UPDATE: PARENTS OF GORILLA BOY WILL NOT BE PROSECUTED. Last Zoo Thought: Why Do We Assume There’s ALWAYS Someone to Blame in a Tragedy?



The athhisbier
parents of the boy who wormed his way into the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo will not be prosecuted. That is fantastic news for anyone who has ever lost track of a beloved child for a few seconds, minutes or hours — in other words, every parent on earth. (Including the Prime Minister of England, who accidentally left his kid at a pub.) As the prosecutor put it:

“If anyone does not believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they’ve never had kids,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said at a news conference Monday. “Because they can and they do.”

Yes, they can. So now we return to you to our post from earlier today:

This may be the last word on the boy/mom/gorilla/zoo/internet-gone-crazy story. Kimberly Harrington at The Medium noticed something we’ve talked about here: The intense desire to blame, especially when a child gets hurt:

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but in the aftermath of all kinds of tragedies in this country, one of the most common questions that’s asked—after “Oh my God is everyone alright?” or “How many people were killed?”—is “Where was the mother?” (always the mother) or “What kind of horrible monster raised this kid-teenager-grown ass adult?”

It was asked after Columbine. It’s asked after other mass shootings because as we all know, mothers alone create mass murderers. And it’s asked any time a child is injured or killed…

To illustrate the point that sometimes bad things just happen, even to wonderful parents, she tells this truly tragic story:

Six years ago a five-year-old girl in the same town where we now live was killed while riding her bicycle. It happened on one of the first beautiful May days that felt like summer might just come back to Vermont. She was out riding her bike with her parents walking behind, a car approached and was about to turn when he noticed she was having a problem with her bike. He waited. The parents thanked him and waved him on, no one realizing that she had suddenly sped up on her bike, and the driver—not seeing her—turned, pinning her underneath. Neighbors came running out with car jacks, anything, everything they could do to help free her, but it was too late. Nothing helped. They couldn’t save her.

The conclusion of the local news article about her death has stayed with me six years later, “It does not look like any criminal charges will be filed. Police say there is no evidence of excessive speed or negligence; this appears to be just a tragic accident.”

Just a tragic accident. I think about those words all the time. Everything went wrong despite everyone trying to do what was right—the parents, the driver, the girl, the neighbors, everyone.

Accidents do happen. But we don’t want to accept that. To accept that is to accept that we don’t have control over our lives and the lives of the people and animals we love. Who wants to accept that?

Who wants to accept the fact that we, as parents, can’t control everything?

Free-Rangers do.

Not that we want to court danger, or even be irresponsible. But the new notion that somehow parents can and MUST be in control of their children every day in every situation is delusional, as that sad story shows. It leads to blaming and shaming of parents, and excessive, oppressive surveillance of our kids. Rather than making children safer, it is replacing their march toward independence with the stunting entropy of waiting for mom or dad to tell them what to do and how to do it.

The belief that there are no accidents has lead to onerous, insulting laws, like not letting kids wait at home for a few hours after school. And it has lead to advice in the mommy magazines about one-in-a-million dangers, like the danger of your child being blinded by a laundry hamper. But if you really have to watch out for every possible thing that has ever hurt a single child, you will have to pulverize your child’s jelly sandwich and have her slurp it while sitting on the floor beside you, so she doesn’t choke or topple or accidentally spoon it into her ear.

In her piece, Kelly happens to lump “Free-Range” in with a lot of other parenting techniques, and that’s my one quibble, of course. Because Free-Range is not a parenting technique, it’s a way of looking at the world — a world that is pretty safe, but never perfectly so, where trust makes more sense than constant distrust. I like to think we are the non-blamers she is trying to find. – L.


Hard cases make bad internet shaming.

Hard cases make bad memes.


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67 Responses to UPDATE: PARENTS OF GORILLA BOY WILL NOT BE PROSECUTED. Last Zoo Thought: Why Do We Assume There’s ALWAYS Someone to Blame in a Tragedy?

  1. Dienne June 6, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    For a country which so many claim to be a “Christian nation”, we are one of the most faithless nations on earth. The real message of the Bible (and many other religious texts for that matter) is that you are not in charge, God is. Yet Americans, especially the ones most likely to publicly identify themselves as “Christian”, are so arrogant that we think God is our co-pilot and that we are the captains of our own ships. Our ancestors risked death at sea, followed by death by any number of possibilities once they arrived in order to build what they hoped would be better lives for themselves. But we are so fearful that we need to control every detail lest we risk a stubbed toe. If we allow for the possibility that things “just happen” then that means we have to accept that things might “just happen” *to me* and that’s unacceptable for most people. So we look for things we can blame people for doing that caused the bad thing to happen so we can sigh with relief because, of course, *we* wouldn’t do such stupid/irresponsible/horrible things, so we’re safe.

