a question. It is undisputed that the kid intentionally flipped over a railing, intentionally crawled under bushes for several feet and then intentionally went over a 15 foot retaining wall. All specially to get up close and personal with the gorillas. How exactly do the people who insist that this incident was an accident define the word “accident?”

  182. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    “Lol dont make me laugh. Since when is artificial supplumentation better than getting it straight from the source?”

    Turns out, the chemicals don’t care. Vitamin C is Vitamin C whether it’s made in a factory or an orange tree.

    “Btw, vegans wont eat anything made from animals, not even suppluments, so your argument is invalid regardless.”
    This would be true if the supplements were made out of dead animals, but they aren’t.

  183. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

    Donna, you raise an excellent point about how the language we choose (whether consciously or unconsciously) can be used to manipulate how others view a situation/idea/whatever. Throughout the thread, blame and shaming is discussed, but the word “accident” is connected to blame as well, specifically deflecting and minimizing it.

    The child may have been ignorant, but he was not innocent in this story. Sometimes ignorance costs you your life. Sometimes it costs someone else’s. The dispute here is in the conscious choice to make this situation, that the gorilla did not initiate, cost him his life. That too, was not a tragic accident, or a tragic necessity.

  184. Ellen N. May 31, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

    I think that this incident and the reactions to it are going to set back the cause of free range parenting. I believe very strongly that parents need to let their children explore the world unsupervised, but not when it isn’t reasonably safe. The child is reported to have repeatedly informed his mother that he was going to enter the gorilla enclosure. According to the account posted above, the boy’s mother took a picture instead of securing the boy. As there are so many people who believe that animals’ lives are insignificant compared to humans’ lives, let’s pretend that it was a different scenario. If the boy had repeatedly told his mother that he was going to run on to the freeway and she took a picture instead of securing him, would people be saying, “Kids will be kids”, or would this be an example of negligent parenting?

  185. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

    “What is the law in Ohio? Many states limit the liability of parents in these circumstances.”

    Ohio has a statute, 3109.09, that establishes damages of not more than $10,000 plus costs, for offenses of willful theft or property destruction.

    Neither one would be applicable here… the kid didn’t steal anything, and didn’t destroy anything.

    Parents in Ohio May Still Be Liable Under Common Law

    Parents may find themselves on the financial hook for their children’s actions even when Ohio’s parental responsibility laws do not apply. Typically, these statutes focus on providing specific remedies for specific actions. But under the non-statutory “common law” rules — which are derived mostly from court decisions handed down over the years — parents and guardians can be deemed negligent for failing to adequately supervise minor children.

    Essentially, parents who know their child has a propensity to act in a dangerous or reckless manner may be expected to take reasonable steps to prevent the child from causing foreseeable harm to others. For more information on general fault principles,
    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ohio-parental-responsibility-laws.html

  186. Bill May 31, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

    I am the parent of three, now all adults. One I single parented from a young age. It is completely impossible to watch one child constantly. We try but kids are quick and the boy that went over the fence was one of those runner types. I want to see someone give the mom credit for having taken her family to the zoo instead of feeding them TV and video games. An indication of good parenting. I am terrified by how judgmental and self righteous so many commenters are. The lack of common sense is obvious. One major point. Because no other child went over the barrier in 38 yrs does not necessarily mean its adequate or safe. It could simply be luck. Because millions visit the zoo does not mean that millions stood at that particular spot which may have been more of a risk. We don’t know enough to be JUDGES. Passing judgement on any of this would require way more info. Rushing to blame or find fault is just plain mean. I sympathize with the mom, the kid and the zoo folks about equally. If you have not raised children then keep your mouth shut. I come from an era where free range was normal. We played at the airport, in a junkyard, fished from RR trestles, swung from grapevines and all five of us survived. It was not because of helicopter parents. Parenting is tough stuff and we each do the best we can with it. I can not say this mom was not partly at fault, maybe, maybe not. I really appreciated the first hand account and trust that more than the comments that follow.

  187. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    James, what exactly is it made of, then? If not made of natural ingredients, then i certainly do NOT want it in my body. There is only one way to get it without putting who knows what into your system. You know it.

    ManOrGorilla, same thing: What is it made of if it doesnt come from animals? You cant synthesize animal protein, and plants severely lack the nutrients only found in animal protein that we need. I am NEVER EVER taking suppluments for the needs that plants cannot meet because it is either made from the natural source, defeating the supposed “cruelty free” purpose, or it is made of something that just shouldnt be in our bodies, much like how typical margarine (a supposedly healthy dairy alternative) is one molecule away from either plastic or diesel fuel, depending on whether you remove or add a molecule. I hate margarine for that reason, although i sometimes have to eat it because it is cheaper. Furthermore, there are very few unbiased studies that find evidence for veganism, and many that find evidence against it. It is undeniable, and we are on the high end of the food chain. Even monkeys and apes eat meat and meat-like foods occasionally, from insects to other mammals. The people who make the vegetarian or fruititarian claims can go bother someone who is gullible enough to believe it. I have eaten deer, freshly killed. Yet i love fawns. I eat beef, but i think calves are cute. I eat pigs, but the sight of piglets make me squeal with delight (no pun intended). I eat chickens, but chicks make me awww really loudly. See, we are all hypocrites regarding food. Vegans can claim their lifestyle is cruelty free, but animals still die for it, even if unintentionally. Field mice, insects, rabbits, raccoons, coyotes, etc are killed by farmers every day to protect crops and the farm animals, as well as unintentionally during harvesting (in the case of field mice). You can pretend not everyone kills something, but youre living a lie. Im an advocate for natural food sources, and sustainably raised livestock. Im not now, nor will i ever be, an advocate for going against nature in any way, and that includes trading healthy options for synthetic crap.

  188. olympia May 31, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    Donna- In this case, I think people intend accident to mean a)there was no malicious intent, b)you can’t really call the kid responsible, because hey, he’s 3, and c)the parents’ behavior was within the parental margin of error.

    I think c) is debatable, but otherwise I have no problem with this interpretation of “accident”. What I do have a problem with is the belief this absolves the parents of responsibility. To give yet another example, if you and your kid are practicing baseball in the backyard, and somehow a ball winds up going through the neighbor’s window, shrugging, “Hey, it was an accident,” is not going to suffice. You apologize and make restitution.

  189. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    “James, what exactly is it made of, then? If not made of natural ingredients, then i certainly do NOT want it in my body. There is only one way to get it without putting who knows what into your system. You know it.”

    You seem badly confused.

    First off, chemicals don’t care where they come from. They just are. Calcium is an element, there’s no difference between the calcium you find in minerals, in plants, or in animal tissues (now, there IS a considerable difference between the calcium COMPOUNDS between sources, but that’s a different topic.

    Second, you seem to have switched from “dead animals” to “natural ingredients”. Pick one or the other; they are not interchangeable.

    When you consume animal flesh, you are actually MORE LIKELY to get contaminants such as heavy metals or neurotoxins than the same compounds obtained from plants, and you won’t get heavy metals or neurotoxins at all in supplements that are synthesized in a factory.

  190. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

    Elizabeth,

    “and plants severely lack the nutrients only found in animal protein that we need”

    And those nutrients are what, specifically?

    “It is undeniable, and we are on the high end of the food chain. Even monkeys and apes eat meat and meat-like foods occasionally, from insects to other mammals”

    Yes, we possess the cognitive and physical capabilities to do these things. As I said to warren, just because you CAN do something, does not mean you SHOULD.

    “You can pretend not everyone kills something, but youre living a lie”

    Now it just seems you’re being dishonest. Or you must have missed the part where I mentioned everyone kills something.

    “Im an advocate for natural food sources, and sustainably raised livestock. Im not now, nor will i ever be, an advocate for going against nature in any way, and that includes trading healthy options for synthetic crap.”

    Certainly a belief you can have and that you share with many others. However, do you recognize it smacks more of faith and religion than any kind of rational argument or justification? What is nature’s way? Who defines it? Is it written anywhere?

    And I’m not sure what massive amounts of synthetic crap a non-animal based diet requires, I would be very interested to hear what they are, I might learn something in the process.

  191. Victoria May 31, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    I heard the story on CBS about a witness said ” the mother and child were arguing. The boy said I’m going in there and the mother stated No you’re not! Why isn’t this talked about!

  192. Donna May 31, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    “What is the law in Ohio? Many states limit the liability of parents in these circumstances. In Michigan, for instance, it only applies to “willful or malicious” conduct and is capped at $2500. Do you think the zoo of their insurance carrier will sue?”

    I’d be incredibly surprised (and outraged) if the zoo sued the family, but I wasn’t talking about legal liability. I was talking about our moral responsibility as parents to not allow our children wreck havoc on others without acknowledging their harm and trying to make amends. In this case, attempts at making amends probably amount to little more than an apology. The gorilla can’t be replaced, the parents likely can’t afford to pay the monetary value of the gorilla (I assume gorillas are worth a hefty sum) and nothing the parents did calls for them to be bankrupted or indebted to the Cleveland Zoo for the rest of their lives.

  193. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

    “I think c) is debatable, but otherwise I have no problem with this interpretation of “accident”.”

    I don’t think anyone’s arguing that the kid set out to get a gorilla killed, or that the family’s outing for the day was chosen with that outcome in mind.

    There’s “accidents” that are accidents, there’s “accidents” that are the fault of many different people who each contributed, making ultimate assignation of blame a wasted endeavor (who caused the Apollo 13 accident? We’ll never know.). There are “accidents” where the blame is absolutely clear, but the person who suffered just had bad luck (if a car owner doesn’t do maintenance, until one day the brakes fail and a fatal accident results.)

    There are “accidents” that fall under the clear legal definition of negligence (duty, breach, injury, proximate cause)… which you probably have here, although the gorilla’s heirs won’t be able to pursue a wrongful death suit because they don’t have standing to sue.

    There are “accidents” that are just accidents waiting to happen.

    But I think Donna is correct, that people are saying “this was an accident” in the sense of “there’s nobody to blame here”, and they’re incorrect, possibly but not necessarily intentionally. The blame is clear, and it doesn’t lie with the gorilla, who was just minding his own business and gorillaing at home when this kid made an unauthorized entry.

    Try this… yes, mom and dad are to blame for not property securing and or monitoring their offspring unit. Yes, it is a terrible waste that this chain of events forced the zoo to put down the animal to ensure the child’s safety. And… that’s the end of it. No outrage, no death threats, no, well, anything more is needed. The end.

  194. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

    Regarding nutrients found only in animals, its either synthetic, or made from animals. That qualifies as a natural resource. I should have made that clear. James, the compound difference is what makes it healthy or unhealthy. The omega-3s in meat is not the same as that found in plants, and our bodies are not designed to convert it from the plant form to what we need. See, you seem to think that it doesnt matter, but it does. It will always matter to our bodies. Maybe do some anatomical research before talking to me. I wouldnt be talking about this at all if i didnt know what im talking about.

  195. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

    “And I’m not sure what massive amounts of synthetic crap a non-animal based diet requires, I would be very interested to hear what they are, I might learn something in the process.”

    I believe you have correctly noted that we are arguing with someone who treats this as an article of faith, rather than of rationality.

    Well, as someone who only eats “natural” things, surely she avoids beef cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats, all of which have been rather thoroughly domesticated for a good number of millennia, and thus are no longer “natural”.

    Disclosures:
    I am not a vegetarian. I’m fully aware of the effects of factory-farming. I supplement vitamin D.

  196. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 8:03 pm #

    “Maybe do some anatomical research before talking to me.”
    I’m not sure how checking out your anatomy is necessary, but I’m willing to give it a try if you think it’s important.

    “I wouldnt be talking about this at all if i didnt know what im talking about.”
    Unfortunately, this is something that people who don’t know what they’re talking about often say, so it’s not exactly bulletproof. I’m not saying it’s not true, because I don’t know… but the whole of your commentary suggests… maybe not.

  197. Beth May 31, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    @Victoria, it’s being talked about all over the place – did you read any other comments? Supposedly the boy repeatedly told his mom that he was going in the gorilla pen, though I have no idea if any of these “repeatedly” reports came from anyone who was ACTUALLY THERE. Then, mom took a photo, making her officially the worst mom ever because only neglectful parents would take a photo at a family outing.

  198. olympia May 31, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    James- I was thinking of “at fault” in a broader sense you might say, not legal. You can’t deny the parents’ culpability in this, but there is culpability and then there’s culpability. A parent who loses track of their child for a moment, only to have said child Houdini escape and wreak havoc- they’re still culpable, but they are different from the parent who ignores their child for hours, only to find their kid destroying a neighbor’s house.

  199. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

    “Furthermore, there are very few unbiased studies that find evidence for veganism”

    There are people who live long, healthy lives on a vegan diet. This rules out the argument that it is impossible to survive on a vegan diet.

    Human biology has evolved to take in and use whatever nutritional source is available. You can get nutritional disease by lacking specific compounds that the human body will not manufacture on it’s own. Rickets, beri-beri, pellagra, scurvy. But the human body has absolutely no preference where the vitamin-C came from, as long as enough of it is present in the diet.

  200. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

    “You can’t deny the parents’ culpability in this, but there is culpability and then there’s culpability. A parent who loses track of their child for a moment, only to have said child Houdini escape and wreak havoc- they’re still culpable, but they are different from the parent who ignores their child for hours, only to find their kid destroying a neighbor’s house.”

    I think you’re on the same side as me. On this one thing, at least.

  201. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

    “Try this… yes, mom and dad are to blame for not property securing and or monitoring their offspring unit. Yes, it is a terrible waste that this chain of events forced the zoo to put down the animal to ensure the child’s safety. And… that’s the end of it. No outrage, no death threats, no, well, anything more is needed. The end.”

    Some of the outrage stems from the final bit about forcing something. A certain belief system may have compelled you to act, in some way the societal pressure being the force you could argue, but this was still a choice. A valuation of one over another without any rational justification. That it is seen as something that should be done automatically and presented as the obvious choice, the child over the gorilla, that is outrage-worthy to some.

    That idea is also quite silly to some. Slavery was once the natural order of things. Women were once nothing but baby-factories in much of the west. At one time animals and their cries of pain were deemed similar to the sounds of a machine. Can you folks not imagine how history might judge us all?

  202. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

    “Some of the outrage stems from the final bit about forcing something. ”

    Then it’s badly misplaced. The parents had nothing to do with the decision to put down the animal.

    This leads off into a whole different ethical arena… the degree to which you can blame someone for the actions they take under the effects of adrenaline. Law has long recognized that adrenaline significantly inhibits proper cognitive function.

  203. HotInLa May 31, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

    They should plant the mean, sticky shrubs that are around the gorilla exhibit at Audubon zoo in New Orleans. No one, not even a super curious 4 yr old would be crawling through that without emerging bloodied. Those things are tough!

  204. Donna May 31, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

    Olympia, I agree that the child cannot be held culpable because he is 4, but immaturity doesn’t make the act itself accidental. There is no doubt that the child knew he was going into the gorilla enclosure and knew that he was not supposed to be there but went anyway. That he couldn’t possibly conceptualize at his age that him doing this could result in death, either his or the gorillas, doesn’t negate the fact that he formed an intent to do something and then acted on it.

    A one year old who simply wanders off randomly and ends up in the gorilla enclosure is an accident. A child saying “I’m going into the gorilla enclosure” and then doing exactly that is not an accident, regardless of age.

    My objection is exactly what ManOrGorilla explained. People are using the word accident in a situation that is not at all accidental to deflect the responsibility that the family has in the death of the gorilla. It is debatable whether that responsibility is personal to the parents, but it should not be debatable that they have a responsibility for the intentional and knowing (at least that it was wrong) wrong acts of their child.

    I while I agree that something being an accident doesn’t fully negate the need to seek absolution, it does change the level on which you are playing somewhat. We clearly view a ball accidentally hit through a window differently than we view a ball intentionally hit through a window. I would offer to pay for the window either way, but I am probably going to offer something more (not money, but something) if my kid intentionally hit a ball through someone’s window.

  205. Cindy Ambrose May 31, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    Here’s a question I have, if the gorilla would have killed the boy, would they have killed the gorilla after because he did that?

  206. ManOrGorilla May 31, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

    “Then it’s badly misplaced. The parents had nothing to do with the decision to put down the animal.

    This leads off into a whole different ethical arena… the degree to which you can blame someone for the actions they take under the effects of adrenaline. Law has long recognized that adrenaline significantly inhibits proper cognitive function.”

    Outrage against the parents for shooting the gorilla, no, of course not, unless they pulled the trigger, that particular outrage belongs with the zoo officials. But it doesn’t stop there. It also belongs with the society that essentially demands that the child be valued over the gorilla. As others have pointed out, perhaps there would be a suit if they didn’t kill the gorilla, perhaps they would simply lose their job for not killing the stupid animal and letting further harm come to the precious child. That ideology also deserves outrage because no rational basis is provided for the differing valuation and that irrational yet widely accepted belief results in the death of this individual as well as millions of others daily. And unless the parents have been vocal about how they would have rather little Jimmy die than the gorilla, then they get lumped in with society.

  207. olympia May 31, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

    Donna- For sure, the 4-year-old knows more than the 1-year-old. I still don’t think they have the ability to fully realize just how dumb some of the things they’re doing are. It was at 4 that I decided to drive the family car, and while I had a vague idea it wasn’t the best thing I could be doing, it was simply an offer I couldn’t refuse. And, as I said, it was also at 4 my sister decided to teach the chickens to fly- another idea with awesome results. 4-year-olds often believe in Santa Claus and in my nephew’s case, that clowns are born looking the way they are (he is terrified of clowns and the thought of giving birth to a clown now has me terrified, too).

  208. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

    “Here’s a question I have, if the gorilla would have killed the boy, would they have killed the gorilla after because he did that?”

    Probably not.

  209. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    “Donna- For sure, the 4-year-old knows more than the 1-year-old. I still don’t think they have the ability to fully realize just how dumb some of the things they’re doing are.”

    If not realizing just how dumb what you’re about to do really is meant that you weren’t responsible for your following actions, we wouldn’t need NEARLY as many prisons as we have.

    Children are equipped with parents for specifically this reason. (Not being able to understand the ramifications of actions, not prison-building, I mean.)

  210. Theresa May 31, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

    End gravity?! All I ask is that only those who are supposed to go in are able to get in. That doesn’t seem like a lot about ask.

  211. olympia May 31, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

    James- But do many of the people in prisons really have the intellect of a 4-year-old? For an adult, that’s pretty profoundly disabled. I know they’re are a lot of intellectually disabled people in prisons, including (especially?) on death row. But from what I’ve read they’re functioning on the level of 12-year-olds, not 4-year-olds. Not that executing someone with the intellect of a 12-year-old isn’t obscene.

