#JusticeForHarambe: Group Think and Lack Thereof

05.29.16

In the past 24 hours I’ve heard the following:

He was protecting the child.

Why didn’t the mother watch him? Arrest her. Take her other children away. Where is CPS?

Why didn’t they use a tranquilizer dart? A tazer?

A Change.org petition signed by tens of thousands of Mrs. Kravitz’ on the Internet asserts that something is terribly wrong at home:

We the undersigned want the parents to be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life. We the undersigned feel the child’s safety is paramount in this situation. We believe that this negligence may be reflective of the child’s home situation.

America has lost its mind. We no longer own animals, we adopt them. We (not me, you) refer to pets as furbabies. We talk about smiling dolphins (their mouths don’t actually move) and currently tens of thousands of people know the intent of a four hundred pound Gorilla.

Michelle Beadle Harambe

In fact, we’ve so lost our way that one reporter and a few thousand of her followers don’t want to hear from the parents of the four year old child who could easily have died and fortunately only suffered a concussion. Does no one want to hear about the child’s health? Is no one curious why the zoo didn’t have adequate security?

Instead the Sanctimommys are out en masse. This could never happen to their child. They ask each other why she has so many children, why she can’t control her children, why she didn’t have help? They say she should be shot.

shoot michelle gregg shoot michelle gregg

There is chatter about the murder of Harambe. Let me explain something to you. Murder is a crime that involves two or more human beings. Harambe was a mammal at a zoo not a person. You cannot murder something non-human. Language matters.

There is no way of knowing if the gorilla was protecting the Gregg child. Sure, it looked that way to my Facebook friends and as much as I love them their expertise is more valid in the jungle of the Macy’s sale rack than the jungles of the African Lowlands. No one knows the intent of a gorilla. How was a zookeeper supposed to get the baby back from the gorilla? By having a conversation with him:

“Mr. Harambe, if you wouldn’t mind handing the toddler over now we’d like to bring him up the ladder and back to his family.”

As we distance ourselves more and more from our own communities, adopting pitbulls instead of children and building wells for brown children in Africa while simultaneously allowing them to die slowly in Flint Michigan we lose a piece of our own humanity. Why is no one asking how a four year fell into the enclosure? Why is no one asking why the zoo had such a serious security flaw. Why is no one saying, “That could have been me.”?

When did we fetishize motherhood to such a degree that four year old children are supposed to have two eyes on them at every second of the day? When did taking children to the zoo become something that only bad mothers do? Has no one been to a zoo lately?

Here is a sampling of the Change.org commenters who have given a gorilla a name but call a child a brat:

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The gorilla wasn’t tranquilized for two reasons. Firstly, this isn’t an action flick and the gorilla won’t magically fall to the ground while safely cradling the toddler in his arms. Secondly, the gorilla might get more aggressive and if the tranquilizer dart works they’d need to wait 10 minutes to find out. What might happen in 10 minutes?

We need to stop naming wild animals. We need to stop caging them too but that’s a discussion for someone else to have. We’ve assigned human characteristics to mammals and animals and it’s confusing to some people. Here are murders in Cincinnati within the past 12 months.  Where is the outrage for these lost human lives? Why don’t you know about 28 year old Dominic Gilbert or 34 year old Julia Boyajian? They were both murdered in Cincinnati in May. Why is it easier for you behind your screens to show compassion to a gorilla than to a mother and her child? What broke in your soul to create that scenario?

I, for one, am pleased that Michelle Gregg didn’t have to bury a child.