    And Jesus wept.

  2. Neil M June 6, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    I think it’s comforting to believe that, when disaster strikes, it’s because someone, somewhere, screwed up. The bigger the disaster, the bigger the screw-up, so if we just prevent mistakes, we’ll prevent disasters. It’s much scarier to think that, sometimes, things just go wrong.

  3. Marie June 6, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    Beautiful. Thanks for your very clear perspective, Lenore, and your refusal to be pulled off-course.

  4. Stacey Gordon June 6, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    I’ll just leave this here again…


    Speaking of faith… “Regardless, living in a free society requires a peculiar type of faith. We are obligated to trust that the car coming towards us does not cross the double yellow line, whether due to negligent behavior, accident or malicious intent…that the bus driver doesn’t drive the bus off a cliff, that the truck driver isn’t falling asleep at the wheel, that the person entering our medical information does not confuse us with someone else, that the food we eat is safe, that we get the right medication, or that the pilot flying our plane isn’t suicidal that day.

    These heartbreaking instances, while rare, make us fully aware of our powerlessness, of our lack of control. The first knee jerk reaction is to reach for more control, more restrictions, and legislation. If we were to be truly honest we would realize that more laws do not put us more in control, nor do they increase safety.”

  5. MichaelF June 6, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    When you live in a litigious society there ALWAYS is an assignment of blame, sadly not as much for responsibility.

  6. elizabeth June 6, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    I broke my elbow when i was four. No one called cps. It was a case of “No i dont wanna pick up my toys.” Ive almost been hit by a car, i got in a fender bender because my mind drifted elsewhere. I did a faceplant off of a skateboard. Accidents happen.

  7. Workshop June 6, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    There are multiple reasons why we, as a society, have arrived at this place.
    I think it is that we aren’t the people we used to be.

    There was an interesting TED talk about how people’s IQs are climbing, and it’s not because we’re getting smarter, it’s that we can apply logic to the abstract better than we could fifty years ago.


    So we apply logic to the abstract idea of “danger.” Logically, things don’t just happen; there are specific reasons for everything, from why it’s raining in Texas to the meteor that’s hurtling through the cosmos on a collision course with our planet. When you look at the world that way, we overthink the logic behind tragedies, forgetting that we are, in fact, human.

    Humans, for better or worse, make mistakes. Some mistakes can be corrected (the O-rings on the space shuttle), some are tragic (the Titanic), and some are fortuitous (penicillin and post-it-notes). But we live in a world where the number of variables are too great to accurately predict what is going to happen at any given moment.

    We know that a hurricane is coming, and we’re pretty sure the path it’s going to take. But it’s not certain. We won’t know there was a freak low pressure front that affected the storm until after the fact.

  8. SKL June 6, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    Just thought I’d note that this morning I left my kids off at zoo camp. The youngest class at zoo camp is 3-4yo. Their parents leave them all day with a couple of temporary camp counselors, and the kids go all around the zoo. If the zoo isn’t understood to be reasonably kid-friendly, then how can preschool zoo camp be a thing?

    And I remembered when my kid was just under 3yo in daycare. The preschool had its trikes freshly painted red. While the paint was still wet, they let the “Toddler III” class outside and told them not to touch the trikes because wet paint. Well my kid (who has no unusual history of foolishness) ran straight for the trikes, ignoring the screams of the teacher telling her to stop. Later the teacher explained it to me; she was quite put out that my kid didn’t listen and thought I’d be angry that there was a permanent paint mark on her jacket. But my thought was, how do you put shiny new red trikes in the kids’ play area, point them out to the kids, and expect not one child to touch? Good luck with that. I wasn’t angry, I just thought it was ridiculous that adults chose that location for wet paint.

    There’s a legal concept – attractive nuisance. You know kids are going to try to do certain things. You have to make sure that if you set up a temptation, it’s reasonably safe for whatever kids come along. Little kids don’t read warning signs. The concept of attractive nuisance assumes that kids are not constantly chained to their parents.

  9. SKL June 6, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    On a different note, yesterday I was in an internet conversation about the definition of rape – specifically, including spontaneous sex that is regretted later, especially when the “victim” [always the female] has been drinking. It think it relates back to this “need to blame” phenomenon.

