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Cincinnati Zoo crew made right choice in shooting Harambe

Cincinnati Zoo crew made right choice in shooting Harambe

Would #JusticeforHarambe prefer the boy were killed?

Unexpectedly, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens were the focus of Memorial Day weekend news coverage, after their star gorilla Harambe was shot to protect a boy who had fallen into its enclosure.

We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team,” said Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “Our first response was to call the gorillas out of the exhibit. The two females complied, but Harambe did not.

It is important to note that with the child still in the exhibit, tranquilizing the 450-pound gorilla was not an option. Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse.”

The death of such a magnificent animal is heartbreaking. However, as an environmental health and safety professional, I want to commend the zoo staff and Cincinnati Fire Department (CFD) for proper response priorities, which are:

1) Human life and safety.
2) The environment.
3) The facility and its assets.

The boy, who has not been identified, was released from Cincinnati Hospital Medical Center and is “doing just fine“.

I studiously delete stories about animal cruelty and child abuse from my social media newsfeeds, so I made every effort to ignore this media-created saga. However, having done emergency response myself, once social justice warriors began attacking the choices made by trained professionals, I wanted to offer my support.

I am not the only one, either. Famed animal handler, “Jungle Jack” Hanna, the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, agrees 1000% with the response.

The elite media wasted no time ginning up outrageous outrage over this incident, and animal rights activists have arranged for a vigil:

…Witnesses said the gorilla was acting protectively in the tense situation, which may have been aggravated by panicked onlookers who screamed as they watched from above.

Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard confirmed the boy was not under attack, but he described it as ‘an extremely strong animal in an agitated situation’ before supporting the response team’s decision to kill Harambe.

The incident, which was captured on a cell phone camera, has sparked an outcry of emotion, with thousands of mourners branding it a ‘senseless death’.

A vigil for Harambe is being held outside the Cincinnati Zoo today. The organizer Anthony Seta, who describes himself as an animal rights advocate, clarified the gathering was ‘not a protest against the zoo’….

Social justice warriors promptly began virtue-signaling, mainly by blaming the parents. Check out the #JusticeForHarambe tweets!

I suspect many of these animal lovers have no children of their own. From my own experience, I know four-year-old boys can move faster than parents. In fact, a detailed eyewitness account corresponds with my sense of what likely happened:

…Actually, just prior to him going over, but she [the mother] couldn’t see him crawling through the bushes! She said “He was right here! I took a pic and his hand was in my back pocket and then gone!” As she could find him nowhere, she lookes to my husband (already over the railing talking to the child) and asks, “Sir, is he wearing green shorts? ” My husband reluctantly had to tell her yes, when she then nearly had a break down! They are both wanting to go over into the 15 foot drop, when I forbade my husband to do so, and attempted to calm the mother by calling 911 and assure her help was on the way…

Additionally, given today’s messaging that minimizes the risks wild animals pose to humans, perhaps the boy felt the gorilla would greet him like a Sesame Street buddy?

After an emergency of this nature, a review will be conducted to determine what system protections failed. Based on the reports, and the fact a zoo should be able to reasonably anticipate small children (and sometimes adults) will try to explore enclosures, I would say that the root cause of Harambe’s death is this:

Even if there was never an incident in the preceding 30 years, I would likely urge the zoo to re-evaluate all its enclosures in the wake of what happened this weekend.

Meanwhile, I want to thank zoo crew and fire department team for the efforts that saved the life of a little boy.


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to the full extent allowed by law.


Shoot the parents.

    EEllis in reply to valegorge. | May 30, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    If that is all you got out of this post and I had your empathy I would say shoot yourself. Since I’m better then that I will just say if you want attention just walk around with a “Valegorge is an idiot” sign and you won’t look have as stupid as you do after that post.

    snopercod in reply to valegorge. | May 30, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    The news stories neglect to mention what the parent(s?) were doing while their child crawled under the fence. Texting their friends or taking selfies no doubt.

      Char Char Binks in reply to snopercod. | May 30, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      The enclosure should be secure enough to keep a small child out.

        Sanddog in reply to Char Char Binks. | May 30, 2016 at 9:21 pm

        The enclosure should be secure enough to keep the animals IN. I’m sick and tired of trying to create a world where we save people from their own stupidity and parents from their primary responsibility.

