Stop Hating On The Mom Of The Boy Who Fell In The Gorilla Cage

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Let me start this by saying that I love animals. I write this right now with a cat sitting behind me in my chair, another curled up at my feet, turtles in their tank next to me are moving their rocks to build something, and I played fetch with my dog all afternoon. (We got him a tennis ball cannon. It was pretty awesome.)

That being said, I am glad they killed Harambe to save the little boy’s life. That’s right, I am GLAD. I am happy they made the choice to value his life over that of a gorilla, and I am glad that the zookeepers didn’t hesitate to do what was necessary to save him.

harambe the gorilla

And the mom who we hear in the background telling her child that everything will be okay? That she’s right here and for her son not to worry? She made the right decision, too. She didn’t jump into that pit, because she HAS OTHER CHILDREN TO THINK OF. Also, did you see how far down that jump was? There is no way she could have fallen in there without sustaining some sort of injury.

To those of you saying that the gorilla was trying to protect the child– GREAT. That is awesome, but they KNEW when they went in to get that child away from him, it was going to be them versus the gorilla, and if they tried to tranquilize that gorilla? Uh, have you never watched ANYTHING EVER relating to animals getting tranquilized? (Animal experts agree with this, by the way.) It is NOT an instant thing, they are going to rage before they are sedated. What would you have had them do if that had been your child? Risk the rage? I don’t think so, not at all.

Now, let’s talk about this mom. My husband and I have VERY differing opinions on this. He says the mom should be held accountable for the death of a gorilla. I say he is wrong. Why? Because kids slip away, and they slip away fast. The mother has even said “He was just right here. With his hand in my pocket.” I have a daughter who, when she was a toddler, wouldn’t walk more than a foot away from me. She was not a runner, and she was more concerned about being able to see me than I was about being able to see her, but I have been in charge of so many kids as a preschool teacher, a kindergarten teacher, a camp counselor, a scout leader, and I can tell you that not all kids are like this. So, if you are saying that this mom is negligent in some way for turning her back on her kid for a split second, you don’t have any idea what you are talking about.

Edited to Add: So, my husband has been thinking about this some more, and he says he is coming around to my way of thinking. Why? Because he thinks zoos should PLAN for small children to sometimes get away from their parents, and the Cincinnati Zoo was not prepared for this scenario.

Kids are slippery, they disappear in an instant. I still remember the day my mom lost me in the local Kmart because I was playing hide and seek in the clothes racks. At Disneyworld they have a massive plan in place for losing kids. This is a thing that happens to the best of kids, and that is why these plans are in place.

So, no this mom doesn’t deserve to face charges and she isn’t our enemy. SHE IS ONE OF US. She is just a mom trying to take her kids to the zoo, to the park, to the store. We need to celebrate her for trying her best, not bring her down because she made a mistake. BECAUSE WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. And some of them are much bigger than others. She wasn’t under the influence or anything, she just turned her back for a split second. And that’s okay.

So, let’s celebrate the entire situation. I am not saying we shouldn’t mourn the loss of the gorilla, because it is sad that he’s gone. But we should celebrate the mom who got her child back safely, the zoo personnel that handled the incident without hesitation, and let’s also celebrate the little boy who lives. Because that is an awesome thing.

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  1. I am an architect, and I have designed, and am currently designing, exterior animal exhibits. It is a challenge to provide unfettered undistracting views of an animal’s habitat while maintaining AZA standards for keeping visitors and animals separate. However human safety trumps all, and while I am not familiar with this exhibit I cannot fathom how a toddler could so casually bail into this enclosure within seconds. My first thoughts were that this was faulty exhibit design, NOT poor parenting. I’ve raised 4 highly energetic kids and am well aware of the shenanigans a young one can get into within a matter of seconds.

  2. I have to disagree with this. I think the mom should be at fault. I have a 4year old myself and i always am keeping an eye on my child. When she does something wrong or harmful, I take full responsibility for my child. The least the mom could of done was simply state that she could have watched her child better. When I take my child anywhere, im either holding her hand or holding her. From many stories I’ve read, I do not believe there is a single story out there that is true. I don’t care who you are…anybody can make up anything or state their opinions based on how they feel about the situation. I don’t believe the gorilla should have been killed as from many ancestors of the gorillas species, their nature is to protect. I honestly think the gorilla was confused. With the screaming from the audience, people, children workers,etc. The gorilla didn’t know what to think. You are not the gorilla so you can not say what he was gonna do or how he was feeling. Many sources are true and many are not. Nobody knows. Just like in some sources I’ve read the mother has been convicted of mamy charges of larceny, drug charges and felonys. Do I think they are true…who knows. If it’s the zoos fault..okay but i still think the mother should own up and be a take full responsibility for your child once they came out of your womb until they are an adult. Your responsibility to teach them right and wrong. I would have never posted my opinions about this situation on the internet because there is no true story.

