On Gorillas and Such

harambeSomethings in life are inexplicable. Somethings defy logic. Somethings defy understanding. I am, of course, talking about the outcry over the killing of the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla known as Harambe. This article is not intended to be just another report detailing the incident. That story has been told over and over. The intent here is to examine the response and, as if it mattered, my thoughts on all of this.

Part of the cause of the ground swell of cries for the gorilla is due to the tendency of people to humanize the animals they care about. But that is on us. A gorilla is not a human being. A gorilla may be smart, maybe close to humans on the evolutionary scale, but is still a gorilla, is still a beast, and not a human. No matter how many words a gorilla can understand, no matter how many tricks a gorilla can be trained to perform, in the long run, the animal is still a gorilla, and the gorilla is still an animal. Nothing is going to change that. That is just the way it is. As far as the actual deed, the gorilla was not aware that he was about to die, and the gorilla died, presumably without regret or suffering. The little boy lived, and that is what matters.

The only thing that needs to be done is a complete analysis of the occurrence. It is to be picked apart, piece by piece, looked at, turned over, and looked at again. This has to be done for one reason, to be certain that it never happens again. Responsibility has to be determined and those responsible for any negligence or malfeasance must be held accountable. This needs to be done, not to fix blame, not to exact punishment, but to protect zoo visitors from this ever happening again.

One other point I feel compelled to make is this. There is no crime of murder. Nobody can be prosecuted for murdering a gorilla. Murder is the killing of one human being by another. Murder means that a human being has been killed. There is nothing in the law that says killing an animal is a crime of murder. Therefore, the cries for the prosecution for the murder of Harambe are without merit. A person cannot be prosecuted for a crime that did not happen. I am sure this will end up in the courts. After all, we are a litigious society. There will be criminal complaints filed and there will be civil suits filed. I am not sure it that will benefit anyone except the lawyers, but it is inevitable.

I hope the foolishness will soon end and we, as a community, can bring this matter to a close. In my opinion, it was an accident, nothing more. Should the zoo staff have better protected access to the enclosure? Maybe. Should the parents of the child have paid closer attention? Maybe. As stated, step should be taken to determine what happened, why it happened, and how it happened. Following that, steps should be taken to make sure it does not happen again. Beyond that, what is done is done. All the lamenting and protesting in the world is not going to change it. It is time to move past this.


Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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Tom Lind

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  1. AnonymousJune 6, 2016

    Thank you!

  2. ScottJune 6, 2016



Feel free to comment, why should I have the last word.

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