All right! Let’s talk about the toddler-falling-into-the-gorilla-habitat thing. We are going to. More to the point: If you think that the kid’s mom should be fined/cited/punished/SHOT TO DEATH, as some people have suggested, I’m here to tell you how profoundly wrong you are and how ashamed you should be.
I’m only putting this here because I want you to look at what the subspecies names is. Yay, I love it, it is the only thing I liked about writing this post.
To begin: Yesterday, a deplorable, non-sequiturial article that I’m not going to link to was published all about how the kid’s dad has a criminal history, and I had a few Facebook friends latch onto that as well as string up the mom for the alleged crime of not watching him closely enough, and in some cases for having a kid at all. People are saying that CPS should take her kids away, and lots of people are saying it.
This is some privileged, snot-nosed, misanthropic, racist bullshit, and I will explain why.
I don’t have kids, and I’m gonna come clean: I don’t really enjoy their company. But even though I don’t like them, I do understand why other people like them, and that they have the right to have some. It’s not a mystery to me, because I can imagine not being myself, right, and additionally I understand the concept of liking things. E.g., I don’t like green bell peppers, I think they taste like pennies, but I GET why some people like them–they’re vegetabley, and I like vegetables, and they’re similar enough in taste and texture to vegetables I do like. I like kittens, and I like red bell peppers, so I understand how people arrive at liking babies and green bell peppers.
Imagine, for a second, that you are not the only person in the world, and that there are other people, ones who prefer and enjoy things that you do not. Pretend it is Opposite Day. You’ve heard of Opposite Day. This is finally it. Then imagine, briefly, that you are not the king of other people’s tastes and preferences and don’t get to tell them what to like! Good, OK, now imagine that THOSE PEOPLE–the people who you’ve imagined, and who I’ve not even asked you to accept are real people, they can still be pretend people for right now–also know that YOU like things that they don’t like! Consider the fact that those people don’t try to punish you for liking a thing you like, either, even though THEY DON’T LIKE IT. It’s cool with them. Instead, they just mind their own business and let you like the thing. OR dislike the thing! This may well happen to you all day, every day. Think!
OK, stay with me. Now imagine that the thing to like or dislike here is “kids,” and not only that other people are ALLOWED to like them despite the fact that you think they taste like pennies, but they also have this thing called a biological imperative that HARDWIRES THEIR BRAINS to make them like kids. And reproduce. It’s, like, inside of their minds and bodies, this hardwiring, this fondness for children. You know the way you want to play shitty violent video games all the time and ache for them when they’re not around, because you are obsessed with hurting or killing people who you think you’re better than? It’s a good feeling, right? It’s just like that for these whoops-not-imaginary-anymore people, but with kids.
Other animals are like this too. It’s OK if you’re not, you don’t have to be, but recognize that it is not only normal but is actually the default setting for all mammals, birds, fish, and insects. And flowers and mushrooms and worms and dirt. Everything. You are in poor company if you don’t have this voice-force inside you that’s compelling you to make babies.
OK, good work, you did great. Sorry I psyched you out on how those people were secretly real the whole time, but I didn’t want to freak you out, and look how far we’ve come. Now.
Even if you are a compassionless cold-handed White Walker-ass wretch, which is your complete right to be, as an American, you are still super incorrect if you are spouting a bunch of braggy pious Child-Free Movement rhetoric all over the dinnernet about how the toddler falling into the gorilla enclosure was the mom’s fault and she should be in jail or dead. For having the kid, which in your estimation is dumb, and for then not watching the kid meticulously during all seconds of the day. You’re so wrong that I’m embarrassed for you. Firstly, even though you don’t like them, she still gets to have a kid if she fucking wants to because it is literally the point of being alive, as we’ve just covered, so you’re the actual dumb one for that, but additionally: Have you ever met a human child? Maybe you’ve seen one on TV, or in a comic strip from the 1890s. This idea has been around for a minute, so it may not shock you, but as evidenced by, I don’t know, the Katzenjammer Kids, children are slippery, mischievous creatures who they routinely set out on an unintentional mission to kill or grievously injure themselves. That is their whole executive summary. It’s because they don’t know danger and that is how they learn it. This was true for you when you were a child, and it is true for most kinds of baby animals, and human is a kind of an animal, you see, and a toddler is a baby version.
Also, kids are little fuckers and will go out of their way to defy the wishes of their parents. You can sure as shit try to keep them from getting into trouble, but good luck having a 100-percent success rate there.
Kids: They’re fuckers.
It’s as though the naysayers don’t know this? So I am clearing it up for them. These folks have patently never heard of kids.
I know you don’t care about this, but it is regardless true that you, as a non-parent, enjoy a luxury of judging the mother of this kid from afar, and that you would be whining a different tune if you were in her position. I motherfucking guarantee you that if you, with ostensibly less job experience in caring for kids than the poor mom whose DEATH PEOPLE ARE CALLING FOR on social media, were minding not one but THREE of them simultaneously, at least one of them would escape your sight some of the time. Almost certainly all of them at some point, and almost certainly multiple times apiece.
Imagine actually liking kids, which people who have kids usually do. Or liking YOUR particular kids, at least, thanks to that biological hardwiring thing. Imagine you would be devastated for the rest of your life if you lost one of them, like it was your fucking XBOX or whatever in the fuck you like. And imagine it’s not just your regular XBOX but an XBOX that talks to you and came out of your body. You have a pretty strong motive to not let the XBOX climb into an enclosure with silverback gorillas, eh? You could be the number 1 best XBOX owner in history, and if your curious little XBOX had legs and were sentient, it still might get away from you and climb in with the gorillas. Especially if you brought it to a place that was crowded with other walking, death-wish-having XBOXes, and especially-especially if you had three of them milling around at once. If you brought your precious meat XBOX there in the first place, you’d probably be reasonably sure that it was a safe environment for XBOXes beforehand. Because you like it and don’t want it to get smashed. Yeah?