    A poster provided a personal anecdote of a friend who she observed at a bar, drinking, losing her inhibitions, interacting with a “new acquaintance” in ways that would seem to invite sexual attention. Then the new “couple” left together. Later the more sober friend went looking for her and found her standing a bit dazed after “the act” had taken place. The woman was disconcerted about it the next day, but she herself didn’t say “rape.” The person telling this anecdote considers it “rape,” though there is no information as to whether the woman indicated consent. Both people involved were drinking, both had sex, and who knows but both of them regretted it the next day, but we as a society need to place blame! And since you can’t blame the woman (don’t even go there), you have to blame the man. Bam! He’s a rapist. We don’t even know if she was the person who suggested sex in the first place. Why does everything we regret have to be someone’s fault – preferably the other person’s?

  10. John June 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    What gets me is people are inconsistent with their accusations of parental neglect. When something tragic or bizarre happens to a kid, that seems to be when all these self righteous people come out and demand a lynching of the parents. If this little 4-year-old kid would have run into an ice-cream cart and bruised his arm instead of crawling into the gorilla pit, nobody would have thought twice of blaming the mother and they shouldn’t have. Neither would anybody think twice when they see a 10-year-old kid safely riding his bike down the street. BUT if some crazy drunk driver came along and hit the kid and killed him, now all of a sudden, it’s the parents fault! The question would be asked, “Why did the parents let a child that young ride his bike in the street?” As if the drunk driver didn’t bear any responsibility for the tragedy.

    Goodness, let’s have a little common sense here. Child endangerment is child endangerment. If a parent encourages her 10-year-old son to swim across the crocodile infested Lakanga River in the Congo and let’s say the kid DOES make it to the other side and back without getting consumed, that’s still child endangerment and the parent is an idiot. But allowing your child to ride his bike on the street or even by himself 1 mile to school and something tragic happens, that does NOT constitute child neglect or endangerment just because something tragic DID happen.

  11. lollipoplover June 6, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    What is the function of blame and what purpose does it serve?

    I wonder why we blame- as a plural suggesting there are many kinds of blame- because it serves no puropose to improve safety. It doesn’t change the outcome. We want to blame the mothers when children die at young ages or wind up in gorilla enclosures. There has to be a reason for premature death and accidentsand a responsible party. But this same type accident (with a 3 year-old white boy) occurred in Chicago 20 years ago and no one was ever brought up on charges. Back then, it was an accident. What changed? Every accident now has an arm chair quarterback on social media with a perfect parenting record.

    When we assign this blame to the parents for childhood accidents, when does it stop? Every bad situation can be reasoned and a finger pointed. Bad decisions and poor life choices? There is always someone or something to blame. Blame it on the alcohol that they were under the influence of when they rape unconscious co-eds behind dumpsters at frat party. Take no blame on yourself for your sick behavior, but blame the woman for getting drunk and being unconscious. She should have known better and not gotten herself raped. Not his actions, how sad that his promising future has ended and now he is on the sex offender registry (FINALLY someone who SHOULD be on there!) and all for what? His father called the rape “20 minutes of action”. This rapist only gets 6 months in jail for his violent, intentional crime yet our country is demanding justice for a gorilla.
    Okey dokey.

    If you haven’t heard about this case yet, I will just leave this here:


  12. SKL June 6, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    Just for the record, the drunk sex issue I was talking about isn’t the same one Lollipop was talking about. In case anyone thinks I am sympathetic with that convicted rapist – I am not.

  13. lollipoplover June 6, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

    @SKL- Honestly, I didn’t even read your comment before I made mine, admittedly off topic (except for the blame issue.) I think prosecuters were correct not to press charges but realize this mom, not the dad, will be shamed and blamed forever irregardless of the lack of charges, her and the gorilla boy. Still amazed a young child could actually get into that enclosure but I’m so sick of talking about this topic.

    Our local news media is now reporting the big story about a local baby abducted at a mall several months ago (the baby was recovered) but they just released the surveillance video “In the public’s interest” and how the mother was distracted and actually allowed another woman to hold the baby. It’s yet another shaming.
    Yes, she made mistakes but why aren’t we focused on the woman who kidnapped a baby? And the comments are again focused on blaming the mother.


  14. Puzzled June 6, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    Because, if it isn’t the fault of the parents, then my helicoptering parenting style doesn’t absolve me of any risk of bad things happening. Since that’s uncomfortable, let’s lynch the parents.

  15. Betsy June 6, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

    Victory for reality over high blame insanity? Well, let me send you over a bottle of champagne!

    There were no winners here, not even you Lenore.

    I guess you are over your mourning for the gorilla.

  16. Sheri June 6, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    I am so glad that Joe Deters made the right decision!
    I was stunned by the reactions of folks here in Cincinnati and on social media. We have all had a heart stopping moment when one of our children isn’t where we expect him to be. It is such a shame that there are so many self-righteous asshat walking around spouting their opinions as if they were God. I hope this family can now begin to move on.