  212. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    James, theres a difference between surviving and thriving. I have read countless articles and studies, and i havent found one presenting veganism as viable to have irrefutable arguments. Im not arguing faith. Im arguing facts. I eat what my family eats, although as soon as im able to move out, i will only be eating sustainably raised meat. Ive already started that with chicken. You cant synthesize natural compounds without ignoring nature. Alot of the so-called cruelty free suppluments contain ingredients that should never be put in our bodies. I dare say most of them, at least the ones that are the hardest to or impossible to get on a vegan diet. Its simply not natural for humans to eat only plants. Those who say it is, especially those who say its what is natural, are wackos. Think of civilizations thay thrive mostly on meat and meat-like proteins. What will they do for food if this idiotic “go completely meatless for your health and the environment” crap reaches them? They thrive on their high protein diets, having adapted to the given environment in order to survive. Adaption, not evolution, made us eat meat. Also, all those “meat alternatives” have to be imported here in the US, adding to the amount of jet fuel used, contributing to “envionmental change”. Chia seeds, chickpeas, tofu, etc, are ALL imported. How is that helping the environment? If you are still going to be stubborn (you too ManOrGorilla) then i have nothing more to say. Stubborn people cant be reached. Their inflated heads have thick skulls, and their ego is so big it restricts their vision.

  213. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

    One more thing…i dont have to provide any evidence. It isnt my fault you arent willing to look it up. Then again, you guys are better trolls than you are researchers. There. Now im done talking. Bye.

  214. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    “One more thing…i dont have to provide any evidence. It isnt my fault you arent willing to look it up.”

    In debate, the person who makes a claim also has responsibility for producing evidence that supports their claims.

    You choose not to produce any evidence, I choose to believe it’s because you can’t.

    “James, theres a difference between surviving and thriving.”

    Not as big as the difference between surviving and death.

  215. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

    “do many of the people in prisons really have the intellect of a 4-year-old?”

    You’re moving the goalpoasts.

    I said: “If not realizing just how dumb what you’re about to do really is meant that you weren’t responsible for your following actions, we wouldn’t need NEARLY as many prisons as we have.”

    This is a trait not limited to 4-year-olds. A good number of people get well into adulthood. We get 60-year-old politicians dismissing the extramarital affairs they had in their 40’s as “youthful indiscretions”.

    4-year-olds get issued parents specifically to assist them with the “not aware of the ramifications of their actions” problem.

  216. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    I really dont need to provide evidence. Youre sooo willing to never believe me, so why should i provide links to articles youll only dismiss as false no matter how much sense they make? I can provide evidence. But i wont. I dont like to engage trolls, usually. Especially not trolls with egos the size of planet.

  217. Havva May 31, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

    The first I heard about this was a Facebook post where the picture was all red text except the parts in parenthesis below that said:
    My kid would never
    (fall into a gorilla pit)
    Because I’m am attentive parent….
    (And other lies we tell ourselves)

    Not knowing what had happened, I actually laughed out loud. It reminded me of the time a student, with great self assurance, had cause and effect mixed up. After much debate, the professor grabbed a paper off the student’s desk, crumpled it up, and tossed it over his shoulder. The stunned student asked why and the professor calmly asserted. “It keeps the elephants away.” And pressed on with that absurd line of reasoning.

    That is how our society treats anything and everything that happens with kids. Just because an event is incredibly rare, doesn’t mean that something you are doing had made it so. And just because some rare thing happened to someone else, doesn’t mean that person was failing to take the ordinary precautions that others take. My kid is a complaint one, I was a complaint kid. But we both loved Curious George when we were 4 because even compliant kids around that age get hair brained ideas and try to do things without understanding where those choices will lead. This was an unusual and spectacular failure in that category. I have seen video of such incidents before, where kerpers managed to separate the animals from the child. Where it all ended as a blip on the radar of the public. As I understand it, the keepers tried, they really did, and the efforts failed. I can’t imagine how hard this has been for the zoo keepers.

  218. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    “I really dont need to provide evidence.”

    Can’t it is, then.

    “I dont like to engage trolls, usually. Especially not trolls with egos the size of planet.”

    Pfft. My comically-enlarged ego is easily the size of THREE planets, and I an provide evidence of that, too.

  219. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

    In this age of internet, usually i look things up for myself when someone argues with me to try to prove something. I dont wait for them to send me a link or quote or whatever. As for your sarcasm, it proves both that your ego is undeniably large, and that you are indeed a troll. Plenty of information is available on the internet. I usually do not provide links for trolls, but here you go.

    http://paleoleap.com/vegetarianism-bad-environment/

    http://nypost.com/2015/11/01/bacon-causes-cancer-when-pigs-fly/

    https://authoritynutrition.com/7-evidence-based-health-reasons-to-eat-meat/

    Going back to 2013.

  220. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    Thats only a small fraction of what ive read.

  221. Mace Kelly May 31, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    I suppose you can make an argument connecting this tragic event to the ‘Scapegoat’ archetype and Girard’s project, but I find the latter more complex, subtle, and with a deeper foundation along the lines to cleanse the community of some identified evil or threat to the stability of the community, than just assigning blame on this incident. There are countless single tragic incidents, or less tragic, that trigger a blame or fault finding human mental process, but if we elevate each of these to the Scapegoat, then it is lost forever in applying too often, too much.

  222. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 10:21 pm #

    “Thats only a small fraction of what ive read.”

    You should read all the way to the bottom next time, so you’ll find that the sources you’re citing don’t support your claim and save you the embarrassment of being called on it.

    “7. Anything Else?

    Meat is no dietary devil.

    However, there is no actual need for it in the diet either.”

    “it proves both that your ego is undeniably large, and that you are indeed a troll.”

    If “troll” means “person who reads the material you linked to and points out that it utterly fails to support your claim”, then guilty as charged.

  223. Cassie May 31, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    It is a fine line between parent bashing (e.g. That abhorrent meme), and judging a situation with respect to your own children.

    I 100% agree with what Lenore said, and yet I also agree with Donna and Katie (somewhat)… How is that possible?

    I think it is because I don’t judge the woman for a second, I read the article with little thought directed toward her, I am trying to look for clues to reassure myself that this won’t happen to me. Not so we can judge the mother, but so that we can decide if we are overlooking something that we should be worrying about (….humourously in this case it is the chance that a 400lb gorrilla takes a liking to my 4yo).

    I let my 4yo and 6yo run loose at the zoo. I let my guard down. I (smugly) trust in their good judgement and ability to follow the few rules that I dictate. Could this happen to me is the question – and parents judge the story (not the mother) in an attempt to figure that out.

    (The people posting those memes and having a go at the mother are just dickheads – really. It is a great conversation to have within a small social circle, but not online).

  224. elizabeth May 31, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

    I did read all the way to the bottom of the articles. I never saw anything like what you claim is there. I never deem an article as viable or not viable until i read ALL of it. Im not stupid.

  225. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

    “I did read all the way to the bottom of the articles. I never saw anything like what you claim is there. I never deem an article as viable or not viable until i read ALL of it”

    Item number 7 of the “7 evidence based health reason to eat meat”, at the link you provided.

    https://authoritynutrition.com/7-evidence-based-health-reasons-to-eat-meat/

    “7. Anything Else?

    Meat is no dietary devil.

    However, there is no actual need for it in the diet either.”

  226. James Pollock May 31, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

    “usually i look things up for myself when someone argues with me to try to prove something. I dont wait for them to send me a link or quote or whatever.”

    Great! I said there are plenty of people who live long, healthy lives on vegetarian and vegan diets. Let me know what you find.

  227. Warren May 31, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

    Manor gorilla

    First I have no obligation to eat substitutes just to satisfy bleeding hearts. When I can go moose hunting, kill a great source of very lean and healthy meat. Enough meat to feed a few families and have a vacation at the same time.

    I have no moral dilemma about it. I thoroughly enjoyed our pork roast wrapped in bacon tonight, the steaks on the weekend. I am going to have a great time with the annual fish fry this Saturday of all the fish caught this winter. We plan on doing a whole lamb over a pit at the first corn roast and so on.

    Can I do all this? Yes. Should I? Hell ya cause it all tastes so damn good. I have no problem killing for food. And to answer something you asked earlier, if it meant the difference between my kids eating or starving to death I would would have no problem killing to get someone’s food supply.

    So you enjoy your protein shake and I will enjoy my steak.

  228. Rachael May 31, 2016 at 11:03 pm #

    All I can think is this could have easily been my toddler. I can watch him like a hawk, but they move so fast! You turn for a second and they’re gone. I feel so bad for this mom. It’s like we have to shame her in order to feel better about ourselves.

  229. Orkbrother May 31, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

    I think the kid should have been forfeit and left in the exihbt to grow up as a modern Tarzan. That’s what Jesus what have done anyway. Abort everyone and hail Satan!

  230. hineata May 31, 2016 at 11:44 pm #

    Wow, this particular story has generated a lot of interest. I just wanted to back Pentamom up….haven’t managed to read all the comments. …but of course one doesn’t need to justify the death of the gorilla over the child on grounds other than religion. Plenty of people believe in religions. So-called rationality is also merely another belief system, as is deciding not to believe in God.

    Can also understand and agree with Warren regarding the nature comments. I also love most animals – except a certain goat of my acquaintance, and I am on the verge of eating my current stupid dog! – but have no problem either eating beef, pork, wild game etc….and if it came down to an animal or my family, given the ability I would kill the animal, no question.

  231. Joe June 1, 2016 at 12:19 am #

    I am upset with this. The more I look at the video, the more I see a gorilla who wants to protect the child. He even touched the childs hand twice and his arm once in a delicate manner. Furthermore, the zookeeper in charge of him said even females have a tendency to quickly pull on their young to protect them. So, I truly don’t think the gorilla would have harmed him. Also, why did they not try to give him bananas as opposed to killing him. Shame on them!

  232. Warren June 1, 2016 at 12:44 am #

    For those like Joe saying why didn’t they try bananas or tranquilizers. …

    400 pounds of pure muscle. 400 pounds of unpredictable muscle. 400 pounds of gorilla muscle. A 400 pound professional fighter in prime condition wouldn’t stand a chance. One twitch, one scare, and that small boy is dead or severely injured. A gorillas skeleton and muscle is far superior to a human. It had to be shot.

  233. James Pollock June 1, 2016 at 1:11 am #

    “why did they not try to give him bananas as opposed to killing him. Shame on them!”

    Well, gorillas aren’t that fond of bananas, for one thing.

    Keep in mind that the people who decided to shoot him were the trainers who knew the most about him, about gorillas in general, and who were on the scene.

    Tranquilizers work OK for a gorilla, or a bear, in a tree. You can shoot him with the tranquilizer, and wait for it to take effect. Ditto with big cats that are walking around. But if it’s mailing someone, you don’t have time for the tranquilizer to take affect. And there’s some CYA. Imagine if they shoot the animal with a tranquilizer, and in between the time it gets hit and the time the drug takes effect, the child is seriously injured or killed? How long will your zoo have a gorilla exhibit if that happens?

  234. Erica Moon June 1, 2016 at 2:24 am #

    This post is completely stupid. No I wouldn’t blame a mom if a man hole blew up on her kid, unless it’s a child that should be being watched and not wandering on the streets by himself. Then of coarse yes I definitely would.

  235. zzmel June 1, 2016 at 3:50 am #

    Yes, I also feel sorry for the gorilla. Where is the blame to be put? It is hard to know to put the blame on. We know one thing and that it was an accident. It could be the parents for not watching the child and failing to give specific instructions of how to behave in animal park. It could be the child as his curiosity took the best of him or as a child of 4, exploring is what they do. How do many 4 year olds listen anyway? It could have been the park and how it was arranged for the best security which they did not consider this can possibly happen. Even the patrons at the park by their loudness which freaked out the gorilla. This is the senario. The boy fell over the railing and had to go through another fence and some bushes. The gorilla saw this and it appears that this large animal was protecting the boy. The visitors are the park became loud and boisterous most likely scaring the gorilla and he became agitated. He picked up the boy which was some kind of protection for the boy. It looked like the gorilla was taking the boy and to run away. This produced more chaos and made something that even got worse. Was the boy in jeapordy and would the gorilla harm him? I think not. Some zoo person personnel thought that the boy would be harmed and shot and killed the gorilla. According to interviews, tranquilizers couldn’t be used as being the gorilla was in acting in more distressful ways and know what he would have done next. I felt the gorilla should never been shot and unfortunately killed. That was the most extream thing that was done. Me looking at the gorilla in videos and photo’s the gorilla had a pleasant face and looked like he would not harm the child. Personally I believe this whole senario could have been handled differently with a much better outcome. Thankfully the boy wasn’t hurt severely and he would be alright. The gorilla met his fate. I would think that this will go for further investigation. By the way I am not an animal rights activist but I care for them.

  236. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 6:31 am #

    Elizabeth,

    So along with one of your three sources stating that meat is not required, as was already pointed out, everything else just seems to come down to: its nutrient dense (I would hope so given the giant quantity of plant mass required to make some), lots of other people eat it, and it won’t give you cancer! (maybe? probably? get back to us, we’re still working). I particularly enjoyed the AuthorityNutrition one where the headline is never addressed in the actual post.

    So really, none of the three sources you use to base your justification on are anything more than manipulative propaganda (note: vegans have a ton of this too). They do seem to be more akin to those crazy facebook posts you were referencing earlier, but those may have just been a poor sample of your information sources.

  237. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 6:49 am #

    Warren,

    I am going to assume you live in the first world, probably the US or Canada based on the site we’re on. As a first world individual, you eat meat, not to survive, but because you like it. Unless you get lost on your moose hunt and are hunting food until you’re rescued, meat is a luxury, not a necessity.

    You use survival it seems as a way to legitimize what might otherwise be a troubling act. But be honest and recognize it is a conscious choice, to choose the luxury food item which cost a feeling, emotive creature its life so you could feel a momentary surge of happy chemicals in your brain from the oh so tasty meat (and yes, it IS very tasty, we agree here).

    You can certainly make that choice, put happiness over others, but can’t hide behind survival of you and your family to do it. There are certainly some who, for various environmental or societal reasons, essentially have to eat meat or they’ll die, I’m just betting you’re not in that camp.

    And while your last line was likely just meant in a lighthearted fashion, it does highlight something interesting. You enjoy your consensual intercourse, I’ll just keep using the force. You go ahead and not beat bags of puppies to death, I’ll be getting my happiness from doing so and then maybe I’ll BBQ them after. You go ahead with paying your workers, I’m gonna keep mine as property, its easier that way. You go ahead with killing your livestock before butchering, I like to watch mine squirm and it makes the meat taste better. These don’t seem like acceptable compromises in our society, what makes yours different?

  238. Emily June 1, 2016 at 7:02 am #

    Okay, I see that I’ve caused a bit of a debate about veganism here. Actually, the only reason why I mentioned that I’m vegan (which, I don’t think I’ve ever said here before, and I joined this community at least four years ago), was because I wanted people to know that I’m consistent in my beliefs on animal rights. I knew that, if I were to say, “Gorilla shouldn’t have been shot,” someone would probably pipe up and ask, “Do you eat meat?”; so I wanted to head that off.

  239. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 7:13 am #

    Hineata,

    “Wow, this particular story has generated a lot of interest. I just wanted to back Pentamom up….haven’t managed to read all the comments. …but of course one doesn’t need to justify the death of the gorilla over the child on grounds other than religion. Plenty of people believe in religions. So-called rationality is also merely another belief system, as is deciding not to believe in God.”

    Plenty of people can believe small aliens have a control room in their head that dictates everything the body does and it doesn’t change the accuracy of the statement. Of course all belief systems humans have created are imperfect, so they will all have an element of irrationality. But when a system embraces irrationality, the false virtue of faith is invoked.

    Faith was born out of our ignorance, as a result of of curiosity and desire to have a story to explain things, science is slowly taking its place, but of course being imperfect constructs, science can be affected by much of the same biases, preferences, and desires for power that we see have shaped what we call religions. So irrationality and faith can reside here too.

    Last bit there highlights your cultural biases (we all got ’em). Why did you choose to believe there are no dragons on the moon? Just because Aldrin didn’t get set on fire isn’t sufficient evidence, I’m sorry, the dragon must have been sleeping. Why can’t we just find it with a telescope from earth? Well, umm, it actually only lives on the dark side of the moon. Oh, then how come the probe didn’t photograph it? Oh, well it must live underground, yep thats it. Hey, so we tunneled in and couldn’t find it, what’d we do wrong? Oh you silly fool, the great dragon exists on its own plane, it would only allow you to see it if he wants you to, live a good life and he may appear, or when you die you go to the great treasure hoard in the sky.

    You can believe whatever you want personally, but the line must stop at your body when harms are concerned. You wanna beat a living creature as punishment for sins? Beat yourself but you don’t get to touch another. This is what is referred to when demanding that you provide justification that is at least more rational than faith. Because if you are familiar with history, you are aware of the numerous horrors committed in the name of irrational justifications, and faith in particular.

    And while you agree with Warren, you also fail to provide any argument as to why you have no problem eating meat. We must ignore the for survival bit because that argument does not apply to the vast majority of situations in which humans consume meat in the first world.

    Using your logic, I can eat you, if you fail to defend yourself adequately. Now you may protest and state that eating humans is wrong. Why is that though? Why pork but not people? There must be some characteristic, some ability, some trait, you had to have chosen something as a defining difference, what is it? Or is it simply going with the flow and if people were an acceptable menu item in society you’d order some Pedro Parmesan with a Little Timmy meat sauce?

  240. Jim Ford June 1, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    Well said !

  241. Donna June 1, 2016 at 8:00 am #

    Olympia – I guess that I confused by changing the ages. The determination between intent and accident is absolutely no whether you understood how stupid your actions were. That has never been how you distinguish an accident from intent. If it was, as James points out, there would be a whole lot less people in prison.

    The difference between the two examples is whether the child was able to form a plan and/or comprehend that he was going into the gorilla enclosure, not whether he understood all the possible outcomes of that act. The reason that I changed the ages is that it would be very hard to convince me that a 4 year old is just casually wandering along, not intending to get into the enclosure, but suddenly ended up there without meaning to. There are too many barriers that a 4 year old has enough life experience to realize are barriers to cross and too many opportunities to see what is going on and, frankly, a bunch of people yelling at him to stop.

    A one year old on the other hand could easily do exactly what this child did without having any plan or knowledge that what he was doing would lead to the gorillas. He just wants to get to the red ball he sees at the bottom of the enclosure. Or is simply going where his feet take him.

    But leave the ages the same. There is a completely oblivious 4 year old who wanders off from his parents with no destination in mind, and certainly not into the gorilla cage. In fact, he dislikes gorillas and doesn’t even want to look at them anymore which is why he wandered off. He crosses the railing to get to a frog he sees hopping along and follows the frog to the retaining wall where he trips and falls into the gorilla enclosure. THAT is an accident. Completely different than a 4 year old who says “I’m going into the gorilla enclosure,” who then crosses several barriers aimed at keeping him out knowing that he is crossing barriers he shouldn’t cross and if he keep going he will end up in the gorilla enclosure. He intentionally ignores all the adults screaming at him to stop and throws himself over the retaining wall.