          Immolate in reply to Sanddog. | May 31, 2016 at 1:18 pm

          So a zoo has no responsibility to prevent small children from interacting with deadly animals? That’s a unique perspective. Bless your heart.

    mailman in reply to valegorge. | May 31, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Hows bout we just shoot you? Hahahahahhahahaa moron 🙂

    aslannn in reply to valegorge. | May 31, 2016 at 8:14 am

    You are either not a parent, or you are a self-righteous ass. There is not a parent who has ever lived who has not turned around for a split second only to find that their child has wandered off. Thankfully, these situations usually result only in the parent’s temporary panic. But every now and then, whether it be darting out into the road, or into a gorilla enclosure, it ends in tragedy.
    Should the parents have kept a closer eye on their kid? Sure. But anyone who has ever been a parent should know that “there, for the grace of God, go I”.

      Anonamom in reply to aslannn. | May 31, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Your comment should be repeated throughout these (incredibly self-righteous) comments. Yes, parents are responsible for children, BUT accidents happen. This is why we have slow speed limits in school and residential zones and caution signs in areas where children frequently play. We can all hope to be 100% vigilant, but parents – even good ones – are not perfect, and children can make extremely bad decisions very quickly. Those of us with both hearts and brains don’t believe that the consequence of a failure to meet a standard of perfection should be the death of a four-year-old. (Or the condemnation of the mother who, ACCORDING TO PEOPLE WHO WERE ACTUALLY THERE, did nothing wrong.)

    Sally MJ in reply to valegorge. | May 31, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    That’s disgusting.

    Were you raised by wolves?

Yes, 4 year olds can move quite fast so why was the mother taking a picture? What if the child had died from the fall? I went plenty of places with my children and left the picture taking for another day. They were my children and my responsibility. Being responsible means not being able to do things if it meant I wasn’t focused on my children. Sorry. Parenting is difficult, time consuming and important. Now she has an injured son and there is a dead animal.

    EEllis in reply to showtime8. | May 30, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    That is stupid and almost inevitably a lie. Unless you literally put your kids on a leash they had the ability and opportunity to get out of your direct control many times. They almost certainly did so multiple times but since nothing negative happened you just forget about those instances.

      showtime8 in reply to EEllis. | May 30, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      It took a lot of work and some planning to get the job done. I wasn’t about to be outsmarted by a preschooler.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to EEllis. | May 30, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      If my mom was alive, she would express agreement with you about the leash. I had to be on a tether when we went anywhere with large spaces or crowds. Highly curious kids often get into difficult situations. 🙂

      That said, I don’t think the gorilla should have been shot. How about a warning shot? A taser? How about all the things cops are supposed to do before actually killing somebody set on killing them? Oh wait, we don’t know what was on Harambe’s mind. He may have been trying to rescue the boy just like the gorilla at another zoo did when a child fell/jumped/sneaked into the gorilla habitat. Of course, if memory serves, that was a female gorilla and thus no violent motives were assigned or presumed with her actions.

      I think this could have been handled better. I wasn’t there and I don’t know what other options were available short of killing Harambe, but I bet there were a couple.

      What a shame. A magnificent animal is dead because of a distracted, careless woman. I’ll bet she has no remorse and has already called a lawyer for the ghetto lottery. She has a PR firm already, so the lawsuit or settlement with the threat of one can’t be far behind.

      Given the size of the parents, it’s no wonder the child had no fear of an animal Harambe’s size:

      Yeah, I’m getting cynical and mean, but I’m sick of this nonsense. The parents should be sued for the costs incurred by the zoo and for now having to replace Harambe.

    Immolate in reply to showtime8. | May 31, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Yeah I’m calling BS on this as well. I’m around kids constantly, and see parents ranging from laissez faire to behavior nazis, and none of them can maintain 100% control of their toddlers without physical restraints. Even the best behaved small children lose their discipline when overcome by a sense of wonder when they see something fascinating. Venues that allow small children are responsible for ensuring that they are kept from dangerous things.

“Would #JusticeforHarambe prefer the boy were killed?”

I believe the answer is yes.


    Gremlin1974 in reply to mailman. | May 31, 2016 at 2:34 am

    I like to offer those idiots a chance to go into a encloser where they are just sure the boy was in no danger, funny how they never seem willing to do it themselves.

When my sister’s dog was a pup, she would leave him in a cage for the day. She said she wanted to rename him Houdini because he was so good at escaping the cage. 4 year old children are much smarter then pups.

That means that occasionally children are going to get around barriers. Especially when thousands of children pass through every day.

The alternate is to go back to the glass wall zoos.

    healthguyfsu in reply to RodFC. | May 30, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    You definitely don’t understand animal psychology if you think this. While dogs do peak in their intelligence below adult humans, their learning curve is much steeper than ours.

    I’m not saying that the kid is incapable of figuring a way in on purpose, but your premise that the 4 year old is smarter than the dog is completely false.

