Should The Parents Of The Kid Who Fell Into A Gorilla Enclosure Be Punished?

The name Harambe has been on everybody’s tongue over the past few days. Quick recap ICYMI: The 17-year old, 400-pound silverback gorilla was fatally shot last Saturday May 28 when a 4-year-old boy fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Keepers shot to kill when they realized the situation would end in the child’s death as Harambe began to drag him around the pen.

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And holy cow were people pissed. Accusations began to fly every which way as Social Media embarked it’s favorite enterprise: the blame game. Most accused the mother of the child, Michelle Gregg, for not paying close enough attention to what was going on. In response, she penned a defensive now-deleted open letter to Facebook:


It reads,

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers today. What started off as a wonderful day turned into a scary one. For those of you that have seen the news or been on social media that was my son that fell in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo. God protected my child until the authorities were able to get to him. My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes…no broken bones or internal injuries.

As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today. Thank you to everyone that helped me and my son today and most importantly God for being the awsome God that He is.

The Cincinnati Zoo also released a statement maintaining their decision to shoot the gorilla. “We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team,” park director Thane Maynard wrote in the Facebook note, adding that “tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes and the child was in imminent danger.”


Twitter responses to the incident quickly made clear why Gregg deleted her initial Facebook post. Aside from getting slammed as a terrible mother, a petition to have the Cincinnati police investigate Gregg for negligence currently has already garnered almost 340,000 signatures.

Others, however, are blaming the Cincinnati Zoo for lacking a child-proof enclosure.

Personally, I’m out here pondering how and why Twitter specifically is the social justice warrior platform of choice. Although it’s absolutely devastating and totally shitty that humans took a wild animal, put it in a cage, then shot it, the loss of animal life must come before the loss of human life. To play devil’s advocate, shit happens when you’re a parent. Just usually not at the zoo, next to the Silverback Gorilla enclosure. Should the parents in this situation have to face some sort of consequence? What do you think?

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