    Nobody is saying that the boy should be legally culpable for the death of the gorilla. That was something that no 4 year old could foresee. But this wasn’t an accident. He didn’t accidentally end up in the gorilla enclosure. He wanted to be there and did everything in his power to make it so despite knowing that he was not wanted in the gorilla enclosure. The death of the gorilla was an unintended consequence of his intentional act, not the result of an accident.

  242. olympia June 1, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    Donna- Ah, I see what you mean. I think it’s difficult for me to see an act as intentional, rather than accidental, when the person has absolutely no clue of what they’re getting into.

  243. Tina June 1, 2016 at 8:58 am #

    We should teach our children to respect the nature. Without nature, the human race lost the balance.

  244. Warren June 1, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    ManorGorilla

    You say that meat protein is not required for survival yet you go on about ways to substitute for them.

    Gotta love those that equate slaughtering livestock or hunting with abuse and cruelty. It is not the same. Poor attempt. Shows the weaknesses of your position.

    As for taste well little man all animals have taste preferences. Just ask my dogs whether they prefer the bones from the steaks or a stalk of celery. One of their favorite meals is when I do up beef liver cause I always get them their own portions.

  245. Alexander June 1, 2016 at 9:32 am #

    As a pure hypothetical, let’s say you have a kid with you and you are on a jungle trek. You just happen to have a gun on you, a tranquilizer, and a bunch of bananas. The kid slips and falls down a slope, rolling into a silver-back’s territory. The gorilla grabs his foot and postures aggressively. Your experience in primatology tells you that the beast is about to use your kid as a battering ram on the nearest tree to scare you off.

    Do you use the gun, the tranquilizer or toss some bananas at it?

    The answer should be pretty obvious. Of course, the parents had no say in what the zoo keepers did, but there is still no one to blame for this horrible accident.

  246. SanityAnyone? June 1, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    My pre-verbal two year old son slipped away from my at Baltimore’s Port Discovery. It was wall-to-wall crowded that day, and I was keeping close watch over him and stood right by his side as he played on the ground floor. My older two children entered the room with their Dad and I turned my head to say hi, and when I turned it back, he was gone without a trace. The four of us scrambled to find him in the room. I noticed the giant doors to the outside with toddler-sized gaps in a fence holding back the inner harbor and thought that if I were 2, I would run outside to see the water.

    I had taken a pic of the kids that morning so that if anyone got separated, I could give a good description. I handed this to the staff and they put the building in lockdown. I hoped he was still inside. It took about fifteen minutes to locate my son. He had gone up the elevator with a crowd of people and was found playing in the transportation exhibit on the top floor. I didn’t panic as we searched, assuming it would turn out OK, but when I got him back, I cried.

    There are moments when you are trying hard, and bad things still happen. It takes seconds. If you are trying to be a responsible but not suffocating parent, then you have my full support.

  247. Georgia Toons June 1, 2016 at 9:39 am #

    the second I read thiS comment:

    Frankly, where it regards the gorilla, I have to say “who cares?” Really. It’s a GORILLA. I think we in this country have gotten really crazy with how we are about animals. A human being’s life should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be ranked above an animal’s, PERIOD, even if the human is a stranger and the animal is one of our beloved pets. No matter.

    I had to stop. This person is everything that is wrong with this planet.

    Great Blog thanks for sharing. Really
    Too bad on the last line… do You know how many Gorillas are slaughtered around the world.
    Do only humans matter?

  248. Alexander June 1, 2016 at 9:45 am #

    @ManOrGorilla
    “You go ahead and not beat bags of puppies to death, I’ll be getting my happiness from doing so and then maybe I’ll BBQ them after. You go ahead with paying your workers, I’m gonna keep mine as property, its easier that way. You go ahead with killing your livestock before butchering, I like to watch mine squirm and it makes the meat taste better. These don’t seem like acceptable compromises in our society, what makes yours different?”

    Are you really going to compare eating meat to slavery? Eating meat to BBQ live puppies?

    That my friend is called a straw man argument. Try again.

    Self righteous vegetarians like you make everyone else look like a lunatic by association.

  249. lollipoplover June 1, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    “Completely different than a 4 year old who says “I’m going into the gorilla enclosure,” who then crosses several barriers aimed at keeping him out knowing that he is crossing barriers he shouldn’t cross and if he keep going he will end up in the gorilla enclosure.”

    So by your reasoning, if my 4 year-old tells me “I’m going to swim in the deep end of the pool” and you say absoultely not but said child slips out of crowded shallow end and goes into the deep water without permission and drowns, is this also not an accident? Should we start charging all parents and caregivers for drownings? What about fires where kids play with matches?
    This is truly a slippery slope.

    I have a bigger problem with a 3 foot wall and bushes as the only barrier between families and wild animals.
    This family will forever be know as the a$$holes who let their kid get into the gorilla enclosure. Is that not enough?

  250. Carol June 1, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    Thank you for sharing what really happened. People are so quick to judge unless it is them involved.

  251. andy June 1, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    @lollipoplover All example kids are guilty of not listening to adults at that moment and of underestimating danger. In one case, kid pays too much price, in another the gorilla. All kids do that once in a while, but their parents are usually lucky and no big disaster happen.

    The only way how to prevent all such events is not just hover constantly, but also to keep all 4 years old on leash. Hovering can minimize the risk, but wont remove it entirely since all humans have slips of attention no matter how hard they try. When they expect that amount of grave kid related accidents drops to zero lest parents are guilty, they demand exactly that.

    In case of gorilla event, only leash would help.

  252. irwin lynn June 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    I am concerned that the shooter did not command the gorilla to”Step away from the boy”.
    Since the gorilla was african american was the shooter white? Was the gorilla shot in the back or where?
    Were there any drugs o

  253. Warren June 1, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    ManorGorilla’s problem is morals? So by whose morals are we supposed to live our lives? His?
    Ain’t gonna happen! What he seems to forget is that we have the ability and right to set our own moral compass. He may not like it but mine is just fine as is.

    Now off to pick up lunch for the crew. Couple of xl meat lovers pizza with extra cheese.

  254. Nicole June 1, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    I am confused by the people who want to argue that this was not an “accident”. The mom should have taught the kid how to behave, or put him on a leash, or not gone to the zoo, or watched him better, etc. Do you think she should lose her kids? Go to a parenting class, be harassed and shamed on social media for a month or so until she learns her lessons? What is the point here of judging her so harshly? Analyzing this behaviour? All I can think is you are doing exactly what we try to dispel on freerangekids – if we determine this was her fault (and makes me sad that often either only the mom seems to be criticized or the dad’s police record is brought up) then we can rest assured it can never happen to us. Or, even sadder, you get some sort of pleasure from criticizing someone, generalizing the state of kids “these days” and having her kid get hurt – because I don’t think an online discussion is going to help preven tthis one in a lifetime event in the future.

    And for those just mad she doesn’t care about the gorilla, she did post something about being sorry. I will leave God out of that because I’ll never understand those views.

  255. Christi June 1, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    As we consider this incident, let’s be clear. Most zoo enclosures are designed to keep animals in and not as much to keep people out. The gorilla did not escape. The child using faulty 4 year old logic, managed to find a way in (ever seen a determined child) and went for it full steam. After he got past the first barrier he was seen but moving too quickly for anyone on the outside to do anything about it. That probably took 10-15 seconds if he was in with the gorilla in less than a minute. From that point on all the parents and crowd could do was wait for help. Going in after him probably would have made the gorilla feel threatened and caused him to hurt the boy either on purpose or incidentally. The zoo staff did their best but were also worried that Harambe would cause incidental harm to the child even if not intentional. And for Eman, yes the child’s life was worth more than the gorilla’s. The difference is sentience. The child has it. Who knows? This child may grow up to cure cancer or create a ship that could take us to the moon and back repeatedly. The gorilla while a majestic, beautiful, magnificent, creature could do neither of those things.

  256. Dan June 1, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

    The parents negligence caused the death of a beautiful animal. They should pay for that.

  257. Donna June 1, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    “So by your reasoning, if my 4 year-old tells me “I’m going to swim in the deep end of the pool” and you say absoultely not but said child slips out of crowded shallow end and goes into the deep water without permission and drowns, is this also not an accident?”

    Can’t say. Drowning is not a direct consequence of going to the deep end of the pool without your mother’s permission. Many things could intervene to make this happen that have nothing to do with being in the deep end.

    But ultimately this is an apple and oranges comparison. A more apt comparison would be if your 4 year old says that he is going to throw a ball through my window. He goes and gets a baseball, walks to my house, someplace he is not allowed to go under any circumstances, climbs over my fence, hides in the bushes in front of my house so that I don’t see him, throws his ball through my window and the glass from the window cuts my arm. Are you going to tell me that this was all just an accident? The boy might not have intended to cut my arm or even understood that he could, but this sure as hell was no accident. Unlike in the swimming example, it would be criminal behavior – possibly even a felony – if the child was the legal age of reason for the state (usually in the 7-10 range) rather than 4.

    Same with the gorilla. But for this child’s young age, his behavior would be criminal. He could also be civilly liable for the value of the gorilla. The only thing saving this boy from these outcomes is his young age.

    “Should we start charging all parents and caregivers for drownings? What about fires where kids play with matches?”

    This is the thing that annoys me the most about people on this board. This idea that things are black and white. It is either an accident or someone needs to be arrested. The family is either 100% blame free or they are evil incarnate and should be forever compared to Hitler when we are discussing evil.

    Life just ain’t that simple folks. There are a million of points on the line between those to contrasting ends. There are many instances where things are both accidental and criminally prosecuted (car accidents for one). And many instances where things are not accidental, but should not criminal either. This gorilla situation should be one. It was not remotely accidental, but nobody should be arrested for it. The boy did engage in criminal behavior but is too young to be criminally liable. The parents did nothing wrong other than underestimate their child. But excusing the death of the gorilla as a mere accident in this situation where the very calculated acts of a single individual are the sole cause of his death is wrong.

  258. olympia June 1, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    Donna- Agreed. Even in genuine accidents, you’re still responsible for damages. I mean, if a kid put a ball through my window, even with no malicious intent, I would not be looking too kindly on the parents if they refused to apologize or make restitution on the grounds that it was accidental. Do people really want to be footing the bill for any damage to their car that was done accidentally? It was an ACCIDENT aren’t magic words to protect you from all responsibility.

  259. lollipoplover June 1, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

    “This is the thing that annoys me the most about people on this board. This idea that things are black and white. It is either an accident or someone needs to be arrested. The family is either 100% blame free or they are evil incarnate and should be forever compared to Hitler when we are discussing evil.”

    But you are the one saying this is not an accident, not me. Apparently you are have superhero lawyer powers to decide this. There is more than enough blame to go around- parents, child, zoo, bystanders. It still won’t bring the gorilla back. Being smug and angry doesn’t serve any purpose.

    “Let’s not burn any witches as we mourn the gorilla.”
    Yup. Count me out for the witch burning…

  260. Amber June 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

    I blame the mother for this. This was small child, not a teenager and not even an 10 to 11 year old who this mother had in a PUBLIC outing at a Zoo where ANIMALS are all around (I do not care if they are in cage, those animals are still around and could get out some way and I always feel we all should be on the “alert” in places like this. I know no parent is perfect but some things is just plain beyond words and what makes this worst is the boy told his mother, ” I want to go in there”. Right there, I would have had that boy by the hand and watch him like a hawk. I have done it with my because my kids wanted to go to the pool and he did not know how to swim yet, I told him no and told him to sit by me until we left. Again, I can understand it things happen in the home where you guard is down and things happen but in a PUBLIC ZOO with everything running around in a STRANGE place. Even adults have to be careful at a Zoo let alone a small child. But I think now it is time to let this story go. What is done is done.

  261. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    Alexander,

    “Are you really going to compare eating meat to slavery? Eating meat to BBQ live puppies?

    That my friend is called a straw man argument. Try again.

    Self righteous vegetarians like you make everyone else look like a lunatic by association.”

    You haven’t articulated a difference. You’ve simply acted as if the difference is obvious. If it is so obvious, would you care to point it out? At one time the inferiority of the african race was seen as the obvious order of things, you probably disagree and have reasons for doing so.

    I’m simply seeking an explanation, in no way am I self righteous, though if you would care to point out instances of that I would be happy to reevaluate. I have not forced you to hear my views, standing outside your place of work or play, shouting. You chose to read them, simply ideas, questions, and criticisms. Perhaps the lack of concrete answers is simply because you lack them, and your negative opinion of me is because these shortcomings have been highlighted in your own mind? We are all ignorant of much, we would be wise to remember this.

  262. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    “You say that meat protein is not required for survival yet you go on about ways to substitute for them.”

    Substitue for the small number of nutrients found only in animal products? Yes, required. But if you can make the substitution, then the meat protein is no longer required. Just like if you have electricity, you don’t need to light your house with whale oil lanterns.

    “Gotta love those that equate slaughtering livestock or hunting with abuse and cruelty. It is not the same. Poor attempt. Shows the weaknesses of your position.”

    As I asked our friend Alexander, you’ve yet to describe a difference. You simply state things like the difference is obvious. You can chant its not the same all you want, but I would assume you would have some justification for that evaluation. For whatever reason, you folks seem unwilling to share this with me.

    “As for taste well little man all animals have taste preferences. Just ask my dogs whether they prefer the bones from the steaks or a stalk of celery. One of their favorite meals is when I do up beef liver cause I always get them their own portions.””

    And I might like to not lift a finger and just enslave Bob down the road to do everything for me. You might say I have a taste for leisure. Now I’ve made a mistake because this is an example that is so obviously different, making this example useless. But its useless for apparently obvious yet hidden reasons to me that you’re unwilling to share…

  263. James Pollock June 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

    “But you are the one saying this is not an accident, not me.”
    Because it is not an accident. That doesn’t mean we immediately jump to the other end of the scale, and start planning the prison sentences we’ll impose. The kid’s 4. I don’t think we’ll be remanding him to court to be tried as an adult. Nobody’s suggested he should be. Because there’s a whole long of ground between “it was an accident” and “death threats seem in order here.”
    The fact that it was not an accident, does not mean anyone’s out to get this nice family and their little dog too. Stop acting like this is either one, or the other, because it is not.

  264. Heather June 1, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    I have been devastated by the witch-hunt and have had moments this week where I’m terrified to leave my house with my four-year-old. Once I “lost” him in cvs for about 5 minutes (he was hiding). What if some freak accident had occurred in those 300 seconds– I would now be vilified to the point of having to go into hiding for being an awful mother.

  265. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    Warren,

    “ManorGorilla’s problem is morals? So by whose morals are we supposed to live our lives? His?
    Ain’t gonna happen! What he seems to forget is that we have the ability and right to set our own moral compass. He may not like it but mine is just fine as is.”

    I would like us all to honestly develop and continuously refine our moral compass as new information becomes available to us. We can do this both together and apart. But we must be honest and not accept answers which simply make us feel good and allow us to get through the day.

    The same urges and ideologies which otherize the gorilla to another category of being are the ones which have the potential to hurt you and your family.

  266. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    Christi,

    “yes the child’s life was worth more than the gorilla’s. The difference is sentience. The child has it. Who knows? This child may grow up to cure cancer or create a ship that could take us to the moon and back repeatedly. The gorilla while a majestic, beautiful, magnificent, creature could do neither of those things.”

    So someone has finally shared with us a more concrete, though if we explore it enough, we’ll see mostly fuzzy, difference. We can’t really use sentience itself because countless research has shown that while we possess high cognitive ability and awareness (as measured by tests designed by members of our own species), they’re not necessarily all that different from members of our both close and far relatives.

    So instead lets focus on the other bit: creating various forms of technology. Now a gorilla, a chimpanzee, many other non-human animals use tools, or technology. So is it a specific form of technology? Must the non-human animal have advanced beyond the stone age? The exact line is always hard to define so might you provide some rough examples on either side so that I might get an idea of what this key difference is?

    Thanks in advance,

  267. Donna June 1, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    “But you are the one saying this is not an accident, not me.”

    But you (and several others) are the one(s) insisting that there are only two options in life (1) an accident and (2) and act that requires criminal prosecution. And that they are mutually exclusive options. Believing that something is not an accident mandates that you also believe that it should be criminally prosecuted.

    “Apparently you are have superhero lawyer powers to decide this.”

    It takes superhero lawyer powers to read a eyewitness accounts in which every one states that the child intentionally went into the gorilla pit to come to the conclusion that this intentional act does not meet the definition of an accident which is to quote Merriam Webster “an event that is not planned or intended : an event that occurs by chance?”

    “There is more than enough blame to go around- parents, child, zoo, bystanders.”

    Not sure why anyone would blame the bystanders. The zoo is also blameless unless you just really want to ignore the fact that an agitated adult gorilla could kill a 4 year old boy in a matter of seconds.

    “It still won’t bring the gorilla back.”

    So we should only blame people if blame can bring dead things back? As a criminal defense attorney, I love the idea. It would certainly make my summer more fun if I didn’t have to spend it all prepping for a murder trial. As a human being, I may have more of a problem with it.

    I am not sure why so many here have decided that being blamed for the consequences of your actions equals evil person who must be punished. Again, life is not that simple. You can be to blame for something and still be a fine upstanding citizen and good parent. Even if you are to blame for something tragic. If you take your eyes of the road for a second because your child screamed and in that second you hit someone in the crosswalk killing them, you are to blame for that person’s death. But for you being distracted in that second, the person you struck would still be alive. You are not a bad person. You are not going to be arrested for murder. You will likely be sued, but your insurance will cover that.

    I accept the blame readily for the things that I do or don’t do when doing is required. Saying “it was my fault” or “I messed up” when it is your fault and you did mess up is not tantamount to agreeing that you are the world’s worst person. It is simply admitting that you are human and sometimes mess up and unfortunately sometimes people or gorillas get hurt when you mess up.

    I also sometimes take the blame when I did nothing wrong but my kid messed up and her mess up caused damage to someone else. It is what parents do. You don’t just ignore the messes your children make because you did nothing wrong personally. In the case of your children, it is your circus and those are your monkeys.

    “Being smug and angry doesn’t serve any purpose.”

    I agree. However, a determination that the family holds the blame here requires neither smugness nor anger. Insisting that it could never happen to you requires smugness. Calling the mother a bitch and issuing death threats requires anger. Demanding that some legal action occur takes anger. Nobody here is doing any of that.