      Vancomycin in reply to healthguyfsu. | May 31, 2016 at 8:28 am

      Dogs, in general, peak in intelligence at around the same as a TWO year old.

      A 4 year old is far smarter.

        healthguyfsu in reply to Vancomycin. | May 31, 2016 at 3:16 pm

        Deeply flawed statistic based on human metrics of intelligence. A 6 month old pup is smart enough to avoid a giant gorilla and entering his territory. This would be based on an enhanced olfactory and auditory-based intelligence from the canine that is lacking in the typical human infant (and adult for that matter).

        Humans must instead learn from verbal cues (parents) and written cues (warning signs) or learning about the misfortune of others to understand the dangers involved…failing that, they need to try and fail and hopefully survive the mistake to learn the potential consequences. As I said, we have a much slower learning curve.

The boy is a human being with his whole life ahead of him. Anybody that thinks that the security personnel didn’t make the right choice needs to have their own humanity questioned.

As to how the situation occurred, sure, it would be great to ave someone to blame I suppose. But honestly there’s a hundred ways a child can end up in an emergency room and falling into a gorilla cage probably isn’t in the top 10 or even the top 10,000. Parents do the best they can, the zoo’s enclosure likely withstood decades of other four year olds, etc. It’s sad that it ended the way it did, but it could have been far worse.

    healthguyfsu in reply to tyates. | May 30, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Of course, they made the right choice. The problem is the choice should have never had to be made. A well-reared 4 year old child with an attentive parent knows better than to even attempt this.

      mailman in reply to healthguyfsu. | May 31, 2016 at 6:42 am

      How do you know the parents aren’t attentive? You don’t and all you are doing is judging them thanks to the power of the intraweb.

      The ONLY parents who could have protected their children from things like this are the parents who NEVER take their children out (I believe we call those people children abusers).

      You and every other fool on the intraweb are exactly that…fools full if self righteous pompousness.


        healthguyfsu in reply to mailman. | May 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm

        Mailman, it’s an assumption either way. You can’t accuse me of one and not admit the assumption in your position.

        “Witnesses claim that they heard the child state that he wished to go into the enclosure and was actively trying to breach the barriers.

        “This should have prompted the parents to immediately remove the child from the vicinity. It is believed that the situation was caused by parental negligence and the zoo is not responsible for the child’s injuries and possible trauma.”

      tyates in reply to healthguyfsu. | May 31, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      I’m going to give the parent(s) the benefit of the doubt – unlike most of the other 3 billion people on the Internet apparently – and assume it was a single moment of inattention unless the facts show otherwise. I have no doubt everyone involved feels awful about the situation and thinking through what they could have done to prevent it.

There was a similar incident in Dallas some years ago. They tranquilized the gorilla but, as it took effect, he became agitated and nearly chewed the kid’s head off.

After that, most zoos changed their policy on it. Tranquilizer darts do NOT work instantly.

    Valerie in reply to Estragon. | May 30, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Ah. This is the explanation that gives force to the decision to kill the animal.

    Dathurtz in reply to Estragon. | May 30, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    That incident wasn’t very similar except that it involved a human and a gorilla. The Dallas gorilla had escaped and was in the middle of a rampage and, if the news reports are right, was never tranquilized because the zoo workers never got a clear shot. The Cincinnati gorilla was acting quite protective of the boy as evidenced by the boy being literally at arms length from the gorilla for over 10 minutes.

    The argument that “Oh, they don’t just drop instantly when you tranq them” is kinda odd seeing as the exact same argument can be made about a rifle shot. If you are worried that the pain of a dart will enrage the gorilla and make him lash out at the boy, then you should have even more fear a bullet will make it do the same.

    I’m irritated that shooting the gorilla become a reasonable position because of the irresponsibility of the parent. Yes, things happen quickly. If your son does exactly what he told you he was about to do and bad things happen, then you are responsible for those bad things. It isn’t an accident at that point.

      Paul in reply to Dathurtz. | May 30, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      15 yard shot, .308 hollow point to the head? Yeah, that silver back dropped like a sack of bricks.

        Dathurtz in reply to Paul. | May 31, 2016 at 7:06 am

        And aren’t you glad that the gorilla didn’t drop right on top of the boy? The responders reported the boy was between the gorilla’s legs at the time of the shot.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Dathurtz. | May 31, 2016 at 2:42 am

      You consider the gorilla dragging the child face down through the moat by the leg being “quite protective”?

      According to the team that shot the gorilla, which by the way included people that had worked with this gorilla for years, he was also tossing the kid around.

      Here is the long and the short of it. You are talking about an animal that is between 2 and 10 times stronger than the strongest man every recorded. Even if he was just treating the kid like he would any gorilla infant and human baby doesn’t have the resilience, strength, and reflexes to hold up to that kind of treatment.