  3. That witch is not one of us. I watched my kids and raised 3 to adults and that fell in moat at zoo. Maybe she is like you!!!!!

  4. I love this article. I’m a mom and can’t imagine what all really transpired that caused this incident to occur. I can’t imagine judging a situation where only the people actually there know all the details of what happened. I’m not a perfect person and by no means a perfect mother. I am humbled by the Bible verse that says “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” I’m so glad my life and accidents or mistakes or choices have never been scrutinized by millions of people on social media!!!

  5. I went to the zoo with my daughter last week where there were over 4000 kids! No body fell in any cages and no animals were
    If it where in fact only a split second of having her back turned she would have had PLENTY of time to grab the boy before he got too far. When I go anywhere I have my daughter’s hand in my hand not in my pocket. It’s just common sense. She is at fault and she should be held responsible. Hell she was probably talking on her phone and wasn’t anywhere near her kid.

    1. I agree completely. I am an older parent, my kids are grown 32, 22 and my youngest is 16. In all the times (too many to count) I went out with my children to zoos and other venues, never did I lose sight of one of them or the other children who were with us. This mom is completely at fault and should be charged. People no longer take responsibility.

  6. If I take my children to the zoo, you can be damn sure my 4 year old is gonna be restrained or in my arms, not down by my leg or ahold of my pocket, I will know where my children are, her and her husbands neglect are to blame for their child being inside the with the gorilla, if they had kept their eyes on their kids, this might not have even happened. But guess what their neglect caused the death of this animal, and so did their child who had no business in that area without supervision.

  7. Wow. So if I turn my back on my son and he walks into the street right in front of a car it’s not my fault? Yea ok. Great message to send to people with children. I assume whoever wrote the article also believes you should place something important in the backseat like a cell phone so you remember you have a baby back there.

    1. Thank you!! I mean there is no amount of chaos in the world that will make me forget I have my kids in the car!! That just baffles my mind! If you need a reminder that you have a living being in the car with you, you need not have children..point.blank.period

    2. I agree completely. If one needs to be reminded they have a child in the backseat, then they should not have children.

  8. Bullshit! You’re just another parent trying to deflect their lack of responsibility on the zoo, on a child’s behavior, onto anything or one in which the finger of blame can be pointed to anyone but themselves. If you can’t handle your child(ren) in the situation you are putting them in, then wouldn’t the wise decision be for the ADULT to NOT put their child(ren) in that situation? Especially in a place that GUARANTEES encounters with animals will occur like a zoo?! And I’d like to know, how do you know this mother was not under the influence? Were you there? Do you know something the rest of a us don’t know? There is NOTHING to celebrate here! Yes, it is an assumption to say all are glad the child is safe and physically unharmed, so I will assume this, though I have read opinions by animal activists to the contrary. None can say what lasting psychological effects this child might suffer going forward. And Harambe was taken from the world as a result of carelessness. And last, you really shouldn’t call yourself a writer. You are a presumptive individual expressing their opinion using really bad grammar. Did no one ever teach you not to end a sentence in a preposition?

    1. Actually, the rule stating that ending a sentence with a preposition is POOR (not “bad”) grammar is generally accepted to be outdated.

      Furthermore, the same rule that says not to end a sentence with a preposition would also apply to the first clause of an “if, then” sentence, so your “If you can’t handle your child(ren) in the situation you are putting them in,…” commits the same non-error.

      Similarly, the rule that says not to end a sentence with a preposition is often extended to prepositional phrases… The obnoxiously mistaken admonition to “not end a sentence with a preposition” should actually read “Prepositions are words with which we should not end a sentence.” Kind of clunky, wouldn’t you say? (Which, of course, is the reason this rule fell out of vogue in the first place.)