  268. SteveS June 1, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    I’d be incredibly surprised (and outraged) if the zoo sued the family, but I wasn’t talking about legal liability. I was talking about our moral responsibility as parents to not allow our children wreck havoc on others without acknowledging their harm and trying to make amends. In this case, attempts at making amends probably amount to little more than an apology. The gorilla can’t be replaced, the parents likely can’t afford to pay the monetary value of the gorilla (I assume gorillas are worth a hefty sum) and nothing the parents did calls for them to be bankrupted or indebted to the Cleveland Zoo for the rest of their lives.

    Thanks. I was mostly just curious and was hoping someone that was not James could provide something other than what he found on Nola.com or some other questionable source of legal information. I agree that the zoo would likely experience a PR disaster if they tried to sue, but that doesn’t seem to stop some places from doing this.

  269. SteveS June 1, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    But you (and several others) are the one(s) insisting that there are only two options in life (1) an accident and (2) and act that requires criminal prosecution. And that they are mutually exclusive options. Believing that something is not an accident mandates that you also believe that it should be criminally prosecuted.

    This is a good point. I think some people get hung up on the word “accident” and believe that it means the person was blameless and innocent, when there are plenty of accidents that involve negligent or stupid behavior.

    It may be better to look at this on some kind of continuum, with some event that was completely out of a person’s control to one that was the result of considered thought and planning. While I can see that the child did what he said he would do, I also don’t believe he fully or even partially understood the risk or could even guess that it would have ended the way it did.

  270. lollipoplover June 1, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

    “The zoo is also blameless unless you just really want to ignore the fact that an agitated adult gorilla could kill a 4 year old boy in a matter of seconds.”

    Really?
    So the 3 foot wall and bushes as the only barrier between a moat is a reasonable boundary and makes the zoo *blameless*? I beg to differ.

    It’s not like this has never happened before:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xr1YjwDNm46

    But I guess back in 1996 we didn’t have Facebook trials and change.org online petitions to evoke as pitchforks. Just curious: Were the parents of THIS fallen toddler investigated?

  271. LRH June 1, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    Great aritcle “the Cincinnati zoo mother deserves empathy, not blame.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-perry/the-cincinnati-zoo-mother-deserves-empathy_b_10220956.html

    An excerpt:

    Are all you parents out there completely free from mistakes when it comes to the safety and health of your children? Have none of you ever left your young child watching cartoons while you are showering, in desperate need of a 5-minute break? Because you see, most of the time, it’s fine. Your child, glued to the TV, is right where you left him when you return from the shower. But what if one time, he decided to venture outside. And crossing the street, he got hit by a car. And instead of other humans showing a morsel of empathy for a situation that is tragic and awful, millions of people instead chimed in with, “How could a mom leave her son alone while she showered? She should be killed.”

    Think about the parents who have forgotten about a child in a carseat on a hot summer day. A mom who walked away from the bathtub for 3 minutes, and came back to a lifeless child. A dad who forgot to read an ingredient label and gave his child a food containing his severe allergy.

    Mistakes happen.

    Amen.

    (Lenore, this might make a good separate post, just an idea.)

  272. Warren June 1, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    ManorGorilla

    All your arguments are based on your morals. Sucks to be you.

    My morals are different and you do not have the power to tell me what is moral and what is not.

    I walk up and put a .22 into the head of a lamb. You see a morally corrupt act. I see charcoal roasted leg of lamb. I don’t have to justify or rationalize this for any reason. I find it morally acceptable.

    There are species that eat and ones that get eaten. Welcome to life.

  273. Coleen June 1, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

    The problem with all of the comments of people who weren’t there, is they based their opinions on s 30 second snip of video on TV, with no context to put it in. That’s the underlying problem of many perceptions today.

  274. Yup June 1, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    It is a fact that she lost her child as per the first hand account. We as a populous do not want to put blame or, as in the article, mom shaming her. Now put this same scenario of her loosing sight of her child by a busy road and the kid gets struck and killed by a car. Still not her fault? I bet a lot of people would be on the other side of the coin, not to mention what people would be saying about the driver of the vehicle.
    She lost track of her child and the end result was another being loosing it’s life. Doesn’t get more serious than that. People need to be held accountable for their actions.

  275. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

    Warren,

    “All your arguments are based on your morals. Sucks to be you.

    My morals are different and you do not have the power to tell me what is moral and what is not.

    I walk up and put a .22 into the head of a lamb. You see a morally corrupt act. I see charcoal roasted leg of lamb. I don’t have to justify or rationalize this for any reason. I find it morally acceptable.

    There are species that eat and ones that get eaten. Welcome to life.”

    I was more interested in finding out the underpinnings of your morals than forcing mine on you. After all, text would be a very poor medium to do so, in fact I’m not even quite sure how I might go about it.

    It is likely that you directly or by proxy, force your moral views on others quite often. If one were to hurt your family, I imagine you would either take matters into your hands or expect the “authorities” to do so for you. But what if the pepetrator does not see it as a wrong act? Is it because you live in a country that allows you to vote and influence your laws, the “public morals?” What if we voted that it was OK to hurt you, is that still a valid forcing of morals when they involve harm to another?

    It makes me quite sad to see someone so willing to settle for such non-answers. And to use them to justify such harm. History will judge us all harshly. I think we owe it to your kids and everyone else’s to do better.

    Remember, much of the foundations of what we believe, what we accept, how we view the world and our place in it, were laid by individuals who were often far more ignorant than even the average individual today. It would be good, both for your fellow humans, as well as the non-human animals, to question the validity of those foundations.

  276. Warren June 1, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

    Manor

    Laws and morals are two different things. Apples and oranges. Laws are sets of rules specific jurisdictions expect those within it to abide by. Morals are the values by which one lives.

    You see my morals are mine. Some from my ancestors and some developed as the world changes.

    And if you must know, I would have no moral dilemma about taking the life of anyone that hurt my family. There would be no remorse and I would sleep like a baby.

    Society can set out laws for me to follow and punish me for violating them . Society cannot dictate what I am to find moral.

    If you weren’t so weak willed you would understand.

  277. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

    Warren,

    And why do you wish to have anyone’s children grow up in a world where such unnecessary (for survival) and widespread violence and death is normalized in your society? Countless massacres of innocent humans have been carried out by reducing them to the label of “animals.” We help that continue to exist.

  278. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

    Warren,

    “Laws and morals are two different things. Apples and oranges. Laws are sets of rules specific jurisdictions expect those within it to abide by. Morals are the values by which one lives.

    You see my morals are mine. Some from my ancestors and some developed as the world changes.”

    A projection of a groups moral values, they’re both fruit. We’re just making arbitrary distinctions.

    Your morals are also in part the dominant culture’s. Because, like all cultures, it has placed blinders on you in the name of social cohesion and the propagation of that society. The stories it tells you about the world, have influenced your morals in many small ways as you have developed them.

    It would seem callous and barbaric to not err on the side of life when we are all still so profoundly ignorant.

    Remember, “I don’t know” is totally valid. We need to get away from this idea we need to explain everything, even that which we have no clear answers.

    And I don’t expect answers to all these questions, or any (can’t force you!). Or perhaps I was simply experimenting on you, utilizing your time and mental energy to see how you would react to various questions and ideas. Maybe my moral system says that this type of experimentation, unknown to the individual, is a valid way to act. I wouldn’t have to justify it of course.

  279. Beth June 1, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

    @LRH, that HuffPo article was great. But did you read the comments? I read about the first 300, and nearly all of them were what your quoted paragraph referred to: parents who insist that they are completely mistake-free when it comes to their children.

  280. Cheryl June 1, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

    Tell me again why Americans do not like leashes on the fastest known life form (toddlers/pre-k) The Brits and other Europeans use them all the time, and their children tend to turn out well-behaved and grow up to be polite and considerate people…,

  281. ManOrGorilla June 1, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

    Warren,

    And don’t take the above to mean I was out to make a fool of you. Just another one of my hypotheticals for us all to consider. Just trying to become less ignorant, day by day, and if I can maybe help someone else, well thats good too.

  282. James Pollock June 1, 2016 at 9:13 pm #

    “Thanks. I was mostly just curious and was hoping someone that was not James could provide something other than what he found on Nola.com or some other questionable source of legal information”

    I pointed you at the exact statute, you twit. If you find that to be “a questionable source of legal information”… well, you’re a twit, but I already covered that.

  283. Owen Bruce June 1, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

    It is certainly sad as to what happened
    I am sure no one wantsď it this way. However, how would we feel if the gorilla slammed the child against the wall? Should that chance. have been taken? I feel that it should NOT have been! The 400 pound animal was getting agitated. The right decision wad made. Now we need to live with it.

  284. Dee S. June 1, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

    We’re often reminded of the ignorance in this country. What happened was an accident, that turned into a tragedy. Get your effing facts straight first! He was 3, not 4, and yes that’s still a toddler. In the blink of an eye, he wandered while mom of FOUR was attending to a crying daughter.
    What MANY, including 2 animal activist groups, are saying is very true. The barrier in place was inadequate. Plain and simple.

    Shiznit happens. Get over it already!

  285. Dee S. June 1, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

    Tell them again, Miss!! Thank you.

    Child safety expert Kimberlee Mitchell, who runs a childproofing business in southern California called Boo Boo Busters, said attractions need to be made as safe as possible because many people drop their guard at an amusement park or zoo.

    But even an attentive parent can be distracted, she said.

    “It’s unthinkable that a zoo exhibit would be created in such a way that a little 3-old-boy could climb in,” she said. “He shouldn’t be able to get in there even with his mom’s head turned.”

  286. James Pollock June 1, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

    “The barrier in place was inadequate.”

    The barrier’s job is to keep the gorilla inside the gorilla habitat.

    The gorilla never left the gorilla habitat.

  287. Betsy June 1, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

    I disagree.

    This is not Free-Range. This is gross negligence.
    They may be mitigating circumstances but you are ultimately responsible for your child.

    The zoo did its job.
    It kept THEIR investment from escaping.
    The gorilla’s housing met codes with regards to public viewing.

    He willfully with intent did this and his parent did not stop him. He did not slip and fall.

    Obviously, she does not appreciate the seriousness of this and in future what can we
    expect in regards to this child’s safety? This was a rare and endangered species.
    I find it disturbing that she works in a day care.

    It doesn’t matter what this witness says, she should not have been put in her situation to
    begin with.

    When you visit an art museum and let your child run amuck you will be asked to leave.
    They protect their investment. She should never be allowed back into any zoo, she’s a liability.

    You know I like you Lenora but you’re wrong. This has nothing to do with judgment.
    And if you insist on 100% absolute safety in a zoo, it may not be possible. Maybe we should shut them down because you know what, animals deserve protection too.

  288. CT June 2, 2016 at 12:30 am #

    This was the fault or the child who wilfully climbed into and over the enclosure and the fault of the mom who knows her child is a little brat. I don’t believe children are little darlings that must be saved at the expense of everything and everyone else. People are breeding out of control and the planet is overrun with our species. That kid deselected himself from the gene pool if you ask me. They should have let nature take its course.

  289. SKL June 2, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    The boy was 3 or 4 (depending on what story is accurate). The age of reason is 7. This has nothing to do with rules. Many preschoolers break rules regardless of how well they have been taught said rules.

    I used to take my kids to the zoo often at that age. I expected it to be child-friendly. I think that’s reasonable. I didn’t expect it to be easy for a 4yo to get into a large animal’s enclosure. No, I didn’t “allow” reckless behavior, but I didn’t consider the zoo to be a place where I needed to be on high alert, holding my kids’ hands in a death grip or keeping them on a leash.

    Not sure if the zoo should have had better barriers. I will leave that up to zoo experts to figure out.

    The main lesson here, in my opinion, is that accidents are simply accidents. Everyone wants to talk about whose fault it is. “It wasn’t the gorilla’s fault. Arrest the parents.” Why does it have to be anyone’s fault? Why is it an outrage at all, instead of a “let’s learn from this” and a relief that the child is OK? Would they be calling for the mom’s arrest if it had been some unpopular, non-endangered species that had to be killed to save the boy? (Like, say, a pit bull in the neighbor’s kennel?) All this holier-than-thou like these armchair zookeepers would have been so thoughtful if a bigass gorilla was throwing them around ….

  290. SKL June 2, 2016 at 12:49 am #

    You know, if they had “let nature take its course” as suggested above, Harambe would eventually have been killed and the gorilla programs in all zoos would have been compromised.

    I honestly think some of the crass comments I’ve seen are 99% racism. Some of them are 100% racism. And I’m the last person to pull the race card.

  291. SKL June 2, 2016 at 12:52 am #

    I wouldn’t even want to go to the zoo, as a parent or a child, if I had to be chained to my kids / parents the entire time. I supposed the post-Harambe zoo outings will be like that thought, thanks to all this self-righteous outrage.

  292. Olive Spoeth June 2, 2016 at 1:02 am #

    Thank you for your sanity in relating the events of this tragic accident. I am a mother and know it’s impossible to watch a kid 24/7.. To blame the mother shows the lack of compassion of these ignorant people. A childs life is worth more than a gorillas. I would like to throw a few of these haters into a pit with a gorilla. See how they react then. If they want tp play with their new friend or crap their pants and beg for help!”

  293. SKL June 2, 2016 at 2:01 am #

    I don’t have time to read all the comments, but I have to say I’m surprised at Donna – if it’s our regular Donna, the attorney. No, in general parents are NOT responsible for damages caused in cases like this, when their little kid has dome something dumb and someone got hurt.

    We might want to make it right if we can. How is this couple going to make it right? Raise Harambe from the dead or pay for a new Harambe or a new and better gorilla enclosure? Really? She just watched her little boy get bashed around by King Kong and you’re mad because she didn’t apologize?

    She has said that she refuses any donations from those sympathizing with her, and that they can give the donations to the zoo instead. Is that good enough for you?

    Another thing you know as an attorney – you can’t publicly admit guilt when the stakes are high. She is wise to say little or nothing.

    As for your wise parenting advice – I was an intelligent, disciplined, and level-headed kid, but I have a number of memories of doing just like this kid – running of into danger after my parents explicitly told me not to. You make it sound like that is a rare occurance or it only happens to parents who have notoriously horrible children who clearly need to be leashed. That only shows your lack of experience with different kids.

  294. Valerie Wagstaff June 2, 2016 at 2:12 am #

    Absolutely. Accidents happen. An awful decision had to be made – the right decision was made. The child was saved. No monsters here.

  295. Warren June 2, 2016 at 2:51 am #

    ManorGorilla

    I have it figured out. You struggle with morals all the time. You actually lack moral conviction and strength. I see people like you all the time. Weak people like you cannot understand how people like me can be so strong and certain. You believe because you struggle that everyone struggles. Not the case, as I have yet to find myself with a moral dilemma. Strength of character……you should try it.

    A lot of it is confidence and not giving a rat’s ass what you or anyone thinks of me.

    As for my kids, they all love animals and they all love to hunt, fish and eat what was killed. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

    You also the word violence like it is a bad thing. Why?

  296. Catherine Scott June 2, 2016 at 3:53 am #

    Hating one’s species seems to become some sort weird badge of moral superior.

    Very glad our family zoo primate toddler experience only involved my son dropping his rain boot into an enclosure and having a crab eating macaque chew a hole in it.

  297. Claudia June 2, 2016 at 4:07 am #

    Has anyone mentioned yet that THE FATHER WAS THERE AS WELL? But gosh, blame the mum because misogyny.

    Yes, I think it was a terrible accident. ‘How could he have got so far without anyone noticing?’ – well, he could have slipped away in a moment of inattention and the last direction anyone thought to look was for him heading into the enclosure? Or Mum thought he was with Dad and Dad thought he was with Mum? That’s a really common reason for losing a child for a few minutes and it happens very easily.

    Of course there are now lots of uniformed idiots throwing around child protection language (especially ‘Negligence’) because they think it shows the world how concerned they are for the welfare of the child, never minding that they are making a serious and hurtful allegation about a parent on the basis of once incident and actually implying that their children would be better off going through the trauma of separation of their parents than staying with them because one accident occurred.

  298. ManOrGorilla June 2, 2016 at 7:05 am #

    Warren,

    “I have it figured out. You struggle with morals all the time. You actually lack moral conviction and strength. I see people like you all the time. Weak people like you cannot understand how people like me can be so strong and certain. You believe because you struggle that everyone struggles. Not the case, as I have yet to find myself with a moral dilemma. Strength of character……you should try it.

    A lot of it is confidence and not giving a rat’s ass what you or anyone thinks of me.

    As for my kids, they all love animals and they all love to hunt, fish and eat what was killed. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

    You also the word violence like it is a bad thing. Why?”

    Even the choice of the words you use to describe me are so infected with the ideology of the dominant culture. I’m weak because I’m uncertain about potentially taking a life, a permanent act or causing another unnecessary harm? It seems you have quite a narrow and primitive definition of strength sir.

    Confidence can come from knowledge, but it can also (and more often does), come from ignorance. Many ignorant individuals are too ignorant to know what they do not, and too confident about what they do (or think they do) know. One could argue it takes a certain level of confidence in oneself to admit ones shortcomings.

    But these are simply words, which you mostly use to demonize or criticize me, offering only superficial criticisms to back them up.

    Violence is an act which results in great harm being done, by definition. Why would one want great harm to be done, unnecessarily? You, however, seem to choose to, and glorify the unnecessary use of violence, why do you see it as so good (excluding the easy and inapplicable out of “survival”). Your children will grow up in a world where someone can label your children as the spawn of animals, not worthy of protection, of life. They could build a following around that, an ideology which puts your children at the bottom. And then your children and others pay the price of your “strength” and moral certainty.

    Be aware: the fact that you do not have moral struggles is unlikely to be a sign of your great character, though your society is heavily invested in you seeing it as such.

  299. Betsy June 2, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    You don’t consider a zoo to be a place to be on high alert?!

    Its not your backyard! There are signs posted. If you want to ignore them, well…

    And have you stopped to consider that maybe all of this vitriol towards this mother
    is because she isn’t accepting responsibility.

    You want 100% safety with viewing capabilities and child friendly and blah, blah, blah…
    These are wild beasts! Not housecats.

    Well, you couldn’t be more wrong!

  300. Julie Stevens June 2, 2016 at 8:49 am #

    That meme makes me sick to my stomach, and oh, so ANGRY. How unnecessarily hateful and cruel. THANK YOU for finding this woman’s post! I found it once and couldn’t find it again!

  301. Betsy June 2, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    Okay, you say this can happen to any mother and child on any day?

    Then lets harness all children who go to the zoo and put trackers on them and patrol you and question you and make all of you pay and pay and pay to keep your child safe if the situation is that unpredictable.

  302. Papilio June 2, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    To comfort the animal rights people, sometimes it does end well for the gorilla:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokito_(gorilla)

    (Haven’t read all the comments, sorry if someone else posted about this already.)

  303. SteveS June 2, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    I pointed you at the exact statute, you twit. If you find that to be “a questionable source of legal information”… well, you’re a twit, but I already covered that.