      Tranquilizing the gorilla was off of the table because he kept a hand on the child throughout the incident and being hit with a dart could have caused the gorilla to become more agitated. Also as the tranquilizer took effect the gorilla might forget what he has in his hand and thump it against the ground.

      I have seen morons calling for the worker who shot the gorilla to be hanged for gods sake. Frankly I don’t care if we wipe out the rest of them to save one human life, it would be worth it.

        Dathurtz in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 31, 2016 at 7:19 am

        Yes. Quite protective. Can you show a single instance where a child fell into a gorilla enclosure and was harmed by a gorilla? Can you show a single instance where a child fell into a gorilla enclosure and wasn’t cared for by a gorilla? I do think that shooting the gorilla was dangerous, far more dangerous than simply waiting and attempting what zoos normally do when a gorilla has something the zoo doesn’t want it to have. Shooting is, however, far less likely to result in a lawsuit.

        The humans calling for the zoo team to be hanged (or punished in any way) are insane and/or evil. I do think they made the wrong decision, but their decision wasn’t unreasonable. The cynical side of me thinks the decision to shoot was based, not on what was safest and best, but on what was least likely to end in a huge lawsuit if their plan went south.

          Vancomycin in reply to Dathurtz. | May 31, 2016 at 8:26 am

          This was a *4 year old child*. The gorilla had been dragging him by the foot through the moat and banging him into the ground. The onlookers *actually at the scene* said the gorilla was way rougher than the video is showing and was growing more agitated.

          If it were *my* kid that fell in there, I’d have been begging the zookepers to do exactly what they did.

          A gorilla’s life isn’t worth as much as a human’s. It’s not even close.

          Dathurtz in reply to Dathurtz. | May 31, 2016 at 10:43 am

          So, the answer is “no” to my questions. The onlookers have said a number of contradictory things. You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t believe the gorilla was banging him into the ground considering one bang would kill the kid and the kid was virtually unharmed. My objection isn’t that the gorilla is worth more than the kid, or that the zoo shouldn’t have done what it thought was best. My main objection is to the false dichotomy of choosing which one lives. I think the risk to the child was so low (which is where my unanswered questions come into play), that both should have survived if people had been wiser.

          “Can you show a single instance where a child fell into a gorilla enclosure and wasn’t cared for by a gorilla?”

          Well if you scroll up there’s an entire article written about it.

          Then there’s this video of the gorilla literally dragging the boy through the water by the leg.

          Doesn’t look very caring to me.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Dathurtz. | May 31, 2016 at 3:14 pm

          Can I point one out, why yes I can, this one. I have seen all of the footage and the Gorilla seems more curious than protective. Also, in almost every other incident when a child has fallen into a gorilla enclosure the minute they start to scream the gorilla’s back off as the famous gorilla Jambo did in 1986. This gorilla was dragging the child face down through the moat and according to more than one report he was tossing the child. I don’t think the gorilla was being malicious or evil, I think he as being a confused and agitated gorilla.

          As far as the decision to shoot, well it is easy to be a sanctimonious ass on the internet with the benefit of hindsight and time to evaluate the situation. I never knew we had so many primatologist in the world. As for me I will stand behind the experts who had worked with this animal for years, who had to make a terrible decision on the spot to shoot the animal they cared for and save the life of a boy.

      Twanger in reply to Dathurtz. | May 31, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Dathurtz – You are correct in that if you shot a silverback gorilla in the heart/lung area he’d probably live for 20-60 seconds or more. Plenty of time to do a lot of damage. However, if you shot him in the head it would be lights out immediately. This would be the only reasonable shot in this situation.

        Dathurtz in reply to Twanger. | May 31, 2016 at 10:44 am

        I agree. If the reports are correct, then the gorilla was standing over the boy. I’d be more scared of the gorilla falling dead on the kid than the gorilla hurting him.

I don’t understand why bleeding hearts can’t seem to understand that no animal care organization, no zoo will ever put a human life over an animal. It just will never happen. And that’s the way it should be. Until the day I see apes performing open-heart surgery, piloting Airbus 380s, or serving as a justice or an attorney, I will never see them equal to humans. Now with that said, I love animals. I have bred tropical fish, have been into herpetology, taught science in public school systems but still put human life above that of an ape or any other wild vertebrate.