  17. Warren June 6, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    There most certainly are winners here. The child is alive. Winner.
    Then DA didn’t cave to pressure. Winner.
    The guy that took the shot was accurate. Winner.

  18. TV June 6, 2016 at 9:53 pm #

    Don’t speak for all free-rangers. Some of us think parents are liable for their kids’ actions.

  19. TV June 6, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    Even if it was an accident. The parent is still accountable.
    If my kid destroys property that doesn’t belong to him/her, be it an invaluable exhibit, the neighbour’s window, the friend’s toy, I don’t get to shrug and say, oh, he’s only 4, accidents happen, move on people!
    Apparently if an endangered animal gets killed in the process it’s totally fine.
    Lack of accountability is the opposite of free range. You allow your kids freedom to the extent they can handle it.

  20. diane June 6, 2016 at 10:44 pm #

    I’d still love to see a reenactment of HOW that three year old got into the enclosure. Maybe the zoo could hire him to test its other animal exhibits (sans the animals) and see how effective they are at keeping preschoolers out of them.

  21. diane June 6, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

    SKL: Good point about zoo camp. We have a bunch of four year olds running around our zoo in groups this summer as well, with a couple of counselors for a group of maybe 15. Are they going to have every eye on every child for every second? I doubt it.

  22. Donald June 7, 2016 at 3:30 am #

    The blame culture is partly because of a byproduct of the safety industrial complex. I have been to training at work many times and have to chant, “Every accident is preventable”. Safety is now a religion. This mandatory training is similar to mandatory political studies in North Korea where they are also forced to learn things that are false.

  23. Jennifer June 7, 2016 at 7:47 am #

    You’re muddling two different issues. Humans look for reasons for everything – especially big events like tragic accidents. We also tend to assign blame whenever possible. We blame the weather or traffic for making us late or our kids for us being tired and impatient, and that urge to blame is strong when something horrible happens. I hope everyone involved in the sad gorilla incident has replayed the sequence of events in their minds repeatedly to try to find where the sad outcome could reasonably have been prevented. That’s how we learn, grow, and change.

    The problem comes when we immediately assign blame or look for someone to prosecute without understanding the facts. You didn’t touch on it here, but I read a disturbing analysis of this and similar incidents that show how much more the mother was blamed because the family is Black. I suppose that’s out of the scope of your work, understandably. The zookeepers, the parents, even the boy should have learned something from this incident, and it should have been analyzed by outside sources for possible problems outside of a terrible accident. But, no, we shouldn’t be looking for a parent to prosecute everytime a kid does something wrong, and we shouldn’t blame the mother everytime a kids does something terrible.

  24. lollipoplover June 7, 2016 at 8:17 am #


    The Cincinnati zoo offers a Zoo Camp for children starting at age 4. I can’t speak for this camp, but I’m going to guess they don’t have 1:1 ratios of counselors to camp goers to hold each child’s hand the entire time and keep them out of the enclosures. They may even have to turn their back for a moment or two or help a camper get to the bathroom. If a child ended up in an enclosure under the zoo’s watch, we’d be pointing fingers at the zoo and not Mom Shaming.

    This horrible event should be used as a learning experience. Officials need to look at these enclosures from a child’s perspective to make zoos safer for all visitors and animals. I guess all of the mom shamers can look towards the next tragic accident to sharpen their pitchforks. It won’t be long…

  25. Dirge June 7, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    I’ve said this many times, but people want someone to blame because it makes tragedy less scary. If you can blame someone, you can also say “I would never do that, so I don’t have to worry about it happening to me.” Random. blameless tragedy can happen to anyone, and that is super scary.

  26. Jim Collins June 7, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    I work in advertising. I design the displays that you see in shoe stores and places like Toys R Us. A few years ago I did a display that was almost an anamatronic of a certain movie character. This display was designed with a proximity sensor that put the display in motion when somebody came within a certain distance. This was a large display that was about 6 ft. tall and weighed 80 lbs. not counting the base, most of which was mounted on a pole. In one meeting I asked a customer rep. where the display would be located in the store? I was told right out in the open. I immediately revised the base to be 5 ft. in diameter and weigh 150 lbs. That didn’t go over too good. I was asked why I did that and I told them that sooner or later some small child was going to grab for the display and I didn’t want it to fall over and hurt the child. Both the customer rep and our sales rep said that I couldn’t do it, it would be too expensive. I told them to find another engineer. We later resolved the issue.