    Covered it? Where? The majority of the legal information you provide is either incorrect or incomplete. I know that you don’t work in the legal field, but legal research often includes more than doing a brief search under the subject name. You have been caught in the past with giving incorrect advice and will just deny you said what you said. Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that only lawyers are capable of understanding laws. There are plenty of lay people that have an excellent understanding, but you don’t appear to be one of them.

    You have little credibility, which is why I was hoping that someone that actually lived in Ohio would comment.

  304. lollipoplover June 2, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    @Betsy-
    As for being on high alert as a parent with child at this zoo, this zoo markets itself as family friendly! They even have day camps for kids ages 4 YEARS OLD to 6th grade:

    http://cincinnatizoo.org/education/kids-families/zoo-camp/

    Hypothetically, if this same 4 year-old slipped away from a camp counselor, would you still blame the mother for not keeping the child safe?

  305. James Pollock June 2, 2016 at 11:19 am #

    300 messages in, I think I finally understand why so many keep calling this an “accident”. They mean “mistake”.

  306. Donna June 2, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    “No, in general parents are NOT responsible for damages caused in cases like this, when their little kid has dome something dumb and someone got hurt.”

    Parents are responsible for their own negligence. If your child runs off and causes some damage, and it is deemed by the jury that your supervision of your child was negligent, you are responsible for the full extent of the damages caused by your child.

    But as I repeatedly stated (maybe you should read all the comments before you comment), I am not talking about legal responsibility. In fact, I also stated repeatedly that I don’t believe the zoo should seek any legal action against the parents. I am talking about our MORAL responsibility as parents to attempt to make amends for the wrongs of our children. We don’t just allow our children to wreck havoc on the world and then have no moral obligation towards those they harm. In this case, the best the parents can do is offer remorse for the repercussions of their child’s actions.

    “She just watched her little boy get bashed around by King Kong and you’re mad because she didn’t apologize?”

    That comment would make sense if she hadn’t made a statement at all. But she did. Now apparently more than one. And she hasn’t expressed a single shred of remorse for the serious damage caused by her child’s actions. We are not talking about a broken vase. A rare, endangered animal is dead solely because of her son.

    “She has said that she refuses any donations from those sympathizing with her, and that they can give the donations to the zoo instead. Is that good enough for you?”

    That’s great. She also made that announcement AFTER I made my comment. I am sorry that my crystal ball is broken this week. I will try to have it repaired before the next national outrage.

    “Another thing you know as an attorney – you can’t publicly admit guilt when the stakes are high. She is wise to say little or nothing.”

    I never said that she should admit guilt. Everyone knows the basic story here. It is on video which has been on every major media outlet for days. I was reading a foreign paper I like to read and it was there too. She has openly admitted it was her child that was in the gorilla pit. There is no legal reason whatsoever that, in thanking the people who saved her son, she acknowledged that she understood the high price that was paid to do so and expressed remorse over it. In fact, it probably would have gone a long way to aid in her potential legal problems which largely seem to be being stirred up by the media.

    As for your comment on my parenting advice, frankly, if you have numerous memories of running off against your parents express orders and into the path of danger, you were not nearly as level-headed as you claim and you probably lacked sufficient supervision. Yes, kids occasionally run off and get into trouble or near trouble. It should, however, be a rarity for each particular child and not a regular occurrence. If it is more than a rarity, you need to ramp up the supervision level for your particular child. If your particular child needs helicoptering, so be it. One of your jobs is to provide safety at that age because they can’t be expected to provide it for themselves.

    In your many comments, you indicate that you believe that as long as a child only runs off X amount of times (and I don’t really think you have a specific number of times), your supervision is proper because every kid does it sometimes (a very troubling proposition to me as a fellow citizen if you truly believe that you have no personal responsibility whatsoever for what your child does when he runs off). I disagree completely. When my child was young, my goal was her not running off and getting in trouble 100% of the time. Of course, I did not meet my goal as I am far from perfect and kids’ abilities and desires change constantly and without warning at those young ages. However, each and every time she ran off, I considered it a failure on my part. Not bad parenting, but a failure to properly meet her safety needs at that particular moment in time. I needed to look at the situation and see if it was just me being human or if I needed to adjust my level of supervision. I was constantly changing how I supervised when my daughter was young. Playing in the yard alone for 10 minutes might be fine for months and then all of a sudden some developmental leap happened and she was wandering into the street. At that point, I increased my supervision. Once she stopped trying to go into the street, I changed it again.

    A properly supervised 4 year old does not end up in a gorilla enclosure. Full stop. The parents clearly had at least a momentary lapse in supervision. That does not mean that I think that it could never happen to me. That doesn’t mean that I think they are bad parents. That doesn’t mean that I think they are negligent parents. That does not mean that I think they should be criminally prosecuted. That doesn’t mean that I think they should be sued. That doesn’t mean that I think they are anything other than good parents doing the best that they can who failed in a moment with dire consequences. I don’t have enough facts to make any of those conclusions nor is it really any of my business.

  307. Angela June 2, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    “But I think Donna is correct, that people are saying “this was an accident” in the sense of “there’s nobody to blame here”, and they’re incorrect, possibly but not necessarily intentionally.”

    Not with me. Since the boy was too young to fully understand the consequences of his actions, I look to the parents. This was an accident on their part – one child running off during a moment of inattention/while tending to other children. Also as a direct response to those who are saying that the parents, and even the boy, should have been shot instead of the gorilla. To those people who insist there needs to be a CPS investigation and the parents belong sterilized or jailed and the boy in a group home. You might not jump to such conclusions, but many people are and those are the attitudes to which I insist, “It was an accident.”

  308. Paul June 2, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    “A properly supervised 4 year old does not end up in a gorilla enclosure. Full stop.”

    Oh get off your high horse you judgmental ninny.No matter how much verbiage you spew, it doesn’t mean your repeated invocation of this particular opinion is any more correct. Small children are fast, and it takes a split second for them to wind up in situations you could never dream of.

    “I don’t have enough facts to make any of those conclusions nor is it really any of my business.”

    And yet here you are, three days later, 300 comments in, still offering opinions when it is none of your business.

  309. LRH June 2, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    No Betsy, we wouldn’t consider a zoo to be a place on high alert. We don’t live our lives thinking pretty much the entire planet is under apololiptic attack.

    Go back to playing Farmville or Candy Crush already.

  310. JJ June 2, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    “A properly supervised 4 year old does not end up in a gorilla enclosure. Full stop.”

    Unless “proper supervision” means NOT going to the zoo in the first place there is no absolute guarantee that nothing bad, gorilla pit of otherwise, will happen your kid at the zoo. And to me this is the essence of the matter. You can trick yourself into believing that nothing bad will happen to you because of your superior performance at parenting but there is an element of risk with everything and it’s about weighing risks against benefits. Are the benefits of letting your kid walk to school alone worth the risk? How about the benefits of going to the zoo? Driving in a car to go to day care, driving in a car just to go for a drive, visiting grandpa who has a gun, jumping on a trampoline? Everyone draws the line somewhere different but there is always risk.

  311. James Pollock June 2, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    “No matter how much verbiage you spew, it doesn’t mean your repeated invocation of this particular opinion is any more correct.”

    You have cause and effect backwards. It gets repeated BECAUSE IT IS correct, not TO MAKE IT SO.

    “And yet here you are, three days later, 300 comments in, still offering opinions when it is none of your business.”

    Lapses in parental judgment and/or attention become other peoples’ business when those lapses affect other people.

  312. John June 2, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    Apparently the police are now looking into possible charges against the parents. Remember, when the story broke, authorities said that no charges would be pursued against the parents. BUT more than likely because of the torch bearing lynch mob of people demanding that the mother be burned at the stake, police are now looking into charging the parents with child neglect.

    Look, the parents were either neglectful or they weren’t. Just because the very vocal majority of people say they were neglectful does not mean that they were. They either broke the law or they didn’t. So why can’t we apply the Constitution here? Oh I forgot, CHILDREN were involved, that’s why!

    A couple of nights ago on the Megan Kelley Show, they were discussing if authorities had a case against the parents and it was concluded that they don’t, not even close. For example, leaving a 4-year-old child home alone or in the car while the parent is in a bar drinking for 6 or more hours definitely constitutes child neglect but a child wandering off at an amusement park, or in this case a zoo, does not come close to that. If that were the case, then many good parents would be jailed! This happens much more than you think and it’s probably happened to a few parents on this blog. If we start criminalizing parental mistakes, there wouldn’t be enough jails to house them all!

    But again, it is my belief that this investigation was precipitated by the public outcry which, in my opinion, was quite irrational.

  313. John June 2, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    Quote:

    “A properly supervised 4 year old does not end up in a gorilla enclosure. Full stop”

    That’s like saying “a properly raised child NEVER misbehaves”. Only in a perfect world!

  314. James Pollock June 2, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    “Apparently the police are now looking into possible charges against the parents.”

    OK. And your objection is… what? If they’re guilty of child neglect, they should be charged with child neglect. If they’re not guilty, the investigation will show that they’re not guilty.

    “Remember, when the story broke, authorities said that no charges would be pursued against the parents. BUT more than likely because of the torch bearing lynch mob of people demanding that the mother be burned at the stake, police are now looking into charging the parents with child neglect.
    Look, the parents were either neglectful or they weren’t. Just because the very vocal majority of people say they were neglectful does not mean that they were.”

    Child neglect isn’t a single episode. It’s a repeated pattern of behavior over time. You have to investigate to determine if such a pattern exists or not. So, they’re investigating.

    “They either broke the law or they didn’t.”
    and we do not yet know which it is. Thus, the investigation.

    “So why can’t we apply the Constitution here?”
    In what way is anyone failing to apply the Constitution here?

  315. Angela June 2, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    As for the question of whether a human life is above an animal’s life – this question has always fascinated me, so I will dive in.

    I am an avowed omnivore. I love my meat as much as I love my asparagus, however, I also love animals and for a time the question about whether it was OK to kill and eat them bothered me. Then I learned about how plants communicate – send chemical messages through the air via leaves and through the soil via roots. I once read how some plants, when being eaten by an animal, will send messages to the plants around it and those other plants will create or exude foul tasting substances which makes the animal less likely to eat it. So, if eating animals is wrong because ‘they have feelings,’ how does that argument not extend to eating plants? Just because someone can’t imagine how plants feel pain and emotion doesn’t mean that they don’t.

    I think it comes down to the tribe/clan idea someone pointed out earlier. Humans relate most easily to those they have the most in common with, and ability (or willingness) to tolerate ‘otherness’ varies greatly. Some people will exclude all those not part of their immediate family, some may extend that to nation or race, and others extend it to any creature with eyes that see, ears that hear and hearts that pump red blood through their bodies. My path has been taking me to even further extremes – all life, anything that consumes energy to live and grow and perpetuates their genetics through reproduction, is of equal inherent importance.

    This leaves quite a conundrum. How can I justify perpetuating my life at the expense of another’s? By realizing that the will to survive is part and parcel with life and my death by starvation would be no more or less a tragedy than the deaths of those I consume.

    Anyway, there’s a bit of my crazy. Hope it was entertaining, if nothing else.

  316. Betsy June 2, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    Sorry, beg to differ. A zoo is a place of high alert. You don’t find many gorillas in your backyard.

    It is not unreasonable to access risk and be conscious and aware, that’s what parents do.

    And Donna is correct. Yes, full stop.

  317. Kevin June 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    The death of this animal is an unfortunate tragedy, but the rescue of the child is a job well-done and an example of a well-designed and executed system, one better than the gorilla exhibit itself; both man-made.

    I concur with Lenore: “What is easier than all of these is to sink into the sewer of self-righteousness and pretend that if only someone had been doing what we believe WE would have done in that unpredictable situation, everything would be peachy. That way we get to feel smug AND angry — a heady combination, and the perfect kindling for a witch burning.”

    Lets not burn the witch. Hasn’t this family been through enough?

  318. lollipoplover June 2, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Instead of high alert zoos, finger pointing, and Full Stop blame, can we work towards improvements and enhancements “through the lens of a 3 year-old”? Try to a new perspective?

    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/national-international/Zoo-Designers-to-Evaluate-Safety-of-Gorilla-Habitats-After-Boy-Climbs-381572131.html

  319. Warren June 2, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    Betsy

    No gorillas in my backyard either. Though moose, deer, bear, coyotes and the occasional wolf are quite common. So what’s your point?

  320. Beth2 June 2, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    Oh goody. Now another black family has been interrogated by the police (without counsel), because a public mob has speculated that they *might* be guilty of *some* sort of crime.

    But hey, no worries! Because if the traumatized family managed to eloquently convince the police of their innocence, and the police decide not to prosecute, and they also manage to somehow convince the angry mobs that there is nothing to prosecute….well then, no harm, no foul!

  321. Anthony June 2, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Sorry I don’t agree. you going to blame the zoo?

  322. Betsy June 2, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    The point is this child was not managed by the parent.

    Don’t lean over the edge.
    Don’t feed the animals.
    Don’t throw trash in the habitats.
    Don’t enter into the habitats.
    Watch your kids.

    Its a zoo, not your backyard.

    Peace out.

  323. Warren June 2, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

    Betsy

    Simply put you are just self-righteous and blame others to feel superior.

    How does it feel to be perfect?

  324. SKL June 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

    Donna, you admit that you (obviously not a criminally negligent parent) have had your ONE child wander off and do foolish things a number of times. Then AFTER they have done the dumb thing, you adjust your parenting. Well, you adjusting your parenting after the fact does not change the fact that your kid has done this multiple times, even after you adjusted your parenting, and even though you only had one kid to keep track of.

    As far as I know, this boy has only fallen into an animal exhibit ONE time. If she was a notoriously bad parent or her kid was a notoriously disobedient, out-of-control child, we probably would have heard about it by now, given that she is far from anonymous.

    But because this mom happened to be unlucky enough to have her kid run off and get himself into an extremely unlikely situation involving an endangered gorilla, you assume that means he does this all the time and she basically lets him. You are basically saying that tragic accidents never happen to decent parents.

    Also, you are judging this case differently because this was a valuable collectible the child affected. If the parents had let their kid run around in an antique shop or art museum, I could understand the different attitude, but a zoo is designed for kids. Unleashed kids. And it’s up to the zoo to protect its assets, including making sure humans can’t get in there using predictable means. A small child running or crawling toward a zoo exhibit is totally predictable! A lot of parents would be suing the zoo right now for not making it a lot harder for a preschooler to fall down into that moat. The fact that the moat was connected with a rare animal or that the rare animal got shot would not even figure into that. If the child died falling into that moat, the zoo would probably expect to pay.

  325. Alexander June 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    Alexander,

    “Are you really going to compare eating meat to slavery? Eating meat to BBQ live puppies?

    That my friend is called a straw man argument. Try again.

    Self righteous vegetarians like you make everyone else look like a lunatic by association.”

    You haven’t articulated a difference. You’ve simply acted as if the difference is obvious. If it is so obvious, would you care to point it out? At one time the inferiority of the african race was seen as the obvious order of things, you probably disagree and have reasons for doing so.

    I’m simply seeking an explanation, in no way am I self righteous, though if you would care to point out instances of that I would be happy to reevaluate. I have not forced you to hear my views, standing outside your place of work or play, shouting. You chose to read them, simply ideas, questions, and criticisms. Perhaps the lack of concrete answers is simply because you lack them, and your negative opinion of me is because these shortcomings have been highlighted in your own mind? We are all ignorant of much, we would be wise to remember this.
    ——

    I am not obligated to educate you. The obvious difference is, if I eat meat in the park it’s called a picnic. If I BBQ a puppy in the park I would be arrested, reviled, or possibly lynched. This is called reality.

    The reason you are a self righteous lunatic is exactly because you compare normal behavior to psychotic behavior as though there is no difference.

    If you’re a seeker of truth as you claim, you’d do well to avoid insulting everyone around you by drawing such ridiculous analogies. But that’s the thing with self righteous people who think they know better. You are patently incapable of understanding that reality is integral to philosophy.

  326. ManOrGorilla June 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    Angela,

    “This leaves quite a conundrum. How can I justify perpetuating my life at the expense of another’s? By realizing that the will to survive is part and parcel with life and my death by starvation would be no more or less a tragedy than the deaths of those I consume.”

    Information like that you mentioned surrounding plants is a good example of what I speak of when I talk of our ignorance. We often have trouble understanding the inner motivations and feelings of another member of our own species that speaks our language, how much harder will it be to understand another so seemingly unlike ourselves (ie plants). The entire history of plants is really quite a fascinating case study on our cultural biases.

    Yes, you both do not want to be eaten, and do not want to die of starvation, a most basic drive shared by both human and non-human. If I were to put the paw of a dog on a flame, the dog and I will experience that in much the same way. Now a plant may too, seeking to remove itself from the source, but its ability to react and move much slower and more limited. But does the plant “feel” the same way as the dog or we would? This is something we may never know, but do we not know with much more certainty (not 100% of course) how a cow, or a pig, or a chicken is likely to experience pain, fear, discomfort? So why would we not err on the side of caution, especially if doing so poses no negative effects to ourselves?

  327. ManOrGorilla June 2, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    Alexander,

    “I am not obligated to educate you. The obvious difference is, if I eat meat in the park it’s called a picnic. If I BBQ a puppy in the park I would be arrested, reviled, or possibly lynched. This is called reality.

    The reason you are a self righteous lunatic is exactly because you compare normal behavior to psychotic behavior as though there is no difference.

    If you’re a seeker of truth as you claim, you’d do well to avoid insulting everyone around you by drawing such ridiculous analogies. But that’s the thing with self righteous people who think they know better. You are patently incapable of understanding that reality is integral to philosophy.”

    Who creates this reality? You act as if want my human arms to allow me to achieve flight unaided, and I am simply a fool because I refuse to acknowledge gravity. But much of what you are likely calling reality is simply something a hairless member of the great ape family decided, at some point in the past.

    Who defines psychotic behavior? The majority? That would seem to retroactively legitimize quite a few horrors in history.

    If one were to have stolen you from the hospital shortly after birth, one could theoretically mold you into the leader of some extremist vegan terrori organization. Your mind craves stories, especially at a young age, and your society just feeds them to you in order to perpetuate itself. Just like how most US citizens are perfectly fine with their government engaging in genocide from its inception, because of course they would not call it genocide, it was manifest destiny.

    Your society is powered by exploitation and abuse, without it, your “civilization” comes crashing down.

  328. John June 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    @James:

    As I said in my post, originally they were NOT going to pursue charges against the parents. Now, all of a sudden, they’re investigating the matter and you’re naïve to believe that has nothing to do with the public outcry.

    So ANYTIME children get separated from their parents or group at an amusement park, sporting event or zoo, etc. should we investigate the parents or adults for child neglect? Not very value added if you ask me and needless to say, a bit of an overkill.

    The bottom line is that these parents will NOT be charged with anything because there is nothing there to charge them with.