      Additionally, “Especially in a place that GUARANTEES encounters with animals will occur like a zoo?!” is not a complete sentence! You probably should avoid critiquing other’s writing when you commit second-grade errors like sentence fragmentation!

      “I’d like to know, how do you know this mother was not under the influence?”
      This is irrelevant. It is your position that the mother is responsible, period.

      That was a highly irregular usage of “presumptive.” You meant to say “presumptuous,” which is ironically amusing, and shows an embarrassingly monumental lack of self-awareness.

      You’re welcome.

      1. Thank you! I smiled as I read your response.

      2. I am more than happy to bring a smile to your day.

    2. You know it’s okay to end your sentence in a preposition, right? I mean, it’s perfectly in a conversational piece (such as the one I wrote above) to end a sentence that way. I wasn’t writing anything formal. Unless you maybe thought this WAS formal? Then, wow– thank you. 🙂

  9. You can make up any excuse all you want. You are still responsible for your children. As a parent myself, I DO know how slippery they can be. But anywhere we go in public, I am well aware of my kids and our surroundings. We have never lost a child, never left a child, and not once has one ever entered a zoo habitat. That doesn’t make me perfect. It’s called responsibility. And if something like that were to happen to us in the future – it would be my fault. People can make up whatever excuse they want – she’s still the responsible party. Bottom line. Think about other senarios. What of a 4 year old got a gun and shot someone. Who’s responsible? Kids are slippery right? How about state parks with warning signs and a kid gets hurt for being somewhere he’s not. Kids are just slippery right? Can we all just use that excuse now for everything instead of taking responsibility? How much do you want to bet that if that wasn’t her kid and she was in charge of watching someone else’s kid, there wouldn’t be any excuses made for her.

  10. Well said. This is hard on everyone and this poor mother is taking quiet a beating for something that has happened to many people in many other ways. Who are we to judge? That’s one the problems with our world today – we judge without thought, we follow the path of the masses and forget to think for ourselves.
    Thank you for your thoughts on the matter, I hope this mother finds support, she’s going to need it.

  11. We can agree that they did what had to be done and still have high expectations for parents to take responsibility for their actions, including the children they bring into the world. The fact that something can happen quickly doesn’t make it not our responsibility. As a parent, I’ve always taken responsibility for my children, and so far have a >700 million second consecutive record of not losing them. I’m not asking any more of this parent than I ask of myself. Asking people to take responsibility for their actions is one of the ways that we acknowledge that none of us are perfect–we will make mistakes and then as mature adults we will take responsibility for those mistakes. Absolving her of responsibility does nothing to make the world a better place.

  12. If your children go around killing people. Who’s fault is it? Those innocent victim?the kids? or the parents? Think bitch………

  13. Oh Fck off Jamie. Wat kind of mother are you? It’s the mother’s fault and the gorilla shouldn’t be shot dead. Go watch the latest video posted by mirror uk. The gorilla was actually protecting the kid. When the bitch mother shouted and everyone else started shouting as well which caused a stressful situation for the gorilla. Therefore he acted agressively. Get ur facts right before you talk, dumbass fat bitch. Hope the mother is held accountable for her mistake that lead to a death of a beautiful animal

  14. They’re mad that she wasn’t paying attention to her child, not that she didn’t go in there. There are several barriers to get in there and she didn’t notice him that whole time till the child was in there.

  15. I do understand that kids do slip away but they don’t just slipnaway and fall into a animals cage …the mother should have been holding his hand since HE WAS FOUR YEARS OLD……and yes she should be held responsible for that…ncuz if she had been watching her son instead whatever the hell she was doing Harambe would still be ALIVE…so other people could enjoy seeing him!!!!!!

  16. Sorry but I totally disagree. She turned her back for a split second……not good enough. As a parent/guardian it is your responsibility to keep the child safe at all times. Not the supermarket nor the zoo.
    Would it have been just as ok for the mother to have turned her back for a split second & the kid ran out onto a busy road that resulted in the death of the child???
    If the mother made a mistake that resluted in the death of a fellow human then she would be convicted of a degree of man slaughter. What makes the mothers actions less responsible as it only resulted in the death of an animal.

  17. sorry, i couldn’t disagree more!

    gross negligence is the only term that comes to mind here. The mother should be held accountable for her child and the damage done. If you have a child and some damage occurs because of that child “you” are responsible. Comes with the territory of being a parent.

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