    My reasoning for mentioning this is that I want to know how a three year old could get past the barriers to even have a chance of jumping or falling into that water? I could understand an older child doing it. If this was within the safety requirements, they need to get some new requirements. I don’t care how many years that the exhibit was there with nothing like this happening. That just says that they were lucky.
    I saw the video taken at the Pittsburgh Zoo when the little boy fell into the Spotted Dog exhibit and was killed. His Mother stood him ON TOP of the safety barrier, supposedly so he could see better and he got loose from her. The ZOO was held responsible! In my opinion THAT was parental negligence.

  27. John June 7, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    If you read thru the blogs underneath news articles saying the parents will not be charged, the witch hunt against them is becoming even more intense. People are incensed that the mother is not being charged! The holy and righteous crowd who NEVER make any parental mistakes. People are calling her to be FIRED from her day care position and demanding that society put so much pressure on her that she’ll never get close to a child again! It’s absolutely sickening.

  28. Jim Collins June 7, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    Those are the animal rights nuts who believe that the kid should have died instead of the gorilla.
    Do something that we don’t like and we will destroy your life. Social media lets them be heard.

  29. John June 7, 2016 at 2:08 pm #


    The animal rights crowd are a big part of it but I believe it is more than just them. It’s also the self-righteous parents who claim they NEVER make mistakes when watching their children! I guess this is the disadvantage of living in a country that allows for freedom of speech, expression and opinion. It’s the people who exercise those rights whom you can’t help but listen to!

    BUT I guess as bad as it is, it’s certainly better than living in Iran or North Korea.

  30. Jim Collins June 7, 2016 at 4:46 pm #


    I agree.
    I don’t think that the Mother is out of the woods yet. All of these people whining has a chance for some State or Federal Prosecutor looking to make a name for themselves to get involved.
    Then there are the Federal Agencies who are investigating this.

  31. Betsy June 7, 2016 at 6:23 pm #


    You’re all losers. That animal took years of conservation efforts. I don’t blame the man for shooting him and this is not about gun rights, which I respect and admire. I tried it once at a gun range and frankly I sucked at it but at least I was the only woman there.

    We designers/architects have made the world beautiful and with a reasonable expectation of security.

    We would love to the challenge of building a better “mouse-trap” for you. But that’s not always possible. It’s really up to you ultimately.

    A tragedy for me is a kitten that has been kicked with a broken leg by a blameless person, a hording situation by a blameless man screaming at me. Having cops called on me simply because I am trying to find a better way of life for a cat and a bird by someone who is blameless. I encounter blameless situations everyday. I can’t get my neighbors to care about cats and cardinals. Can you imagine what conservationist go through?

    And all L cares about is mommy shaming and some stupid meme?

    I am so happy for your outcome, Warren, and from what you describe, your backyard is beautiful and I would much prefer to visit it then any zoo. Take care!

  32. SteveS June 7, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    There most certainly are winners here. The child is alive. Winner.
    Then DA didn’t cave to pressure. Winner.
    The guy that took the shot was accurate. Winner.

    Well said. Considering what could have happened, this was a decent outcome.

  33. Betsy June 7, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

    So quick to respond Steve S Langley.

    Limited hangout?

  34. Warren June 7, 2016 at 10:15 pm #


    Back to the cat and bird deal? You need a life. Let it go.

    Next I don’t care if it was the last pink polka dot unicorn in existence, if it was a danger to a child you blow it away. Pure and simple.

    I happen to have a great love of wolves. Fantastic animals in every way. I have had numerous encounters with them in the wild. Next to the birth of my kids, the most amazing time of my life was sharing a small clearing with a male black wolf for about half an hour. Still wouldn’t hesitate to kill a wolf that was a threat.

    All you yappers would sing a different tune should it be your life on the line.

  35. betsy June 7, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    Warren – 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 — so keep typing!!…career bloggers always seem to have diarrhea of the fingers!
    im a real person – not a controlled opposition psyop!

  36. Warren June 8, 2016 at 12:01 am #


    Langley? Really?
    Time to get a new tinfoil hat, the one you have on now seems to be cutting of the blood flow to your brain.

  37. Betsy June 8, 2016 at 6:44 am #

    Good glad to hear your not!!!

    But don’t expect me to give you any empathy if the cops are called on you for no good reason in our wonderful nanny state.

    I hope this boy makes it to puberty.

  38. lollipoplover June 8, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    “You’re all losers”

    Maybe…but at least I don’t go kidnapping my neighbor’s cat to *rescue* him with my own self-righteousness:

    “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”.

    This is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, Betsy.

  39. Betsy June 8, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    Well, she called the police on me for leaving a note about it. Not kidnapping. Why am I the cukkoo one? It could happen to anyone, after all.

