Cincinnati Zoo. Harambe.
As I’m sure most of my readers have heard, a four year old boy managed to wander away from his parents during a visit to the Cincinnati Zoo this past Saturday and found his way into a gorilla enclosure. According to authorities, the little boy slipped under a fence and fell into the enclosure that housed three African Lowland gorillas. Two of the gorillas were quickly summoned out of the enclosure by zoo staff, but Harambe a 17-year-old male gorilla, immediately went to the child.
After engaging and playing with the child (yes it was rough, that’s how gorillas play) the gorilla was finally shot and killed. Zoo officials stated that the animal was shot because of its unpredictability and potential to harm the child at any moment. The child escaped relatively unharmed.
Endangered Species. Animal Rights Groups.
Much controversy has erupted over this incident, particularly because lowland gorillas are an endangered species. Animal rights groups attacked the zoo for their quick decision to kill the animal, while other directed their anger towards the parents of the child.
So who should most of the blame fall upon?
As you know, I am a huge believer in personal responsibility and I often write about our victim-based society in which people often blame everyone and everything else for their problems – except themselves.
Anyone who has children, or has spent any time around them, knows how quickly they can get into trouble. Often all it takes is just turning your head for a split second. However, nobody ever said that parenting is an easy job. It entails gigantic responsibilities, and not only to your child, but to the society that your child will one day be an adult in.
Authorities in Cincinnati are currently investigating the tragic incident and are even considering pressing charges against the child’s parents. And, controversial as it may be, I am one who agrees that charges may be warranted.
This isn’t, by far, the first time something like this has happened. Other children have miraculously found their way into gorilla pits over the years. And the one thing in common in all these incidents is that the parents were not watching their children as well as they should have been. Again, nobody ever said that parenting was going to be easy.
Children. Swimming Pools. Zoo. Parents.
How many children die in their family swimming pool every year? How many get hold of matches or lighters and burn their home down, often leading to multiple deaths? How many children get hold of their parent’s handguns or rifles and wind up killing themselves or others? The fact is that these things happen far too often than they should, and as uncomfortable and unpopular as it may be to say, the parents must have some sort of accountability.
This was truly a tragic event, but it need not have happened. Sure the zoo, and all zoos across our country, should make these animal enclosures absolutely impossible to breach, especially for children. But why do I have the feeling that the parents involved in Saturday’s incident may soon be filling a lawsuit of their own against the zoo claiming emotional suffering on the part of their child who they failed to properly supervise?
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups, Google+ Circles.