(And maybe if it did happen, you would already feel awful enough about it, without people who weren’t even there blithely judging you for it from thousands of miles away.)
That brings us to the place where this happened. A zoo, which is a prison for animals, is an establishment that chiefly markets itself to 1. families with small children, and 2. schools for small children. “Bring your small children to us,” zoos say! “We’re great for those things.” So, supposing zoos weren’t ghastly and inhumane, which they are, how are you going to be a business that invites large groups of soft, miniature people with real knack for accidentally killing and maiming themselves to come to your place in exchange for for money, and then be like, “Awp, BTW, we have dangerous animals inside enclosures that a toddler can easily scale! But we’re not going to tell you that, because you caretakers of children should just know that, intrinsically! Yeah, that’s not our problem, hope that’s cool, thanks for the money.”
Like, maybe I’m wrong on this? I can’t tell you the last time I was at a zoo myself, but when I was, I sure as shit didn’t see any signs that read,”Hey, your kid could fall in the gorilla pit, hope you’re watching him.” (I know I’m not wrong because if that were true, and the zoo knew this, no one would go to it and there would no zoo.)
But you watched the video, you say, and Harambe was trying to PROTECT the little boy! You are not a gorilla, but you just, like, know this! You know things! Here is the zoo’s director, emphatically stating otherwise. “That child’s life was in danger, and people who question that or are are Monday-morning quarterbacks or second-guessers don’t understand that you can’t take a risk with a silverback gorilla.” He also points out that you saw one person’s phonecam video on Facebook, from one angle, but you did not see everything that was going on at the scene. As my friend Lana said, “Jesus, but it’s easy to play basketball from the bench.”
“We’re talking about an animal–with one hand–that I’ve seen take a coconut and crunch it.”
Oh, but are you a zoo director? Or a primatologist? Or an animal specialist of any kind, or even a naturalist? Is there any reason that you would know better than this guy about what should have been done in this situation? Would things have turned out way better if YOU had been in charge here? Or are you just some momo on the Internet who knows shit about fuck and who wants to punish people, especially women? Especially-especially single moms? Tripe-especially black single moms?
That is the revolting irony here. The irony is that you are not using your fucking brain, by which you are so impressed, when you say that the decision to kill the gorilla was wrong and that you are right. And that fuck this lady because YOU could mind a 3-year-old 24/7 with two other kids to juggle, and that he would never ever escape from your sight. That is stupid. You are refusing to employ a basic understand of logic or critical analysis when you say these things. You, the stupid-caller, are actually the stupid one for thinking that, my holier-than-thou childfree friend.
(Augh, and please don’t tell me they should have used tranquilizers to knock the gorilla out. It was an emergency, for godsake. Tranqs take a while to start working, and there is a dysphoric period wherein the animal is unpredictable, plus the pain from the dart could have just agitated the gorilla further. They should not have used a tranquilizer dart. That is also stupid as shit to say, so stop fucking saying it.)
It also speaks volumes when you show the world that you will spring to the aid of a gorilla but you don’t give a fuck about the plight of any actual human being. The news about Freddie Gray’s murderer being acquitted doesn’t faze you, but your world comes grinding to a halt when an <i>animal</i> is unjustly killed. You don’t give a shit that this gorilla was given about 3 and a half minutes longer than Tamir Rice, a human child who was sitting on a swing with a toy and not thrashing a toddler around by the leg, was given. Fuck everyone but animals, basically, is what you’re getting at.
I know that it feels natural to assign blame in a tragedy, because it’s painful to hear about a wrongful death, even of an animal, yes, of course. I do grok that part. I know that you want things to have turned out differently. No shit–everyone wishes that Harambe the Gorilla hadn’t been killed. If YOU think you’re sad about the death of a gorilla you never met, think about the zoo handlers, who worked with him every day and had to make the agonizing decision to kill him. It’s not an ideal outcome for anyone.
But it’s on you, as the total brain genius you’ve touted yourself to be, to place your blame carefully. This tragedy is not the mom’s fault, for trusting the zoo to be a generally safe environment for children, and it’s not Harambe’s fault for being a gorilla–if you must cast blame, cast it on whomever encouraged people to bring their children to a zoo with a climb-able-by-a-toddler gorilla enclosure. Which reportedly was in agreement with height regulations, so then it’s the fault of whomever sets the zoo-enclosure-wall-height regulations?
I personally believe that the blame, in fact, falls on the zoo for being a zoo, for showcasing imprisoned, dangerous animals for profit, and I invite you to place it there along with me. A goddamn 400-pound gorilla shouldn’t be kept in an enclosure to begin with. Zoos are unethical relics leftover from a barbaric era in history, and there’s no reason for them to continue existing when the same biological research can be carried out in animal sanctuaries and wildlife conservation parks. Today’s zoos exist only for profit. Fuck a zoo. Dismantle all zoos. Circuses too.
But if you blame this woman for the death of Harambe the Gorilla, you are straight-up being an asshole, which you’re doing because you like it and it’s fun, and it’s rooted in a hatred of single moms and general racism and misogyny, so at least own that. Like, do it if you must, but go forward having been informed.
P.S.: If you DO have kids and you’re calling for this lady to be arrested or fined or shamed or otherwise punished for what happened to hers at the Cincinnati Zoo, you’re the very worst kind of asshole. And my, but it’s just so interesting that a perfect parent like yourself has so much free time to spend denigrating other parents on Facebook.