  40. lollipoplover June 8, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    Yes, my bad, it wouldn’t be kidnapping. Since pets are considered property it would be stolen property.
    What gives you the right to take someone’s pet? Do you actually believe that you are saving cardinals and this cat lived in peril by being outside? I don’t rescue my obese neighbor’s dog that never gets exercised though I think it’s cruel they keep him crated for over 8 hours a day.

    Do you know anything from the owners, who called the police on you for stealing their cat, about the cat’s background? We fostered a litter of kittens and adopted two sisters over 10 years ago that were discovered living outdoors by a dumpster. They were feral but friendly, and we tried to make them indoor only cats. They wanted and needed to go outside. Our vet told us this is quite common with feral cats and we worked with her to train these cats to go outside early in the day and stay inside overnight, when risk of predators is highest. They do not go after birds. They are mousers. I love birds too, especially cardinals, they remind me of my late father. Everyone in our neighborhood knows my cats…the new neighbor up the street puts out a water dish on her porch and likes when they come up for visits. We haven’t had a mouse in our home (nor have our neighbors) in 10 years. They leave me presents on the doorstep several days of the week. They are natural pest control and living their animal function and are well fed and loved by my kids. But you would *rescue* them?
    You are the superior animal lover?
    What gives you the right to judge?

  41. Ellen N. June 8, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    It is so sad and disheartening to me that I have yet to see a comment here showing grief that a gorilla died. Some believe that human life trumps other life, some don’t, but I think we all know that gorillas have thoughts, feelings and viewpoints and that they fear death.

    I also think many other points are being missed. I am very much in favor of free range parenting. I believe that free range parenting means giving children freedom and responsibility where the parent has a reasonable expectation of safety. You can reasonably expect it to be safe to leave your child in a car while you do an errand or to let your child walk a mile to a park. You would not, I assume, let your toddler wander around a construction site. A zoo is easily as dangerous as a construction site. There are, by definition, animals that are extremely dangerous to humans in zoos.

    I also wish that all of us who think the gorilla’s death was tragic wouldn’t be characterized as blamers of mothers. I believe that these parents made a tragic mistake in not taking seriously the child’s telling them that he planned to go in to the gorilla cage. However, I think that the real blame lies in not this particular incident, but in that we as a culture believe that we have a right to cage sentient beings for our entertainment.

  42. Betsy June 8, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    Ellen N.

    You sum it up nicely you think.

    But this mother did share that same cultural belief too.

    You assume? Assume nothing when it comes to zoos.

    Animals are safe to humans in zoos when they are not harassed or their enclosures (not cages) are breached.

  43. delurking June 9, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    Ellen N.
    “…but in that we as a culture believe that we have a right to cage sentient beings for our entertainment.”

    This is mistaken view of the reason for the existence of zoos. Our society has become very insulated from nature, because nature is actually dangerous. By becoming so insulated, we lose much of our understanding of nature. Zoos are educational institutions. They exist in order to allow people to understand nature better. That understanding, hopefully, results in people caring more about nature and therefore supporting its preservation. Your statement belittles the hard work of many people whose motivation is the care and conservation of nature.

  44. lollipoplover June 9, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    “You would not, I assume, let your toddler wander around a construction site. A zoo is easily as dangerous as a construction site. There are, by definition, animals that are extremely dangerous to humans in zoos.”

    Yes, but Trump towers construction sites don’t advertise and market to families and young children to wander their sites (yet). Construction sites bar children (and trespassers). Zoos welcome them.

    At the Cincinnati Zoo, family programs are for all ages, and children under 18 month are free! They even have an overnight adventure for families with children 5 and up. Not really the same as climbing into a cement mixer at a construction site.


    And many mourn this gorilla. Jane Goodall said it best describing what a loss Harambe is to all preservationists and animal lovers. But treating zoos like nuclear missile factories instead of educational institutions isn’t this answer.

  45. Betsy June 9, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    ‘I’d still love to see a reenactment of HOW that three year old got into the enclosure. Maybe the zoo could hire him to test its other animal exhibits (sans the animals) and see how effective they are at keeping preschoolers out of them.’

    That is really laughable! You can’t be serious? Let’s just throw the kids at the enclosures to test the safety.

    I can’t believe Donna, Esther and Katie and a few others were the only self-aware woman to say:

    I am powerful enough to prevent a crisis such as this.
    I do not need to side with this woman.
    Or celebrate the death of an endangered species.

    In this day and age.

  46. Warren June 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm #


    When the hell have you ever been on an actual construction site? Building a tin shed in your yard doesn’t count.

    Sorry but saying a zoo is as dangerous as a construction site has brought you to the lead for Moron of the Year!

