The human propensity to break the rules, even without trying
It seems that human beings have this trait that reveals itself when some public figure, or institution is being held to a high standard of accountability. We have society setting these bench marks for behavior, and include consequences for not meeting the standard. Then we have incidents like last week’s incident at the Cincinnati Zoo, where Harambe, the gorilla was shot and killed to preserve the life of a 3 year old boy that had snuck into and fallen into the gorilla enclosure. Video reveals the gorilla pulling the child at break neck speed up and down the water of this enclosure, until the ten minute mark, the zoo administration staff terminated the life of the gorilla with a rifle shot in order to save the boy.
There was a huge outcry that the parents should have been charged. They were investigated by the Cincinnati Police and yesterday, 6 June 2016, the police chose that they would not be charged, as it was an accident and not a criminal act.
Why did the authorities choose to not prosecute the family?
I personally found this conduct by the police and legal authorities to be questionable. The police even admitted that the woman was at the zoo with her three children, aged 7 and younger, and these three children distracted her for a moment, when her 3 year old climbed over the barrier and fell into the gorilla pound fifteen feet below. Please tell me, “How is it that a parent is not neglectful, when she is not watching a 3 year old boy in a zoo?” How is that? How can you even think of going to a zoo with your children, and not have any other responsible adults to give oversight to your children? The zoo and the people of Cincinnati are fortunate that nothing worse occurred.
Here we are a week removed and today, Tuesday the 7th of June, and the gorilla exhibit is open again, with a reinforced higher fence to make it more difficult for children to climb over. I wonder who else is going to try and climb over that separation fence from the gorrilas.
I have a suggestion for the people of Cincinnati and people in North America.
How about North America taking the lead in closing down zoos altogether? How about just deciding here and now, that ethically and morally we will no longer cage and hold wild animals in confinement for our own pleasure? How about determining that this is both animal cruelty and a threat to the continuance of particular species of high at risk animals, and rather than caging them as viewing spectacles, we will keep the ones that have been domesticated by being part of our zoo environments, but that henceforth, we will no longer procure, and hunt for and purchase animals from around the world to put on public display in our zoos? Would it not be the best thing for everyone concerned? Would it not be the best thing for all the animals concerned? Let’s shut them all down and stop this circus like behavior. Speaking of circuses, we should eliminate circuses as well. Let’s stop all of this spectator shenanigans that we promote as zoology on display. Let’s do the moral and right thing and shut it down for good. Then we won’t risk the injury of any human being that acts stupid and falls into an animal compound. Then we won’t risk the extra-judicial death of a rare animal in trying to save the stupid human being that entered their space and their world, even by “accident”!
OK. My rant is over.
This episode has caused a lot of grief to people, the animal rights folks, and there are some pretty extremist views among them, including wanting the “shooting of the mother.” Ridiculous! Yet, there are those who also want some kind of accountability for the parents. I get that. I count myself among those people.
When I was a younger parent.
When my kids were young, Lori-Anne and I took all three of our girls (Carragh, Caitlin, and Erinn) who were 8, 4, and 3 years of age respectively. Our 8 year old was struggling with cancer. She had just had her third relapse when we went to the Metro Toronto Zoo, when they had the Batmobile exhibit there from the first Batman movie. It was 1992, and Batman had made a great impression of Carragh, our oldest. Our girls all wanted to go to the zoo to see the animals and the Batmobile. So we all went.
At NO time, were any of my girls ever alone. Between the two of us, we had our girls well in tow. We had a double stroller for the two youngest, and we had a wheel chair for Carragh, just to be sure she would not become exhausted. But our girls were never at risk and we made sure of it.
Someone, please help me understand…
What I don’t understand of this sad episode, is why a mother whose kids are between 7 and 3 would ever have all her kids under her care and not have a helper with her? Why? And how is this not a child safety issue even for the Cincinnati family services? How can these parents not be charged?
I just hope the lessons learned from all this. I hope no more animals will be needlessly shot because of the actions of stupid human beings who fall into their controlled compounds. I hope no children are injured or killed from the neglect of the less than watchful eyes of their parents.
Samuel M. Buick