Life — Harambe and Necessary Evils

I’m going to step away from the lighthearted ‘happiness’ stuff I always write about to talk about something serious: the killing of the gorilla Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo. I don’t usually talk about these things because, frankly, I don’t usually have feelings regarding specific situations like this because I am detached from whatever happens. I don’t let my emotions dictate my opinions (not that that is a bad thing) so my thoughts aren’t always the popular opinion.

So, without getting too detailed into the events of what happened (you can research it yourself if you’re unaware), a four year old boy managed to get himself into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, and one gorilla, Harambe, kept him close (probably to protect him but who knows) and the zoo had no other choice but to shoot and kill the gorilla.

Here are the issues people have with this situation. First off, obviously everybody is mad that the kid got into the exhibit in the first place. People are saying their parents should be held accountable for everything that happened because of their negligence, and that all of this is, essentially, their fault. Second, most of the responses I’ve found regarding the issue are also mad at the zoo for using lethal force instead of tranquilizers, especially when the general consensus seems to be that Harambe was apparently trying to keep the boy safe.

The thing is, while some of these points may have merit, there are counterpoints to all of it. Yes, it is the parents’ faults for letting it happen in the first place. They may have had a good reason for missing their child, and while I won’t make excuses for them, mistakes happen. But regardless of how valid their excuse could be, they are still responsible for the event because it is literally their child. It’s simple fact that parents are responsible for their children.

I think that the main source of controversy regarding the whole matter, though, is whether or not the zoo had to shoot the gorilla. On that specific point, I can’t say. I think it’s an ignorant point of view that says “there is always another way”, because while it may be true, safety has to be the number one priority. The tranquilizers the zoo was equipped with supposedly wouldn’t have been able to subdue the gorilla immediately, and with the child as close as he was, it is impossible to say how the gorilla would have responded to aggressive action taken against him. Given the information I currently have, I personally believe that it would have been possible to use a tranquilizer anyway, but imagine the backlash the zoo would have gotten if the gorilla rampaged and killed the child after being shot with a tranquilizer instead of a gun. The zoo has to have safety in mind, sure, but humans take priority in that.

So, one of my main outlooks on things like this is that every side deserves equal footing. Many people will think that it was wrong to kill the gorilla, but perhaps it was a much “safer” loss than if they had risked the child’s safety using a tranquilizer. You can’t get out of every situation unscathed, and it’s silly to think otherwise.

Edit: I’ve since read from a very credible source that the body language Harambe was displaying was “definitely not protection”. Apparently they swing large branches and stuff around to show their impressive strength, and the behavior he was exhibiting was related to dominance. They did try to get the trainers involved, but Harambe was not about to leave the best possible prize for whatever treat they could have had. It’s still sad that he died, but I’ll stick to my guns (ha) that it was probably necessary.

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