  47. andy June 9, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    @Ellen N. “You would not, I assume, let your toddler wander around a construction site. A zoo is easily as dangerous as a construction site. There are, by definition, animals that are extremely dangerous to humans in zoos.”

    Our local zoo have a day camp for children, starting at age of 5. A group of 15 children spends a lot of time with just one adult looking over them. They have plenty of occasion to do mischief. Children over 6 already have a time when they can wander around zoo freely when on school trip – meaning teacher don’t see all of them all for over half an hour. That is standard part of zoo trip.

    I don’t see construction sites doing the same. None of them. I would personally consider that irresponsible.

    Most of the time, even when children do mischief, tragedies don’t happen. It is because zoos are safe enough for it to be rare. Of course, children behaving and obeying most of the time is a factor. But then again, a child in question was not listening.

    I would not blame anyone for the incident, incidents like this are rare enough. If I would be zoo, I would make bigger barrier and if I would be parent of that kid I would cut down on zoo and similar places trips and be constantly scared there from now on. But unfortunately, I do not see how cut chance to zero – short of everybody going full helicopter all the time and cutting down on zoo camps and zoo free roam.

  48. Warren June 9, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

    To all you great ape lovers,

    I , like the mother, am sorry that the gorilla is dead.

    That said this is no different than the following scenario.

    Your child wandered or intentionally went on someone’s lawn. The owner of the lawn for whatever reason, off their meds, high, or just evil, grabs your child and holds them hostage. A knife at your kid’s throat or gun to their head.
    What do you think the police should do when negotiations don’t work?
    I know I expect the cops to take the shot and put one between his/ her eyes.

    All this pro life crap is sickening. There is, has been and always will be a time to kill. No matter what the species.

  49. Betsy June 9, 2016 at 5:56 pm #


    I see you are back!

    And I’m sick of all this false compassion.

    By the way, are you off your meds?

  50. Warren June 9, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    False compassion?

    So by your logic someone that understands that there are times when taking a life is the logical and moral course of action cannot also feel regent that that person or animal had to die?

    I call that being well balanced.

    I suppose you are going to tell me that there is never a time to take a life, no matter what the species. Are you a pacifist as well?

    You do know that pacifists get to live as pacifists only because of the protection provided by non-pacifists?

  51. Betsy June 9, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

    No dummy, I’m strong. I don’t need your defense. I don’t get myself into a stupid situation.

    Does that upset you? Now you are being civil to me? Asshole.

    Your viewpoint is impeachable, Lenore, setting it up as some mommy shaming event. Trying to squeeze a truly tragic event into your “Free Range” viewpoint. Your reality is distorted.

    You people make me laugh. And certainly Lollybabe is the most impeachable of all.
    I think we have had a run-in before actually somewhere else, Babe?

  52. Betsy June 9, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

    The Gorilla was protecting him. Warren, you are setting up a situation that has nothing to do with reality. All of this is virtual, fuck off with your nonsense. The gorilla didn’t do any of that shit.

    You are irrational.

  53. Warren June 9, 2016 at 7:27 pm #


    Didn’t say you needed my protection. Glad to hear you are strong. Guess that means you don’t want law enforcement or the military’s help in protecting your way of life?

    Why is it whack a doodles like you never actually answer questions? Lack of responses only proves how weak your stance is.

    Oh and by the way. Really poor attempt at baiting by the use of foul language. Really poor.

  54. Warren June 9, 2016 at 7:36 pm #


    The gorilla was protectin him?

    That is an amazing gift you have to read the mind and intentions of a 400 lb alpha male gorilla. Even giving the great ape the benefit of the doubt, all a 400 lb gorilla has to do is lovingly pat the child on the head and it could easily result in a broken neck or whatever.
    Do you even have the slightest idea of the strength that gorilla has?
    When you actually learn and know more then come back and discuss the issue.

  55. B June 9, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

    Awwww, deal with it, poor, poor Warren. I simply don’t need you.

    You were the abusive one first, remember? You said I was perfect and felt superior to other people for simply having a viewpoint. What is the ultimate result you are looking for?

    Why are you writing? And just what way of life are you trying to convert us to?

  56. Warren June 9, 2016 at 8:22 pm #


    Again the weak refuse to answer even simple questions.

    Not trying to convert anyone. Besides I find you far too weak of character to even consider you for my circle. When your stance is challenged you run with your tail between your legs. You refuse to answer direct questions. That is pure weakness not the strength you claim.

    Now in the immortal words of Dwayne “King ” Pride, ” Go learn things. “.

  57. Betsy June 10, 2016 at 6:25 am #

    It was a gift that animal gave to you to see something.

