Plastered all over the news this past weekend was the Cincinnati Zoo tragedy where a silver back endangered gorilla named Harambe, was killed after a 4-year-old boy somehow navigated through the safety barriers and fell into his enclosure.
Because of social media, the mother, Michelle Gregg is facing an onslaught of hate and accusations stemming from her seemingly neglectful care of her child.
There’s even a Change.org petition with more than 98K signatures pleading with authorities to not only hold her personally (criminally) accountable in the death of Harambe but also to have child protective service investigate her home situation because the petitioners feel this may be indicative of his home situation.
What Parent’s Can Learn From The Cincinnati Zoo Tragedy
In case you missed it, here’s what happened.
According to witness Kimberly Ann Perkins O’Connor, who captured some of the tragedy on her phone, she overheard the boy joking to his mother about going into the water.
Some time later, the crowd hears a splash and sees the kid in the water.
The crowds start screaming, drawing Harambe’s attention to the boy.
“At first, it looked like Harambe was trying to help the boy, O’Connor said. He stood him up and pulled up his pants.
As the crowd’s clamors grew, Harambe tossed the boy into a corner of the moat, O’Connor said, which is when she started filming. Harambe went over to the corner and shielded the boy with his body as the boy’s mother yelled “Mommy’s right here.”
The crowd’s cries appeared to agitate Harambe anew, O’Connor said, and the video shows him grabbing the boy by the foot. He dragged him through the water and out of the moat atop the habitat, O’Connor said.
By that point, “It was not a good scene,” she said. When the boy tried to back away the gorilla “aggressively” pulled him back into his body “and really wasn’t going to let him get away,” she said.
O’Connor left before the shooting. When asked if the the barrier could be easily penetrated by a child, she said it would take some effort.”
O’ Connor went on to say the boy had to climb under something and walked through some bushes to get to the moat before falling in.
A feat that took time and effort.
So now because of the sheer neglect of this mother, an endangered animal, who by some accounts looks as if he was trying to protect the boy, is shot and killed.
I’m not going to second guess the experts who felt the child was in “imminent danger,” which left the zoo with no other option but to shoot and kill him. Thane Maynard, the zoo director, said in a statement on Facebook that their concern was that the tranquilizers may not have taken effect in time to save the boy, and the dart might have agitated the animal making a seemingly bad situation worse.
I mean if the outcome had been that the child was maimed or killed, then what?
As for keeping animals in captivity? Let’s just say I haven’t been to a zoo since I was a kid and will never take my grandson Lucas to one. So you can take what you want from that statement.
I raised my daughter during a different period. A time when social media hadn’t even been conceived of and therefore all my parenting sins weren’t available for the whole world to see.
But even if I were raising a child today, one thing would remain the same: I would be paying attention to her.
I’m so tired of hearing of devastating consequences that happen to children or others’ (in this case an endangered animal) because parents don’t take their parenting roles seriously enough.
Your child is supposed to be your number one priority!
No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.
If you’re at the zoo and you’re rambunctious four year old is talking about getting a close-up view of the gorilla, you take steps to ensure he not only understands the danger associated with a wild animal but stays close to you, so he never gets the chance.
What was she doing?
Why is it that he was able to get under the fence, through the bushes and over the side of the wall into that moat without her even knowing?
A feat that took considerable effort. EFFORT!
It’s fair to surmise that, it therefore took some time too. Not just a few seconds either.
You know lot’s of people have said, “It could have happened to any parent.”
That is such bullshit.
Newsflash folks, it couldn’t have happened to any parent.
It only happened to the mother who was neglectful and not paying attention to her child because in her world something else was taking her attention away from him. Something else was more important than watching him.
I know I might get a lot of backlash for saying this, and frankly I don’t care.
It’s really about time we had a frank discussion about the role of parents and how even though it’s damn hard, it requires CONSTANT supervision on our part. Not once in a while supervision, but constant.
And let me be clear about something.
No parent is perfect. We all make mistakes.
[tweetthis]Some mistakes will cost you your child’s life and therefore not all mistakes are equal.[/tweetthis]
If you’re a parent, and you don’t know how to distinguish between the two, then you need to learn the difference.
Then, you need to vow to be a better parent and do what it takes to keep your child safe from harm.
Because ultimately that’s your number one duty.