  329. Alexander June 2, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    Again with the false analogies. If you acted like your arms alone allowed you to achieve flight, I would call you a fool as well. I would even invite you to jump off a cliff and fly to help reduce pollution in the gene pool. Because you would then, also be a fool. As much of a fool that thinks BBQ’ing children is the same thing as eating a chicken.

    Society developed this way for a reason. Humans are naturally hunters and predators. Over time they built up a system of laws and rules that keep them from slaughtering each other over a piece of bread. These laws rightly consider actions that are damaging to society as a whole to be vile. Things like rape, murder and slavery. Other actions are not considered as vile or even at all vile, like eating meat, driving on a sunday, and line dancing.

    The process of figuring out what is and is not permissible is constantly evolving and is by no means perfect. You have no idea what would happen if you try to impose the moral supremacy of one imbecile on an entire population. The moral ramifications of doing that by the way far outclass the rights of a chicken not to be eaten. So, if you think you know better than 6000 years of evolution I will leave you to that delusion.

  330. James Pollock June 2, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

    “I am not obligated to educate you. The obvious difference is, if I eat meat in the park it’s called a picnic. If I BBQ a puppy in the park I would be arrested, reviled, or possibly lynched. This is called reality.

    The reason you are a self righteous lunatic is exactly because you compare normal behavior to psychotic behavior as though there is no difference.”

    This is the fallacy known as “begging the question”. You start by making an assertion, then proceed to conclude that your assertion is correct, without any steps in between.

    Why is BBQing a puppy in a park different from eating some other kind of meat? In some places and times, it isn’t… and people eat dog meat. In some places and times, slaughtering and eating beef cattle is looked upon with absolute horror. Different people, different beliefs about what is and what is not appropriate for food. Yes, in some places and times, eating people is something that is done. (and, if your rationale for eating meat is that it is dense in the nutrients that are needed by human beings, well… guess which kind of meat is highest in exactly those nutrients needed to make human flesh? (I am not suggesting that you do so… just pointing out an important flaw in the argument.)

    Anyways, start by assuming that we AGREE that barbecuing a puppy at the park will bring you no end of social outrage and criminal sanctions. Now… WHY? What is it about eating a puppy that triggers that reaction, while eating hot dogs in the park is an American tradition? Don’t start by saying “well, of course they’re different!”, but lay out an argument for WHY they’re different.

  331. James Pollock June 2, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    “As I said in my post, originally they were NOT going to pursue charges against the parents.”
    Yes, I read that the first time.
    Am I to understand that you prefer it when law enforcement agencies decide whether or not to charge someone with a crime BEFORE they bother to investigate?

    “Now, all of a sudden, they’re investigating the matter and you’re naïve to believe that has nothing to do with the public outcry.”
    Please stick to the things I say, and don’t insert things I didn’t. For example, here you have imagined me to be naive because I believe that this has nothing to do with the public outcry, and you’ve entirely skipped over the fact that I never suggested the investigation arose for any reason other than public outcry. You’re entitled to hold whatever stupid opinions you’d like; all I ask that you only ascribe to me those stupid opinions I happen to express, and this wasn’t one of them.

    “So ANYTIME children get separated from their parents or group at an amusement park, sporting event or zoo, etc. should we investigate the parents or adults for child neglect?”
    Here’s another one. At some point, will you be addressing any of the things that I DID say?

    “The bottom line is that these parents will NOT be charged with anything because there is nothing there to charge them with.”
    I see. Have you offered your prescient abilities to the authorities? I’m thinking of all the money we could save on wasted investigations if they just asked you which cases to pursue, instead of doing all that investigation. We could shut down the entire FBI, and just have the federal bureau of you.

  332. ManOrGorilla June 2, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    Alexander,

    “Society developed this way for a reason. Humans are naturally hunters and predators. Over time they built up a system of laws and rules that keep them from slaughtering each other over a piece of bread. These laws rightly consider actions that are damaging to society as a whole to be vile. Things like rape, murder and slavery. Other actions are not considered as vile or even at all vile, like eating meat, driving on a sunday, and line dancing.

    The process of figuring out what is and is not permissible is constantly evolving and is by no means perfect. You have no idea what would happen if you try to impose the moral supremacy of one imbecile on an entire population. The moral ramifications of doing that by the way far outclass the rights of a chicken not to be eaten. So, if you think you know better than 6000 years of evolution I will leave you to that delusion.”

    You and I are both products of a single human culture. Your views of the world 6000+ years ago, while not uncommon, are unfortunately simply one way to look at it, interpret it. The story of Western civilization is what you know, what you speak of in all likelihood. At times it can be a very unflattering story, but it is undeniably one which holds progress up as its main theme. It explains your place in the world, how awful things were before the great gift of civilization as you know it, and on and on your culture sings to you.

    You speak of one imbecile imposing views, painting it negatively, and surely it is. But that is largely what has happened, 6000 yearsago, just on a slightly grander scale. That one imbecile is simply one small culture, that conquered and stole and manipulated its way to be the dominant one that essentially influences everything today.

    Evolutionarily speaking, you are born with the same hardware as your distant ancestors, its just that your stories have gotten more complex. While exact implementations of an ideology may change, sometimes in large ways, the fundamental features are still present. Superiority over others, might makes right, technological progress over social progress. Why should I have any faith that someone with access to far less information about the world would have gotten ANY of the foundations of their society correct? And since I have the same exact hardware as them, but much more information, why would we not assume we might have a higher, though still not perfect, likelihood of getting things more right?

  333. Alexander June 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    The hypothetical nation of tree hugging, vegan, pacifists unfortunately did not survive history. This was not an accident. If they ever existed, they were eaten by the reality that is this world.

    What it comes down to is this. If I had to kill 1000 cows to save my son’s life, I would do it in a second. How about you?

  334. ManOrGorilla June 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

    Alexander,

    “The hypothetical nation of tree hugging, vegan, pacifists unfortunately did not survive history. This was not an accident. If they ever existed, they were eaten by the reality that is this world.

    What it comes down to is this. If I had to kill 1000 cows to save my son’s life, I would do it in a second. How about you?”

    There certainly may have been a culture like you describe, certainly ones that would have had at least some aspects. Their destruction was no accident. A culture which easily otherizes and believes it is moral to inflict violence on others intentionally did so, whether directly or indirectly.

    Are you referring to killing them to feed him because theres no other food source? I’m fine with survival killing if thats the case. But if we’re talking 1000 cows converging on him in a field, I feel like they’re more likely to do damage to themselves than him, and then he could just like crawl on top, a cow crowdsurf if you will, to safety. Unless they come one on one, in which case he could probably dodge, they’re likely not too nimble and my hypothetical son is a real good athlete.

    Or I suppose you could tie it to medical testing, kill 1000 cows to give him some cure. In which case I’d let them experiment on him, not the cows, provided the kid wanted to do it. Or he’d die. Because he’s not automatically more important than another creature simply because he came from something between my own legs.

  335. Alexander June 2, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    I feel sorry for your children if you don’t think they are automatically more important than an animal.

  336. ManOrGorilla June 2, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

    Alexander,

    Instead of feeling sorry for them and doing nothing, perhaps you’d like to enlighten the self-righteous parent on this difference they’re just too stupid and blind to see?

    I mean sure one might be biologically inclined to value the child over the animal, because if you’re genetically inclined to offer that type of support, then your genes are potentially more likely to pass on cause the kid lives to reproduce. But my inherited genes might also make me inclined to jump on every woman I see. We value one and not the other. Both violate the rights of another, but one violates an individual in a different class than human, one we call animal, so somehow this is different. And just because a particular trait served one well in previous history, does not necessarily mean it is useful now. The same holds true for our cultural memes, much of which are ancient technology at this point.

    No pressure though, the children ain’t real and never will be.

  337. ManOrGorilla June 2, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    This quote regarding the dominant human culture (note: NOT human nature, they are not interchangeable) comes to mind:

    “We are angry, petty, selfish gods. Quake in fear should our wrath become focused on you.”

  338. SKL June 2, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

    James, yes, like in most situations, the cops should not decide to “investigate” a case of a child accidentally falling as child neglect. They took a cursory look and saw a healthy child, bonded with his mom, and a family who was there and gave a damn what happened to him. No allegations of parental bad acts such as dangling the kid over the moat.

    Having a child who disobeys at times is not criminal neglect! Tying up a 4yo so he can’t do something dumb is more likely to get one arrested. (That has happened with parents harnessing special needs kids “for their own good.”)

    In real life, you don’t actually want the cops investigating the home of every kid who falls. The cops have more important things to do. I think you are speaking from emotion (over a dead gorilla), not logic.

  339. SKL June 2, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

    Clarification to my last post – a case of a child accidentally falling *in public.* Where there were many witnesses to the fact that it was an accident, and no allegations by witnesses that it wasn’t.

  340. James Pollock June 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

    “In real life, you don’t actually want the cops investigating the home of every kid who falls.”

    Um, duh. Is there anyone who doesn’t know this? How is it relevant, though? Are you trying and failing to raise a strawman, or did you just not understand what I’m actually saying?

    “The cops have more important things to do.”
    Perhaps. Depends on what they find, doesn’t it? I submit that if they DO find evidence of child neglect, then there is NOT much that is more important. Let’s see what the investigation produces before we decide how important it is or is not?

    “I think you are speaking from emotion (over a dead gorilla), not logic.”
    I think you are sadly mistaken and/or confusing me with someone else.

  341. Betsy June 2, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    Whatever Warren.

    These are wild animal habitats that must be respected.

    They are not fortresses.

    Don’t want to take extra precautions then don’t.

  342. Betsy June 2, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    Obviously, I’m on the wrong website.

    You say you pay $50.00 to get in a zoo and that exonerates from personal responsibility?

    You would kill a 1000 cows to save your son?

    You say it was just a gorilla, get over it?

    The only thing I worry about is not you but the responsible parent who may have to endure
    an overreaching nanny state as a result of someone else’s neglect.

    I’m done with this blog, L.

  343. Esther June 2, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

    This is exactly why juveniles are commiting violent crimes at a young age..because they can..and the ones blamed are government, society, child psychologist, sometimes teachers and schools and most always is due to lack of discipline etc no boundaries limits etc . both of my sons have adhd and one has bipolar it’s hereditary in my family I used the tough love technique as they got older.
    I put them In hospitals for treatment got them both therapy, worked with therapists and schools to keep them safe in the community etc.they didn’t run amock unsupervised bcuz I was aware of their behavior and impulsive thinking..I has to be I high alert at beaches, zoos , carnivals, restaurants anywhere actually but for certain I didn’t go blame anyone for their actions which at those times when they acted out, disobeyedetc I apologized and fixed it .. my point is it starts at home and although they had issues they never ran off and ended up in a lion pen because in public places such as this I was always on alert..no one is perfect kids mess up and so do parents but parents need to take responsibility and own up to mistakes of their children land or mistakes of themselves as a parent ..instead of placing blame on everyone else.. ..mine turned out pretty well bcuz I was diligent in seeking help and removing them from the situation and distraction and not denying or thinking they weren’t capable of such things

  344. Betsy June 2, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    Esther, they are lucky to have a parent like you.

  345. Esther June 2, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

    For those that asked the question of why onlookers didn’t try and save the boy..

    I think society allows us to be afraid of helping others due to scrutiny and fear of confrontation from other parent let’s ave it parents are protective of their kids even I’m situatons where help.is needed and or required..let me tell you a story..

    Once upon a time umpteen years ago I was grocery shopping with my little ones who I kept I’m the shopping cart facing me at all times..we were loaded up with groceries and proceeding to unload at the checkout..I’m front of me was a mother standing behind her Cart unloading groceries as we all do we unload from the back end first..in the front seat of the carriage was a little one oh about 2 ish little adorable boy..as I’m watching her she’s not once looking.over to check her child but rather rummaging through her grocery cart and shmoozing with the cashier about the latest fashions , hairstyles naiksnetc..albeit forget to.g her child was there in the front..as I’m trying to interact with mine who by now we’re ripping open cookie packages screaming bout wanting snacks and grabbing for every thing..preoccupied with my own I happen to glance over and the tooddler now taking a hissyfit for gum and screaming to high heaven to mother I want gummy..gum gum momma gummmm !!! Waaaaah kicking thecarriage causing a scene etc…as if the mother just wanted to shut the kid up she angrily eached over to the candy shelf and grabbed one of those small jugs of powerered gum and and abruptly opened it …. the kind that is powder and as soon as it hits saliva turns to a hunk of gum!!! ! I was appalled and couldent believe it..I was thinking to myself is she actually giving that baby powered gum ?? ..I just stood there tending to my own and minding my my own business as I was taught..my own kids asking rather screaming and upset hey that’s not fair why can’t we have powdered gum ?? I said rather loudly because it’s choke candy and you can die if you choke on it ! My 5 year old states and says yup that’s why we don’t eat lollipops and marshmallows right mom ?? I said yes that’s right and my 7 year old days well you are meamest mother because that little one younger than us gets to have gum and it’s it fair !! I said well sometimes life isnt fair and we just have to live with it and I’d rather have a kid mad than a kid dead ! Meanwhile the mother ( gum lady ) rolled her eyes and snickered at me like I was some kind of mean monster regarding my comments to my childrren I’m guessing then she made this pfft noise and went about her business snickering and glancing at me..anyway all the while mind you this is all of maybe 7 minutes I realize the little toddler now has his head tilted all the way back is pouring the powder Into his mouth I say nothing and just watch in horror and minding my own as I was taught l..all of 30.seconds later the baby gasping for air and trying to hack up the gum he inadvertently swallowed..my kids are frantic screaming he’s choking !! I panic and go into mommy mode and yank the baby out of the cart and begin pounding his back..my kids are frantic I’m frantic but I kept hiting his back ! Them by some miracle out flies the the hugest wad of gu I’ve ever seen !! It flies out onto the floor making a noise as if a rock hit the floor..now baby almost blue is breathing but crying due to shock or so I hope and pray its just that..I cradle him and hug hiim lie his little head on my shoulder and begin rubbing his back saying shhhh it’s okay we got the mean gum out your all better I’m in complete tears now full cry mode and now my kids are stll I’m shock as to what just happened and believe me it took all of about 3.minutes but felt like a dreaded eternity ! After soothing baby and calming him.down the mother says don’t know why he had to go and put that much gum in his mouth and I hope you didn’t hurt him you hit him real hard and now I may have to take him to the hospital she then asked for my name addreess and phone number screaming you better hope my kid ain’t injured ! I calmly kissed baby’s cheek and gave her baby back..took a pen fans old paier from my purse wrote my info and quietly took my children and moved to another register still shaking while I unloaded groceries paid for them and pushed my carriage out of the stor..My kids and me in complete silence for a few hours afterwards still reeling from the after math of what had just happened..

    Not one thank you for saving my baby just threats of suing me for potentially causing bodily harm to her baby while trying to save his life from choking..

    We never forgot that ordeal and I have made a habit of garnering my motherly instincts with regard to even touching someone else’s kid ! That ordeal made me angry on all levels and it took a long time to get over it and I prayed to God every day that I hadnt hurt that child and always paranoid about getting a letter in the mail suing me for damages etc..from that day on I vowed to just walk away and mind my own like I was taught.

    I know this was long but I wanted people to understand why many do not help in situations such as the gorilla incident..scrutiny from others, onlookers, police the bits parents etc….parents are their own worst enemy sometimes..I fully understand the anger with regard to this specific situations..

  346. Esther June 2, 2016 at 9:00 pm #

    P.S. sorry for all of the typos in my above post these cell phones are hard enough to try and form accurate complete error free sentences..Tiny touch screen keyboard and fat fimgers ! Bad combo !

  347. Trebor June 2, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

    I am 100% sure none of my kids would run into an animal exhibit and jump down a 15 foot wall. If my child was like that, he would either be strapped into a stroller, being held by an adult, or on a leash. For this kid, I vote for a leash.

  348. Trebor June 2, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    Yes, I would kill 1000 cows to save my son’s life. Or a gorilla.

    But that is not the question. There was only a possibility that the gorilla would kill the child. And it seems like he was only agitated due to the dumb-ass crowd screaming.

    So the question is – does one kill an endangered gorilla because there is a X percent chance (10%?) that he may harm the child? That is a more complex question.

  349. James Pollock June 2, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    “So the question is – does one kill an endangered gorilla because there is a X percent chance (10%?) that he may harm the child? That is a more complex question.”

    Work it through. Four possibilities: If there’s a 1/10 chance that he’ll harm the child, there’s a 9/10 chance that he won’t (and this is ignoring side issues, such as “what if the child took injuries to the fall that will kill him?”)

    If you play the 90% side, and it comes up right, you saved a gorilla. On the other hand, if it comes up wrong, you’re the jackass who just stood there while a gorilla killed a child. At BEST you are fired, the gorilla is never on public display again. At WORST, you are fired AND sued AND charged with a crime, the gorilla is put down..

    If you play the 10% side, and the gorilla kills the child anyway, well, you did your best to save the child, and nobody blames you (except for a few crackpots who complain that you weren’t ready to shoot the gorilla at any moment.) If you shoot the gorilla and save the child, you saved the child, yay!

    I’m not suggesting that you can do this risk-reward calculation in real-time as the gorilla is playing ragdoll with a child, but it turns out that the right play is the one they jumped to.

  350. John D June 3, 2016 at 6:45 am #

    These people are so quick to point fingers at the mom first of all if you, yourself was not physically there and saw what transpired how can you judge?

    2nd Every one has been a toddler before or have one or raised one it takes but a millisecond for one to wander off. Who knew that this kid was going go over the moat nobody! It was an accident people this is not about neglect, it’s not about bad parenting because 9 times out of 10 that mother of that child is probably a lot better parent than the people ridiculing her about this tragedy. My God people do you even think of putting yourself in the situation? What if one of the onlookers bumped your child and they tumbled over that railing would you blame yourself?
    As for the shooting yes it’s sad that was a very special animal, rare and quite majestic. I think that animal is at peace now and it really does not matter if he was in a zoo or not. God Almighty is the giver and sustainer of life no matter how a living thing dies. God has the final say so. The sooner we realize that things happen for a reason and stop trying to analyze the people involved. The better we all will be in this world. Worry about yourself, life is to short. I thank God that baby is alive. You people should thank him too.

  351. Grant June 3, 2016 at 7:51 am #

    So the only thing that was preventative was the bullet. Okay.

  352. Janette A Mims June 3, 2016 at 8:21 am #

    Leave the family to celebrate their sons life, as they ALSO mourn the death. My grown grandchildren still ‘hold on to the shopping cart’…when they were 3/5 ish, they ditched into the Barbie display within a blink, while I was facing them!!! Panic turned to joy when they popped out!! Until they were 7/9 ish, they stayed in the cart!! They say I have them brained washed!!! Don’t judge the family, kids can disappear right before your Best efforts to keep them safe. Blessings to all. GRANDMA JAMMA

  353. lollipoplover June 3, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    “I said rather loudly because it’s choke candy and you can die if you choke on it ! My 5 year old states and says yup that’s why we don’t eat lollipops and marshmallows right mom ??”

