mothers, babies, and gorillas BLOG POST

Unless you live under a rock, or a place with awful reception, you’ve probably heard about the unfortunate incident that occurred at the Cincinnati zoo where a boy fell into a gorilla enclosure. Spoiler alert, the boy turned out to be okay, but they had to put down the gorilla. While reading through the comments (because let’s be honest that’s where all the good stuff happens), I was absolutely disgusted at the public’s response. I saw comments criticizing the lack of parenting, comments arguing that the gorilla didn’t have to be shot, or the most disheartening one, comments wishing the parents had been shot instead. I wasn’t there, so I don’t believe it’s my place to assign blame. Believe me, I had nasty thoughts too, but once I put myself into the mother’s shoes, my attitude completely changed.

I don’t know why, but I actually tried to watch the video and only made it five seconds before I turned it off and started bawling my eyes out. Thankfully my husband ruined the end for me and told me that the boy was okay but I am ashamed to admit that my first thought wasn’t good. After I got done crying, I began to ask my husband what kind of a mother would just sit there as her child was being drug around by a gorilla and then I realized, I was just like them. I was just like the commenters. I am sitting on the couch, with my children safely in their beds, and I have the audacity to judge another mother when I have no idea what happened. I think it’s easy to sit back and place blame and mutter nasty comments when we weren’t there.

I’m a mother, and as most mothers did when they heard about this story or saw the video, I immediately thought about my child being in this situation and I suddenly realized, “this could have been me”. My mind started to race back to yesterday when I found my son playing in the street. I don’t consider myself a negligent mother – if anything I’m actually well known for being a helicopter mom. My husband thought I had our son, and I thought he had our son. By the time we realized the other person wasn’t with him, we immediately started searching everywhere to finally find him playing in the street. No cars drove by, and I don’t even think that any neighbors saw him so no one can judge me.  Luckily for us, this didn’t end tragically.

But it could have.

Has your child ever fallen off the play set or out of a tree? Have you ever turned your back for one minute to find your child running away? Then you could be that mom too. And that’s exactly the reason why I’m not judging this mom. I know how I felt after finding my son in the street, completely untouched, and I know how I felt watching a mere couple seconds of that video. I literally can’t imagine how that mother felt watching her son being drug around by a gorilla and not being able to do anything. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

Listen, animals have a special place in my heart and I definitely get upset when I see animals mistreated, but there was not one second where it crossed my mind that maybe they should have saved the gorilla instead of the little boy. A little boy’s life was in danger and the zoo did what they had to do to save his life and nothing anyone can say will get me to change my mind on that subject.

Were the parents negligent? Was the gorilla trying to harm or protect the child? Was it just an accident? I guess the whole point of this article is to say that I don’t know. I wasn’t there, so I’m not going to try and pretend like I know anything. I don’t know whether the gorilla would have seriously harmed the boy had further action not been taken. I simply don’t know, so it’s not my place to make nasty comments about parenting. The only thing I do know is that by God’s grace there is one less mom out there who has to attend her son’s funeral.


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