  58. Betsy June 10, 2016 at 8:17 am #

    Here’s what I learned Warren.

    Betsy Harambe

    I have the power to prevent a crisis I have the power to prevent a crisis

    I do not need to side with that woman I do not need to side with that woman

    Or celebrate the death of a species Or celebrate the death of a species

    What a remarkable creature.

  59. lollipoplover June 10, 2016 at 8:54 am #



    I guess he wasn’t a remarkable creature? You still haven’t answered why you felt the need to rescue(steal) this cat away from his owner. I don’t understand your rambles about *Lollybabe*, being impeachable, or any *run-ins* we have had (since both of my cats are still around, I’d say we’ve never had any interactions before!)

    Just like angry commenters who demanded Gorilla Boy be taken away from his parents because they were unfit parents, you took a cat away from someone you deemed unfit?

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs. You do not have to *side* with anyone or thing. Losing this gorilla IS a tremendous loss. Yet having empathy for a parent who makes a terrible mistake doesn’t mean we are celebrating the loss of a species.
    Just like stealing a cat doesn’t make you the superior animal lover.

  60. Warren June 10, 2016 at 10:13 am #


    No you have not learned anything.
    You stand on your soapbox and preach your superiority without even the most basic understanding of what has gone on.
    When asked direct questions all you do is preach louder the same old rant.
    When confronted with your reluctance and inability to answer those questions you turn to personal attacks and even more holier-than-thou preaching.
    All signs of a weak stance of a weak person.

    People have to do horrible things for the right reasons all the time. Contrary to what you believe this does not make them horrible people.

    Just like the zookeeper that took the shot that killed the gorilla. It was a great sacrifice he or she made.

  61. sigh June 10, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    The whole country might benefit from reading Brene Brown’s work on shame and blame and empathy.

  62. Diane June 10, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    Good gracious, Betsy, you DO know what “sans the animals” means, don’t you? It means, “without the animals.”

  63. Betsy June 11, 2016 at 3:01 am #

    Its still a ridiculous idea Diane.

    You want TRUE responsibility in this world?

    My neighbor doesn’t think there is a problem but calls the enforcement. My bad.

    So why should I feel anything for this woman who gets kid in the gorilla pit?
    I don’t think its a problem for me to solve. Get your own damn kid out the pit.

    Let her take Warren’s expert shot.

    Who wants to be with Betsy? Its not about what she does.

    You want to be around the neutralized one and expecting ourselves to be blamed.

  64. Warren June 11, 2016 at 8:35 am #

    Okay take a deep breath. Call your doctor and have him adjust your meds.
    You’ve gone from being out there in left field to having gone so far off the deep end they’ll need sonar to find you.

  65. Betsy June 11, 2016 at 8:49 am #

    Well, were all talking about probabilities anyway and yeah I get the humor and I’m half joking around too. And inferring things we really don’t know for sure.

  66. lollipoplover June 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    “I am powerful enough to prevent a crisis such as this.”

    Except when can’t.
    Betsy, I used to think this way. Then I had children.
    Just curious, do you actually have an children or ever had the opportunity to watch a couple for over 24 hours?
    Some can be ninjas. No joke.

    No, you don’t have to have empathy for anyone. You can go about your life, stealing your neighbor’s indoor/outdoor cat with your sanctimonious belief that trapping someone else’s beloved pet and keeping it in your garage away from *danger*and birds is actually helpful. Or right.

    Since when did you become the *Indoor Only* Cat Police?
    You know how to save cats? ADOPT one. Or help out the local cat rescue by trapping (you’re already good at that!) and neutering feral cats to control the cat population. It’s kitten season here. Shelters are FULL. Don’t go stealing your neighbor’s pet because his cat dares go outside and placing your beliefs on how he raises his pet.
    I see deer, rabbits, squirrels, and foxes struck by cars and urban sprawl but I don’t go about stealing cars to save the animals.

    You don’t have to show empathy for anyone or thing. You can go about thinking you have superior abilities to prevent all crises. Until you can’t.

  67. Vaughan Evans June 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    When I was 12-13, I tried to include my parents in my play. After all, they are people, too.
    I explored(and got to know the trails-of what is now Pacific Spirit Park
    (This was in 1962(I was then 13.
    In those days that bush was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
    Nobody knew about these gtrails0-until the bush was nearly razed
    (In 1974 an organization was formed-to save the bush-for parkland.

    -For three times, I led my father, brother, and my brother’s friend-deep into the heart of the bush.

    (A decade ago, the park was named Pacific Spirit Park.)

    The park lies between the University of British Columbia-and the City of Vancouver.
    My father did not go on any more hieks wigth me. He to,ld me that he hated walking. He likes to build things