    What exactly is choke candy?
    Maybe your children can’t eat lollipops at age 5 because of your parenting, but mine ate them happily at young ages without *you can die if you choke on it!*. There are many very real dangers to my children, but a lollipop or a marshmallow didn’t make the list- they learned how to eat them slowly and enjoy them without mom’s candy death patrol rants.

    I have a hard time reading your example not because of the typos, but the overall sanctimonious tone that you are a better parent and save lives of kids eating choke candy and the terrible gum moms of the world. I suggest this site for you(on Facebook):

    https://www.facebook.com/sanctimommy/

    The Dr. Seuss meme: “If I Ran The Zoo” By Everyone On The Internet is brilliant.

  354. JJ June 3, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    “I have a hard time reading your example not because of the typos, but the overall sanctimonious tone”

    Yes and also because it sounds made up or wildly exaggerated. The customer was “schmoozing with the the cashier about the latest hairstyles and nails”? Just one example that doesn’t ring true.

    Are you sure you haven’t invented details after years of stewing over a perceived slight?

  355. Papilio June 3, 2016 at 11:05 am #

    “Let’s not burn any witches as we mourn the gorilla. – L.”

    Of course YOU would say that 😉

  356. Amy Blackwelder June 3, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    She says it at the end. “This was an open exhibit! Which means the only thing separating you from the gorillas, is a 15 ish foot drop and a moat and some bushes!”

    So, then you should have been holding your children’s hands or kept a very close eye on them! DUH!

    So, I don’t agree with that the mom is not negligent. IT was very clear that this was a precarious situation she was brining young children into!!

    No, I don’t agree the zoo did the right thing, but they did what they had to do to keep a lawsuit at bay!

  357. William Ramsay June 3, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    It’s danger and when danger is near hold on to your kid dear and don’t play with there lives.

  358. Women have to raise a friend June 3, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

    Any woman who calls another woman a bad mother is like guys who go around talking bad about guys they know are better then they are. The lowest dumbest forms of life on our planet pop out kids and don’t go around acting like they are special because they are not a termite can raise multiple children. And blaming a kid you people are disgusting and I hope one day they compile a registry on you so that people like myself don’t have to risk our lives going into a burning building or near a car that might explode to save trash like you that pretends animals are better then people until its you or your kid’s life. Mom shamers are bottom of the barrel women who are total losers that have nothing to show for their existence but kids and have no friends because nobody likes you so you wait for any opportunity to feel important because you are worthless in society. This is why women will never be equal because men know how to stick together women are douches that are so insecure and small they will attack some one in their time of suffering to try and make them self look good. You never see a guy jump in a ring at the mma fights and hit a knocked out guy and then try and act like a hero do you? No because other men would be intelligent to call them on it. And you never see soldiers call the dead and wounded bad soldiers, or blog about if they had a grenade thrown at them they would do this or that. Why because men have the ability to care about more than them self and their own kids, women do not. Go watch any video of citizens responding to tragedy like jumpy castle blows away and you will see only men are human enough to risk them self to help people women do not care if it isn’t their kid. You are all disgusting pathetic wastes of flesh who would be extinct if you were left to your own devices yet you act so holier than though like you could have done anything different other than freeze up like the cowards you are. Mom shaming is the new slut shaming for the weakest link in our culture women can’t save them self can’t save anybody else but so gung ho to tell another women she is beneath you because your probably fat, ugly, divorced, single, friendless, and have never accomplished anything outside of interior decorating your own house. These women all prove why Men are the dominate species because men are the only one’s who can feel for something other than them self. you wouldn’t even be allowed to walk the streets if men didn’t fight and write laws to protect you. Even the entire feminist movement was backed by men like Edward Bernays because women don’t care about anything but trying to look good.

  359. ChicagoDad June 3, 2016 at 11:24 pm #

    @Esther. You saved that baby’s life! Great story and kudos! I love it. It is so wonderful that you were there that day to clear his airways. Saving a child’s life is a wonderful, heroic act, whether or not you get a thank you from some random ingrates. I hope someday you’ll feel pride rather than hurt feelings over the incident.

    Disclaimer, I’m not saying it’s ok to bust out the Windows when you see happy kids waiting in the car. I don’t think calling cps on a 3rd grader walking down the street is heroic. But performing an emergency Heimlich on a baby at the market? Awesome.

  360. John D June 4, 2016 at 4:38 am #

    @ grant no it was not preventable we don’t have time for what if questions when a human life is at stake. The gorilla’s purpose was served here on this earth by an unfortunate circumstance but no way is that gorilla’s life more valuable or important than a human’s and God said that in his word so if anybody have any objections pray to him and ask for clarification. Oh Glory!

  361. Grant June 4, 2016 at 6:19 am #

    The statement was meant to be pondered and not answered. The silence is well worth it.

  362. ManOrGorilla June 4, 2016 at 6:33 am #

    John D,

    Be careful, I’ve personally communed with the great gorilla god, praise be upon him and his silverest of silver backs. He does not take kindly to the justification of the death of one of his children and can be a very vengeful, unmerciful god (perhaps this may make some Christians interested in converting?).

  363. John D June 4, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    @grant ponder huh? Really? but yet you answer apublic blog sure grant sure! and as far as silence you have not done that either. God bless.

    @manorgorilla You commune with gorilla god huh? Good for you how is that going by the way? Smh

  364. Warren June 4, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    ManorGorilla
    Spent the morning with brother in law culling his herd. 3 for beef and 1 for veal and guess what? No moral dilemma about it.

  365. Grant June 4, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

    John D. are there any Zoos near ‘Langley’ where i presume you are from?
    Maybe try and get out of your cubicle more often?…but i guess ‘they’ must pay well for your character count keep typing!!…career bloggers always seem to have diarrhea of the fingers!

  366. Betsy June 4, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

    I feel empowered from by Esther’s story saving the baby!

    Not the Cincinnati story. Why can’t strong women be
    more represented on the internet??

    Why should I empathized with a woman who loses who kid at the zoo?

    Your mother got you home from in piece from the zoo without all the trauma.

  367. John D June 4, 2016 at 11:42 pm #

    @ grant first of all I don’t live near a Langley. For you ” there is no peace saith the Lord unto the wicked” get thee behind me Satan. You are all hot and bothered because the truth hurts does it not? Please do everyone a favor go join Harambe please! He waiting on you. “He that comes in with vanity shall go out in darkness and his name shall be covered in darkness and he shall never ever see the son.”

  368. Todd June 5, 2016 at 2:22 am #

    Gorilla was innocent. The guilty deserves to die.

  369. ManOrGorilla June 5, 2016 at 6:45 am #

    John D,

    It’s OK, thanks for asking. I’m new to this but it seems like its going to be good. The gorilla god, praise be upon him and his silverest of silver backs, is almost like a parental figure for me as an adult. He keeps me safe, he forgives me and still loves me when I’ve done wrong (provided I confess to him of course!), and he’s starting to teach me what right and wrong are and where I belong in the world.

    Its such a refreshing feeling: safety, contentment, certainty. I’ve also begun to feel a certain superiority over those that do not follow him, but he says thats natural, because of course as a follower of the one true religion, I AM superior.

  370. ManOrGorilla June 5, 2016 at 6:52 am #

    Warren,

    “Spent the morning with brother in law culling his herd. 3 for beef and 1 for veal and guess what? No moral dilemma about it.”

    I spent the morning running over small children in a field near my home. Guess what? No moral dilemma about it. And don’t worry, I’m going to eat the meat so its totally OK.

    Also took out some of the parents too. But a few made it so I think I’ll lock em in a barn and have them breed so I can get a sustainable operation going here. Its just too much trouble to be going out into the wild to get them these days.

  371. Betsy June 5, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    In L’s experience she was shamed for her view. The shame was not real.

    If you look at the poster in the article, which is not about eating meat, gun rights,or anything like that you may be outraged, or agree but at least its real.

    I conserve on a very small scale it doesn’t make me an misanthrope.
    My neighbor lets her cat run around and destroy property and I rescue him trapped in a garage and keep him from getting hit by cars and keep him from getting hypothermia on cold nights and rescue cardinals out of his mouth. I could sit back and let cardinals expire around me but I happen to love them and cats.

    When I leave her a note (Free Speech) about keeping her cat inside or maybe looking into ways to control him better, she called the police on me because I invaded her safe space. I guess I don’t have a right to be angry.

  372. Warren June 5, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    ManorGorilla
    Good for you. While I was working towards helping my brother in law provide for his family you were out violating numerous laws such as murder and kidnapping. Just shows how absolutely pathetic you are. Comparing a family run farm to the murder of children. You are a joke. It is morons like you that do more harm than anything to your cause. You must belong to PETA.

  373. ManOrGorilla June 5, 2016 at 9:17 am #

    Warren,

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear, I can see how that might make what I did distressing. I don’t subscribe to the particular ideologies of kidnapping, murder, etc when it comes to the humans. So you enjoy your steaks and I’ll enjoy my…well I didn’t bother to ask their names.

  374. lollipoplover June 5, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    This cartoon pretty much sums up my view of the many sanctimonious “When you know better, you judge better” comments on this thread:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/signe/20160605_Daily_Signe_Cartoon_06_05_16.html

  375. Warren June 5, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    ManorGorilla

    The only thing I find distressing is what you choose as your counter point. You compare the act of harvesting food to the torture and murder of people’s children.

    When you stoop to those levels you go from being an advocate for your cause to nothing more than a raving lunatic.

    Had a BBQ with friends last night and we enjoyed the t-bones, the London broils, burgers, baked taters with sour cream and bacon, homemade Asian slaw, the cheeses, beer and wine. Nothing beats farm to BBQ to table beef.

    Oh and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed the bones and leftovers.

  376. ManOrGorilla June 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    Warren,

    “The only thing I find distressing is what you choose as your counter point. You compare the act of harvesting food to the torture and murder of people’s children.”

    And you have yet to articulate the difference between the two, besides some variation of ‘its obviously different.’ You admitted to the murder of an individuals children, unless of course your brother grows his calves inside a test tube (though even then you could argue it still has parents, they just don’t know about them – maybe if I ate orphans it would be ok?).

    Harvesting food, committing genocide/torture/murder, they’re labels your particular belief system applies to certain things. How do I know your belief system has gotten them right? How do you?

  377. Harvey Wachtel June 5, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    The essential element in the cause of every avoidable accident (note to the crazies who want to ban the phrase “automobile accident”: in normal, non-legalistic language, accidents come with varying degrees of avoidability, and it’s useful to be able to discuss that) is that one or more people failed to perceive a situation as hazardous.

    I hope nobody thinks this mother would have let go of her child’s hand for an instant if they had been standing near a cliff edge. But she, and I’m sure most zoo visitors, thought the gorilla enclosure was reasonably child-proof. The fact that the enclosure’s designers and the zoo officials who retained them apparently did too shows that the mother was not unreasonable in her misperception. A classic, if tragic, accident: avoidable, but with no indication of gross negligence.

    Lesson for zoo-enclosure designers: There’s a saying that nothing is foolproof because fools are so ingenious. It’s also easy to underestimate the ingenuity of a toddler.

  378. Betsy June 5, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

    Well, take up the challenge Harvey, go design one.

    Do you autocadd or hand draft?

  379. Warren June 5, 2016 at 11:34 pm #

    ManorGorilla
    How do I know my beliefs are correct?

    Two ways. First don’t have to give crackpot comparisons to make my point. Second and most importantly, humans like other species are designed by nature to be omnivores. Not supplement eaters.

    And in your honor we did a leg of lamb on the rotisserie tonight. Mmmmmmmmmm

  380. Puzzled June 6, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    I’m going to regret this since I’m aware you’re largely just regurgitating a book, but here goes.

    ManOrGorilla – it seems to me that the comparisons you are making can equally well be made to plants. “Out ripping plants from their natural environment by the roots, tossing them into a hot pan, then eating them? I shall do the same with a child.” Why do you see that comparison as failing?

    If the comparison works, of course, it shows that meat is no more problematic than plants, and we can’t get by without eating something, can we?

  381. W.E. Parker June 6, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    I do not think the zoo had any choice. I regret the gorilla had to be sacrificed. Bad things happen to good people and animals.
    If the zoo had kept the exhibit area in top shap, none of this would have happened.

  382. ManOrGorilla June 6, 2016 at 7:54 pm #

    Puzzled,

    ” it seems to me that the comparisons you are making can equally well be made to plants. “Out ripping plants from their natural environment by the roots, tossing them into a hot pan, then eating them? I shall do the same with a child.” Why do you see that comparison as failing?

    If the comparison works, of course, it shows that meat is no more problematic than plants, and we can’t get by without eating something, can we?”

    I addressed this earlier so I’ll regurgitate it here:

    If I were to put the paw of a dog on a flame, the dog and I will experience that in much the same way. Now a plant may too, seeking to remove itself from the source, but its ability to react and move much slower and more limited. But does the plant “feel” the same way as the dog or we would? This is something we may never know, but do we not know with much more certainty (not 100% of course) how a cow, or a pig, or a chicken is likely to experience pain, fear, discomfort? So why would we not err on the side of caution, especially if doing so poses no negative effects to ourselves?

  383. ManOrGorilla June 6, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

    Warren,

    “How do I know my beliefs are correct?

    Two ways. First don’t have to give crackpot comparisons to make my point. Second and most importantly, humans like other species are designed by nature to be omnivores. Not supplement eaters.

    And in your honor we did a leg of lamb on the rotisserie tonight. Mmmmmmmmmm”

    So your first example is really quite poor. And humans are “designed” to survive on certain nutrients, your body doesn’t care where it comes from.

    Its OK though, I understand the difficulty. Your society doesn’t encourage you to examine your own beliefs very deeply or at all. And it definitely doesn’t provide any constructs for allowing you to see non-human animals as anything other than resources to exploit.

    Your stories make you so certain of your specialness, your superiority. Can’t you see them for what they are? You read (or have read) similar stories to your children as they fall asleep.

  384. elizabeth June 6, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    I have to interrupt, ManOrGorilla, once again. Our bodies most certainly DO care where some nutrients come from. Like iron. We metabolize heme iron better than non heme. In other words, we have to eat a sickening heap of spinach to get the same amount of iron that is in a six ounce steak. I can never go vegan due to iron deficiency anemia. It simply wouldnt do me any good. I would rather have some nut like you calling me a killer and be healthy. If you think im going to sacrifice my health- and possibly my life (yes severe anemia can kill)- just to fit into what you think is the ideal society, then im sorry. Pipe dream at best, buddy. Celiac and diabetes run in my family. So grains would be out of the question. There goes more nutrients. I would be malnourished and lethargic at best on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Nothing is one size fits all. I simply cannot let me health (an sanity) go out the window because you think its immoral to eat what is naturally good for me. Bye.

  385. ManOrGorilla June 6, 2016 at 8:42 pm #

    Puzzled,

    And it is interesting that your refer to me as regurgitating a book. I suspect that is what many others are doing as I seem to recall at least one which preaches man’s dominion over animals and all that…of course it should come as no surprise that the species writing the book is the same species the book considers super-special and unique.

  386. ManOrGorilla June 6, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    Elizabeth,

    Will state it yet again: in some circumstances, meat consumption is required for survival. This fact does not affect the majority of people.

    But why is it OK for your to consume a 6oz steak to survive, and not a 6oz piece of nextdoor neighbor Steve?

    We continue to miss the real issue. If all I know about a Ferrari and a Prius is that they both have doors, a steering wheel, seats, and a windshield, one could not explain to me the difference between the two by stating that one is a Ferrari and the other is a Prius, as these are simply labels that mean nothing without additional knowledge that I do not currently possess.

  387. Warren June 6, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

    ManorGorilla
    Don’t worry about my kids. They have all caught and cleaned fish. Two have kills while deer hunting. And all three have taken part in the skinning and cleaning of moose, deer and bear. My youngest is better at skinning than any of us, she’s a natural.

    Never once said we are superior. As a matter of fact it is quite the opposite. And like I have always said, when an animal makes a meal of a person, it is just nature. Bear eats me, good do the bear.

  388. elizabeth June 6, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

    Well, ManOrGorilla, ferrari vs prius. Lets see…cost, parts, country of origin…i could go on. The simple fact is, you have no quarrel with an ant, but you would gladly flatten it if it was being a pest. The majority of the population would lynch you for your comments. You may not think so, but you are delusional, anyhow. I feel bad for anyone you meet in person…hopefully they survive the encounter. For all you know, i could be a vampire…i prefer my meat bloody. My mom used to joke that my steak was still mooing when it got to the table. Still think humans arent meant to eat meat? Japanese people regularly eat dishes such as sushi and sushimi…both similar, but sushimi can be made with other meats besides fish. According to your logic, they should be the unhealthiest culture of all the first world countries, but that couldnt be farther from the truth. They have a lower obesity rate than we do here in america. Why? Because theyre health conscious, not because they dont eat meat (which they do).

  389. elizabeth June 6, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

    I would eat my steak raw if i could, btw. Im pretty carnivorous. I love my fruits and veggies, but with proper exercise and a good moderation of healthy and unhealthy foods, i would thrive best on a high protein diet (meat protein).

  390. Daniel Cole June 6, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

    I would first ask, “Why is the mother not as responsible as the gorilla. ” I was just taking his picture and his hand was in my back pocket, and then it wasn’t” !!!! What on earth was she thinking. Maybe next time hold his hand and ask someone nearby to take the picture!!! He is a child. Not a photo op. I’m sorry but this woman’s momentary lapse in judgement, sad as the result was, was even more traumatic, I am sure, for the Gorilla. But what the hell, it’s just another animal, and they have a great story with “PHOTOS” to show.

  391. hineata June 7, 2016 at 2:11 am #

    ManOrGorilla – see you’re still going on. I find it interesting that you allude to the Bible when talking about regurgitating books in one of your responses to Puzzled. Has it occurred to you that Mankind is the only group of ‘animals’ on the planet to produce the written word?

    So I will carry on eating meat from animals that my country has raised for the purposes of eating, and the occasional game beast if I’m lucky enough to be given one by a friend. Personally I don’t go hunting anymore because I am not a terribly good shot, and hate to see animals suffer unnecessarily, which they don’t when dropped quickly. I have no intention, however, of eating my fellow human beings, because every human being in existence is superior to any animal. Whether you in your ‘infinite wisdom’ agree or not.

    A post came through on my Facebook feed the other day talking about militant secularism being the new religion. I hadn’t thought about it like that before, but after reading your comments here I can see the sense in the idea. People such as yourself are desperate to believe that there is no God, or indeed no superiority of humanity over the rest of the world, and you are so desperate you’ve turned it into what amounts to a personal crusade. Well, you can peddle your religion if you want….me, I’m perfectly happy with my own thanks. Have a great day.

