Thursday, 2 June 2016
22:34 | Posted by Caz | Edit Post
This is me wading into the Gorilla debate.
Although why there is a debate at all is absolutely beyond me. Even last night, days after the actual incident, my local newspaper, on their Facebook site, posed the question ‘Was the zoo right to shoot the Gorilla?’
I can’t believe there is even a question about it. I really can’t.
The media spin on this is all wrong. As unfortunate as it is that an animal of the endangered variety had to die – and the Zoo acted absolutely as it should because a four year old small child was in danger – what is amazing is the miracle that the little boy survived at all, even more so without serious life-altering injuries.
And it really is a miracle. God’s hand was on that boys’ head that day. And I for one am so glad it was. I’m not part of the mob who seems more aghast that a Gorilla died rather than a child saved.
The vitriol towards his Mother across the internet has been astounding. Disgusting on so many levels.
The one that has enraged me the most is the photo of the Gorilla, with the words “I was killed because a bitch wasn’t watching her child” stamped over it. Vile. And so completely unnecessary. Oh yes, a troll will have started it for the reaction of course, but people share this nonsense so quickly, so easily, get swept away with the mob without really thinking of the hurt, the hatred and the down-right unfairness of it all.
Suddenly everyone sees fit to make assumptions about the circumstances, the capabilities of the Mother, everyone else is suddenly the perfect parent or an expert on Gorilla behaviour or Gorilla handling.
Shut up and get off all the high horses already.
Ye without a single parenting mishap cast the first stone.
By the standards of the mob-mentality with pitchforks I should also be labelled a neglectful Mother. Anyone else? You know because as parents we should be able to keep our eyes on our children for every milli-second of every day and toddler types and small children are never pains in the arse and can’t possibly run off, be somewhere they shouldn’t and disappear in the blink of an eye. Eye-roll
You see, I also have a four year old – and confession, shock horror – we’ve had our mishaps where I lost sight of my child – the only difference being ours haven’t ended in such internet hype consequences.
Evidence One - There was the time when Alexander escaped me while I dealt with an item return in a shoe-shop that meant I needed to speak to head office on their telephone. So while I was on the phone and he didn’t have my undivided attention, he hid, under the chairs and benches. The minutes where myself and two shop assistants frantically searched for him felt endless, terrified he’d left the shop or worse, been taken. But there he was – watching us ‘play’ hide and seek from under the chairs.
Or the other notable occasion – Evidence Two - at a birthday party in the park, where we were in a big open space and his baby brother had my attention running off in the other direction – Alexander took his opportunity to sneak off from the rest of the group and take himself off to the playground across the field unnoticed.
Both times (and I’m sure there are more times I’ve already filtered out of my memory) I was seconds away from total meltdown, feeling sick, verging on panic and fear that I’d lost my precious son. How quickly these things can happen, seconds, minutes. No time at all. Was I negligent? No. I’m just not an infallible super-human. And neither are any of the ‘mob’ attacking this Mother. It could just as easily happen to anyone with a small person in their care.
Why this woman out of the news stories this week? When she hasn’t gone out of her way to do anything wrong or cause harm at all and just got caught up in a tragic accident.
Where is the collective rage at the parents in the news this very same week, who wilfully put their young child in harms way in a bear infested woods this week. Not lose sight of him for seconds – no, they left him purposefully in a dangerous situation. That is real negligence, real abuse - but no-one seems to be calling for them to be hung, drawn and quartered.
Where is the collective rage at the multiple news stories weekly of toddlers and small children being beaten and tortured and murdered at the hands of the people who are supposed to love and protect them the most? The parents who habitually neglect their children, leaving them poorly dressed, poorly fed, are so disinterested in them they are farmed out to anyone who’ll have them or left to their own devices constantly.
Or a collective rage against people who go out hunting animals of the endangered variety (or any animals) just for fun? Not because a mere babe’s life was in danger and it needed to happen.
That poor poor woman. Put yourself in her shoes.
Honestly, a family fun day at the Zoo took the most horrific turn. She planned a nice day out with her children and it turned into a thing out of nightmares. She didn’t go to the Zoo thinking ‘I know what, I want a Gorrila to die today, how can I make that happen’. She couldn’t have possibly ever expected her child to have got into an enclosure. No-one expects that. Have you ever been to the zoo and given it even a seconds thought that your child might get in with one of the big animals?! It shouldn’t have been able to happen!
Days later I expect she is struggling to come to terms with what has happened, still feeling utterly sick, terrified by the hatred being directed her way, still reliving the horror of watching her small boy being violently dragged around a cage by an enormous and dangerous animal. I’m sure she thought she was going to be burying her son that day. I feel sick for her – just the mere thought of that being my four-year-old, let alone living it.
She certainly does not deserve the disgusting things I’ve read people say about her these last few days.
Where is the compassion? Where is the collective relief that by some absolute miracle a four year old didn’t meet a gruesome end at the hands of a wild animal? (All-be-it undoubtedly mentally scarred by the experience). Where is the collective relief that some poor parents didn’t have to join the bereaved parents club?
Because what Is coming across to me is an air of the internets’ ‘justice mob’ that would quite like the poor Mother to be grieving her child right now. Because you know, that would’ve taught her for losing sight of her child in a moment. More eye-rolling. What a distasteful place the internet can be.
Although thankfully I’ve not seen the hatred across my personal newsfeed, (what a bunch of sensible, level-headed, compassionate friends and acquaintances I must have!) I’ve been aware of it elsewhere and across others; including some utter dimwit on my husband’s friend list yesterday who even went as far as to say the child should have died. The child. Really?!? I can only presume he is a) not a parent b) certainly not a bereaved one to wish that on somebody else and c) wow, really all kinds of stupid.
Really? There are actually people that would’ve been happier for a four year old child to die? I’m gobsmacked. A tiny four year old that for as far as we really know could’ve fallen in by accident, or at worst was being a bit naughty and not listening (because there isn’t a single four year old who doesn’t have their moments, it doesn’t make parents of four year olds bad or neglectful parents) or was just being a curious small child with no understanding of the danger he was putting himself (or the Gorilla) into.
Would you really stand by and watch a terrified child die? What is wrong with you?
That disgusts me. And my husband. And said dimwit is no longer on his friend list on Facebook.
I hope she is surrounded by real-life love and support from a secure network of friends and family. Real-life people telling her she isn’t the worst person in the world, real-life people telling her ultimately all that matters is that her son is still alive.
Because ultimately, it doesn’t matter the circumstances leading up to the child getting into the enclosure. It doesn’t matter if the Mother wasn’t paying enough attention, or if the child was actively trying to get in the enclosure. (And as an aside if he was actively trying to get in how frighteningly fast it must have happened for not one adult in a busy zoo environment not to have been able to intervene!) It doesn’t matter because regardless he should NEVER have been able to get in there. The ultimate responsibility for the incident and everything that happened surrounding it rests with the Zoo. They are the ones who failed in their duty of care to visitors and animals alike with poorly secured enclosures.
So dear Mother of that boy, people like me who stand in solidarity with you probably seem like a tiny drop in a huge ocean of vileness being directed your way. But there are people who virtually gently rest our hands on your shoulders knowing it could’ve been any one of us and any one of our small children too.
I hope you and your family can heal from the trauma of this, both the incident and the aftermath of the pitch-fork brigade you’ve been forced to endure.
- After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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