When I heard about the shooting of Harambe the adored gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo after a child fell into his enclosure. I immediately thought of all my many trips to the Kansas City Zoo with my daughter when she was a toddler. I also took my new family and all our kids there on our first family trip, after Wifey and I got married. We went on vacation in K. C. to meet the rest of my family and one the first places I took them to was the Kansas City Zoo.
I go to Kansas City at least once a year to visit my family. Every visit always includes a trip to the zoo. That’s been a family tradition from the time Day was a little girl. Kansas City has an excellent zoo, and she always enjoyed our trips there. In fact, she’s now well into her teens, and I’m sure we’ll end up back at the zoo this year when I go to K. C.
A terrible series of unfortunate events forced the Cincinnati zoo’s dangerous animal team to put down Harambe. The gorilla was minding his own business when a 4-year-old suddenly plummeted into his enclosure. Social media erupted into a firestorm of ugly comments after his death. Some people blamed the response team for shooting him, some blamed the zoo for the child being able to get into the gorilla enclosure, but most blamed the parents of the boy who fell into the exhibit.
The internet has become judge jury and executioner for Michelle Gregg whose child fell into the gorilla’s cage.
We’re not that far removed from Gregg receiving death threats and her address being published, which happened to the dentist who killed Cecil (it’s possible it’s already happened in some pockets of the internet). There’s also a disturbing possibility that Gregg’s race will be brought into this and a racist narrative will emerge.
People on Social media are sometimes just as ugly and vicious as a pack of wild dogs chasing a rabbit. When they latch on to something a mob mentality can take over if folks are not careful. There were definitely some parental mistakes; the enclosure may have had some problems, and there’s the issue of keeping animals in captivity for our enjoyment. But something tells me that these problems won’t get solved on Facebook and Twitter.
Be careful out there; see you soon.