  392. ManOrGorilla June 7, 2016 at 6:40 am #

    Hineata,

    “Has it occurred to you that Mankind is the only group of ‘animals’ on the planet to produce the written word?”

    It has in fact occurred to me. However, I suspect that you too do not have the answer to the next logical question: why is this important? Why is the transmission of ideas through a non-vocal medium mean that I can’t kill and eat one but I can the other? The transmission of information through other methods are not unique, so why does this particular way of information transmission matter so much?

    It would seem that the rest of the post could basically be summed up as: The imaginary friend I share with millions of others says I’m special. Now why do I call it imaginary? Perhaps it is because I’m a militant secularist so desperate to not believe an idea which no one has ever presented any hard evidence in support of?

    Even allowing for the existence of God, it seems quite silly to presume that one would just happen to be born into (as most religions are chosen) the one true religion and not all the other false ones. So even believing in God, you still need to evaluate the ideas and beliefs yourself. It can’t simply be “God said so” because what if a hairless ape modified the text in the past in order to gain power and manipulate others?

  393. ManOrGorilla June 7, 2016 at 6:46 am #

    Elizabeth,

    You are describing culture, something humans choose to do.

    And I feel we are now arguing a point I did not make: eating meat is unhealthy. I have continued to ask what it is that differentiates the ones we label human from the ones we label animal, what differences make one able to be eaten and the other not. Since you seemed to do somewhat well with the car example perhaps you could take a stab at this one.

  394. ManOrGorilla June 7, 2016 at 6:51 am #

    Warren,

    If we’re all equal beings then, why do you have such a negative reaction to the idea that I might hunt and eat human children while imprisoning their parents in a barn to breed them so I can eat more human children?

  395. BL June 7, 2016 at 9:20 am #

    @ManOrGorilla
    “The transmission of information through other methods are not unique, so why does this particular way of information transmission matter so much?”

    So tell us about the conversations you have with gorillas and other animals. What did they think of this incident?

  396. James Pollock June 7, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    “ManOrGorilla – see you’re still going on. I find it interesting that you allude to the Bible when talking about regurgitating books in one of your responses to Puzzled. Has it occurred to you that Mankind is the only group of ‘animals’ on the planet to produce the written word?”

    And have you considered the possibility that this might not be true? Maybe there’s all kinds of writing on the wall, but since you can’t read it, you don’t even see it.

    (Please note the difference: I’m not saying it’s there, I’m saying you can’t be sure that it’s not.)

    “So tell us about the conversations you have with gorillas and other animals.”
    The fact that you don’t speak the language proves that it doesn’t exist?

    My cat has distinct vocalizations for “Hey! The water disk is empty”, “Please pick me up”, and “I need to go outside”. There’s probably a lot more, but she just hasn’t managed to teach them to me, yet.

  397. ManOrGorilla June 7, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    BL,

    “So tell us about the conversations you have with gorillas and other animals. What did they think of this incident?”

    There are groups of humans whose language I do not speak, is this an argument for the morality of killing and eating them?

    And JP makes an excellent point:

    “Maybe there’s all kinds of writing on the wall, but since you can’t read it, you don’t even see it.”

    Perhaps the dogs are writing and editing their version of the bible, their code for how to live, with each frothy stream projected onto the neighborhood fire hydrant.

  398. Warren June 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    ManorGorilla
    For the same reason the pride will rip you apart should you attack their cubs, or any other number of species will attack and kill you for going after the young. Pure animal instinct to protect the species ensuring it’s future.

    Just so you know those we culled on the weekend are being slaughtered today. The veal will be processed today while the beef will hang as long as possible before being processed. Cannot wait as my brother in law raises the best tasting beef around. But I did get one of the hearts. Wrapped in bacon and slow roasted. Also got liver for a liver and onions breakfast Sunday.

  399. elizabeth June 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    If i need to explain the differences between us and animals to you, then you have the problem, not me. To be so naive that you cant see…eating meat is perfectly healthy and necessary. Ive been eating meat my whole life. A combination of genetics and lifestyle have contributed to my current state of health. Up until then, i was one of the healthiest people you would meet. Skinny as a rod, with alot of energy, and an iron clad immune system (still disease resistent). If, as you say, eating meat was unhealthy, then i would have suffered the “ill effects” a long time ago due to the amount i used to consume a week. Think about that. I was healthier during my childhood and i ate more meat back then than i do now. According to your logic, it should be the other way around, or even not possible at all. If i cant convince you, then maybe you should go back to your cave and think some more.

  400. hineata June 7, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

    @Warren – not fair! SO not fair! Just stop already. …I’m salivating just thinking about that! ☺

    @Manorgorilla – actually I wasn’t ‘born into the one true religion’ or whatever. ..I used to take myself along to Sunday School from preschool age, while my parents slept in. And take my teacher onion flowers in spring (they grew along the bank I walked by) which she always accepted with good grace ☺. God has always been real to me, more real than you are, because I know He’s here, but have no idea about you. You’re obviously some kind of sentient human being or you couldn’t press the keys and string together sentences on your keyboard, but who knows who exactly you are? You might be JP under a different name….who really knows? ☺

  401. James Pollock June 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    “If i need to explain the differences between us and animals to you, then you have the problem, not me. To be so naive that you cant see…eating meat is perfectly healthy and necessary. Ive been eating meat my whole life”

    There have been places and times in human history when people ate other people… it seemed perfectly healthy and necessary to them. If you can’t see that the only difference between then-and-there and here-and-now is a different point of view, then the problem is with you.

    “If, as you say, eating meat was unhealthy, then i would have suffered the “ill effects” a long time ago due to the amount i used to consume a week.”
    Unless, of course, it takes a long time for the unhealthy effects to accumulate. Eating lead paint won’t kill you right away, either. There’s LOTS of things where the unhealthy aspects are slow-acting and cumulative.

  402. elizabeth June 7, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

    James, ive been eating meat for as long as i could properly chew and swallow it. Again, it would have affected me a long time ago. The difference between the “people used to eat other people” and us eating animals is morality. A lion thinks nothing of killing an antelope, but eating a lioness is unthinkable. They need the lionesses for reproduction. Lions kill over territory and prey, but they would never eat each other except in extreme circumstances. They need each other just as humans need each other. One big difference that “animal rights activists” try to use as leverage is our intelligence. With the ability to craft weapons, we dont NEED big teeth. Or overly large muscles. Our intelligence is far greater than even the smartest gorilla or monkey and it always will be. Fact of life. We will always be the smartest creatures on earth. To interject religion, God told Adam to tend to the earth, and that he could eat anything except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now, if he didnt want us to eat animals, he wouldve restricted Adam to the plants. C. S. Louis gave some animals in the Chronicles of Narnia human characteristics, but the characters still ate meat. Now THAT would be wrong, if there were animals out there with human level intelligence like that, but there arent. There never will be. God didnt create earth like that. He gave humans dominion over the land and the creatures in it. Therefore, by religious standards, we will always be superior to the animals we live with. I could even justify it without interjecting God, but either way, you would be stubbornly stuck in your beliefs, so here you go.

  403. James Pollock June 7, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    “James, ive been eating meat for as long as i could properly chew and swallow it. Again, it would have affected me a long time ago.”

    Maybe it has. In any case, you sound like the folks who insist that smoking can’t POSSIBLY be bad for the health, because grandpas smoked 8 packs a day for 60 years.

    “The difference between the “people used to eat other people” and us eating animals is morality.”
    Yeah, you have a different point of view than did the people who were cannibal. This is probably as good a time as any to point out the ritual cannibalism of Catholic communion.

    “A lion thinks nothing of killing an antelope, but eating a lioness is unthinkable.”
    When a new lion takes over from an old lion, the first thing it does is kill all the old lion’s kits. So, you’re argument is that the lion doesn’t think about it?

    ” Our intelligence is far greater than even the smartest gorilla or monkey and it always will be.”
    Didn’t see “Planet of the Apes”?

    “God told Adam to tend to the earth, and that he could eat anything except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now, if he didnt want us to eat animals, he wouldve restricted Adam to the plants.”
    Well, first off, if you read a little bit farther into the book (spoiler alert!) you’ll find that He laid down a few more dietary restrictions. Secondly, if God told Adam to eat anything, I guess it’s a good thing Adam got talked into eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge rather than, say, belladonna or water hemlock plants.

    “Now THAT would be wrong, if there were animals out there with human level intelligence like that, but there arent.”
    If you’re going to bring fictional characters into it, may I suggest reading “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”? I believe Douglas Adams imagined a solution suitable for all sides of this debate. If you don’t want to read the whole book (although it is excellent), you can skip to the important part by going to this Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minor_The_Hitchhiker's_Guide_to_the_Galaxy_characters and scrolling down to “Dish of the Day.”

    “Therefore, by religious standards, we will always be superior to the animals we live with.”
    There are other religions. For example, the religion of the Aztecs. To them, the only suitable sacrifice was human beings, captured enemies.

    “either way, you would be stubbornly stuck in your beliefs, so here you go.”
    Oh, the irony. Say, before you lecture me any further on being “stuck in my beliefs”, can you identify the beliefs that I am stuck in?

  404. elizabeth June 7, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    A combination of genetics and sedentary lifestyle has made me overweight, not meat. Meat has never ever harmed me. What does harm me (gasp) is gluten. Genetic intolerance. Broccoli give me the poots like nothing else, but steak doesnt. The poisonous plants you listed didnt exist until Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Or maybe they werent poisonous. Planet of the Apes was a FICTIONAL movie with NO basis in fact. The Aztecs were wiped out, so much for your argument there. The argument about the lion kits only happens if another male manages to defeat the current head of the pride, which doesnt happen unless the challenger is stronger and faster. See, you keep trying to prove me wrong, yet i keep dismantling your arguments. Quit while youre ahead.

  405. elizabeth June 7, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

    I only brought the Chronicles of Narnia into it to prove how ridiculous the assumption that animals are at the same level of sentience as us is.

  406. James Pollock June 7, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

    “A combination of genetics and sedentary lifestyle has made me overweight, not meat. Meat has never ever harmed me. What does harm me (gasp) is gluten. Genetic intolerance. Broccoli give me the poots like nothing else, but steak doesnt.”

    Um… are you confusing two EXTREMELY different things here?

    “The poisonous plants you listed didnt exist until Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Or maybe they werent poisonous.”
    The word you’re looking for is “revisionism”. Either that, or you have a very confused understanding of how evolution works.

    I’m assuming you plan to address the actual point later (do you need a little more time read far enough into the book to reach the EXTENSIVE system of dietary restrictions God set down?)

    “Planet of the Apes was a FICTIONAL movie with NO basis in fact.”
    Oh, no! You’re kidding, right?
    (Seriously, this is an AMAZINGLY stupid point to try to make AFTER you started in with C.S. Lewis’ fictional animals.)

    “The Aztecs were wiped out, so much for your argument there.”
    Sorry, I was under the impression that they were real people.

    “The argument about the lion kits only happens if another male manages to defeat the current head of the pride, which doesnt happen unless the challenger is stronger and faster.”
    Or luckier.
    What does this additional incorrect claim have to do with your previous incorrect claim?

    “See, you keep trying to prove me wrong, yet i keep dismantling your arguments.”
    Um, I keep pointing out where you are wrong, and you keep pretending I haven’t.

  407. elizabeth June 7, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

    The key word in the case of the Aztecs: Were. They WERE real people. They no longer exist. The book reference was to point out how ridiculous it is to claim animals have the same level of sentience as we do. Yes, God set dietary restrictions, but i doubt he cared what Adam did as long as the forbidden tree wasnt touched and Adam was being a good boy. Remember, he gave Adam dominion over the plants and animals. Adam was allowed to do as he pleased with them. You are not proving anything except that you cant take a loss.

  408. James Pollock June 7, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    “The key word in the case of the Aztecs: Were. They WERE real people. They no longer exist.”

    This will come as a surprise to them.

    “The book reference was to point out how ridiculous it is to claim animals have the same level of sentience as we do.”
    Interesting, but not really relevant to anything. Not all animals have the same level of sentience. Not all human beings have the same level of sentience, either. What does that have to do with anything, with or without Mr. Lewis’ literary endeavors?

    “Remember, he gave Adam dominion over the plants and animals. Adam was allowed to do as he pleased with them.”
    Then He drove took all that away from Adam. You really didn’t get very far into the book, did you?

    Let’s go back to the question that was posed to you:
    “’ManOrGorilla – see you’re still going on. I find it interesting that you allude to the Bible when talking about regurgitating books in one of your responses to Puzzled. Has it occurred to you that Mankind is the only group of ‘animals’ on the planet to produce the written word?’
    And have you considered the possibility that this might not be true? Maybe there’s all kinds of writing on the wall, but since you can’t read it, you don’t even see it.”

    You could have just said “no, I can’t conceive of that.” and been done.

    “Quit while youre ahead.”
    I’m considering this advice.

    “You are not proving anything except that you cant take a loss.”
    Right. Keep pretending, if it makes you feel better. I don’t mind.

  409. ManOrGorilla June 8, 2016 at 7:20 am #

    Elizabeth,

    “You could have just said “no, I can’t conceive of that.” and been done.”

    ‘I don’t know,’ ‘I’m not sure,’ ‘I’m ignorant about that’ or some variation would be good phrases to not fear as well. Making up answers doesn’t do anyone any good.

    You seem to be very focused on being right/correct/whatever and also seem to assume others will be too. These issues aren’t hard facts like who won the 1919 world series, you’ve actually got to think about them, not just accept what a book says. The bible’s explanations of things should be wholly unsatisfying given the centuries that have passed since it’s writing. Hell, even many of the popular stories in it were written much earlier, by other religious belief systems and simply culturally appropriated by the religion it seems you follow.

    And since we’re talking about Adam and his produce selection: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael_(novel)#Fall_of_Man

  410. ManOrGorilla June 8, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    Hineata,

    That’s all great for you. It doesn’t seem like you have any firm basis for believing this though, or perhaps you simply do not want to share with others. But you shouldn’t expect to be taken seriously, have your views seen as valid, by others, if you are unwilling to defend them to others. And you shouldn’t get to use these undefended beliefs to take life.

    But we do both of these things. Because you are more numerous than I.

  411. ManOrGorilla June 8, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    Warren,

    “For the same reason the pride will rip you apart should you attack their cubs, or any other number of species will attack and kill you for going after the young. Pure animal instinct to protect the species ensuring it’s future.”

    I wold imagine you would attempt to stop me from eating a strangers’ (to you) kids. The members of other lion prides doing that? Is it cool if I go DeerHunter hunting?

    Can a mother eat her babies cause some animals do it? Can I eat some competitor’s babies so the mother more likely to take care of my offspring after I force her to have intercourse with me cause some animals do it?

    Continuing to miss the point, either willfully or due to your culture-induced blindness, I can’t tell which it is.

  412. BL June 8, 2016 at 8:04 am #

    @ManOrGorilla
    “These issues aren’t hard facts like who won the 1919 world series”

    Strange that you’d pick the only known WS in which the losing team lost deliberately because they were paid by gamblers to do do.

  413. Warren June 8, 2016 at 9:23 am #

    ManorGorilla
    You are the one missing the point and more than a few brain cells.

    The animals that do kill the young do so for the future of their species. Strength and fitness of the gene pool. Learn before you speak. You are also picking and choosing only those animals that work for your argument, as many more species do not behave in the manner you use as proof. Therefore by your logic those animals that behave like that are inferior to those that don’t. Can you say hypocrite?

    As for your forced intercourse comparison you are forgetting that you must prevail over the alpha or dominant male first.

    I also would not advise hunting hunters as you would lose.

  414. Brodie June 8, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    What the fuck, its no ones fault. Fuck all of you, you’re all Trump voters

  415. Madeline June 8, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

    *sigh* @ Katie . . . the child is four. As in four years old. As in lucky not to remember he’s not supposed to poop in his pants. Following this, I’m sure you believe the child was one of James Bonds’ illegitimate spawn to have made his way through the zoo security. Maybe you’re upset because the mother in question didn’t realize her child was Jason Borne incarnate? At any rate, the world is a better place because you’re around to judge others put into a difficult situation. That surely makes you feel better about your crappy life.

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  417. hineata June 8, 2016 at 11:36 pm #

    Amusing, Manorgorilla, to accuse me of not providing evidence, when nothing you’ve written so far has been anything but philosophical rants and rambles. No evidence of anything. However, if you want evidence of the existence of God, try going outside and having a look at nature. There hasn’t been time enough in even the most generous estimates of the age of the universe to account for the diversity that exists on just our one little planet.

    Or just take a look in the mirror at your own eyes. They’re miraculous organs just on their own. And you have a working body full of other miraculous orhans into which they’re integrated. Never mind the other species on our planet. So, that’s my evidence for you. See if you can do any better.

    Cheers.

  418. Puzzled June 11, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    MoG: Then you should have no quarrel with eating meat, so long as the animal is slaughtered painlessly. Since we don’t know the pain responses of plants, that would be more humane than eating plants.

    The problem I have with your book regurgitation is that I’ve read the book. It’s about the most boring and pointless “philosophical encounter” imaginable – one party simply rambling on, the other contributing nothing to the conversation. That is a far cry from establishing that the gorilla is right – it just shows that the author didn’t want to give the human a decent role.

  419. Jim Sonnenberg June 12, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

    Suppose this was a daycare field trip, and this same boy did this while a teacher looked away, and the child was severely hurt. Now suppose the teacher said, “Oh, gosh, I’m so sorry but mistakes happen. Kids can scamper off so quickly, you know?” Ms Gregg would rightly find that unacceptable, and the daycare would be sued and the teacher perhaps even prosecuted.

    And to the folks who suggest that toddlers can dart off anywhere, well that’s kinda the point, isn’t it? It’s important to note the outcome here could’ve been far worse, and not just for her son: Other well-intentioned adults considered risking their lives to save him. Thankfully they were persuaded against it.

    But her statement reads so breezily and exhibits not a shred of humility or even a candid acknowledgement that she didn’t keep due vigilance. For me, this is where I’m most bothered, because I do recognize that we are each capable of making dumb mistakes. At the very least, an acknowledgment and simple apology was necessary but not offered.

    Now I understand the kid wants to return to the zoo. How adorable.

  420. Warren June 12, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

    Jim
    First, I would only consider legal action if my kid was thrown in or if the daycare worker was chemically impaired. Not for going on his/her own.

    Secondly, I am sick and tired of this being treated so differently because it was a zoo. People would risk their life for a kid that darted into traffic or got swept away at a beach or any numerous incidents which happen far more often than a zoo breach.

    And considering the crap this mom has had to put up with from the press and public I don’t blame her for playing it cool and removed. Personally I’d be telling them all to go eff themselves.