I don’t like zoo’s so I usually avoid them. The few I have been to put me off. Zoo’s are for people, the animals in them exist in an unnatural setting for them. The people that go to them are a usual cross section of people which will contain a certain number of idiots.
You don’t scream & carry on to impress those around you how upset you are.
A 4 year old finds ways to get into crap like this.
Let the people who know what they’re doing do their jobs. They neither need nor want your help.
Quietly get back so you’re not a distraction to the animal that may increase it’s potential to do something unpredictable. You don’t become a further problem for the attendants.
Don’t blame the parents, Zoos are a family attraction.
The last Zoo I was in was the Phoenix zoo 10 years ago. The idiot people were more of a circus than the animals. I felt empathy for the animals. Nothing about where they were was natural. Their lives were not their own. They were in a prison of our design for our purposes.
The worst people are those who use a situation like this for their own political purposes.
We are all animals in a zoo. Most of us are to stupid to realize it.
I don’t like zoo’s.

    Valerie in reply to secondwind. | May 30, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Come to San Diego, and visit Safari Park near sunset. It’s different.

    Sanddog in reply to secondwind. | May 30, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    I do blame the parents. The health and safety of their child is their primary responsibility in life. If you’re in public, in a crowded and potentially dangerous area with your four year old and you don’t have physical contact with them, you’d better be watching them like a hawk every second. No excuses, no blaming the zoo… watch your damned kids, they’re your responsibility.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to secondwind. | May 31, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    I don’t like “cage zoo’s” either. Which is what we have here. I much prefer the open variety.

I note an implicit assumption here; that there was some sort of either-or choice involved—the human or the gorilla had to die.

But gorillas are not notorious killers of humans. It wasn’t the tiger or crocodile cages the kid was in, or even the hyena or dingo cages. To a gorilla, a human isn’t food. A juvenile human isn’t a threat (and, perhaps surprisingly, the larger mammals know what a baby of any species is, and behave differently around it). To a gorilla, a child in his enclosure is … something interesting, a change in a stupefyingly dull routine. The chance that Harambe would injure the child in any way is small.

How small? Well, that’s the question. The zoo shot him on the small chance that he intended harm. And there are other factors, unknown to us peasants. This particular gorilla may have a known history of violence; a “bad attitude”. Or he may be insane; most mammals confined in cages eventually go mad, though we usually don’t recognize it. And of course a noisy crowd, all screaming helpfully, will complicate things.

To realize that the child was probably in no dire danger is not equivalent to subscribing to the foolish “nature as petting zoo” belief. I’ve actually heard visitors at a small zoo squeak inanities like “I wish I could pet him!” while looking at a very mad leopard cooped up in a very small cage. Personally, I’d rather pet a chain saw than a leopard, mad or not. A leopard isn’t just a big kitty. And a gorilla is not just a big monkey or a hairy human. But a gorilla isn’t a chain saw, either.

The enclosures are meant to keep the animals from wandering off and to protect the humans. They are also to protect the animals. There was a notorious case a half-century ago at (I think) the Philadelphia zoo, when a magnificent old walrus choked to death on a rubber ball some fool (maybe another four-your-old) had thrown into his enclosure. And another absurd case was a polar bear shot after tearing a man’s arm off. The man was a drunk who had broken into the zoo at night and was taunting the bear, sticking his arm into the cage. (In that case killing the bear made no sense at all, as it didn’t save the idiot’s arm, and there was no danger that afterwards a wild bear with a taste for human arms would be wandering the countryside.) A certain percentage of people who go to zoos are not good for animals, and the inmates need protection.

    Sanddog in reply to tom swift. | May 30, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    The decision to kill the Gorilla was the right one. With the shrieking mother and screaming crowd, the gorilla could have easily killed that child, not even intentionally but by rough handling in an agitated state. If it were an adult who deliberately entered the enclosure, I’d say try the tranquilizer first but not when a child’s life is at stake.

    Regardless of if the Gorilla ~meant~ harm to the child, harm could have COME to the child merely by an action of the Gorilla.

    My wife used to give a great demonstration: She was the Supervisor of the Africa Division of the El Paso Zoo, and the primary lion trainer. She would regularly be asked if she “went in” with the lions. Her answer was “absolutely not, because even though the lions had been hand-raised and were used to humans, they might want to ~play~ with her.”

    She would then pull out the remnants of a flattened and destroyed 5 gallon plastic bucket to show off. “They destroyed this in under 2 minutes, they have 500 pounds per square inch of paw strength and 2,000 pounds per square inch of bite strength.” A, they might want to play with me, and their ~playing~ would kill me, and B, they eat meat, and I’m made of meat. All they have to do is realize they’re hungry and that I’m a tasty snack, and I’m dead.”

    An animal is an animal, and by nature, they are somewhat unpredictable. Additionally, the simple power differential by a gorilla wanting to “play” would turn a small child into goo with one hard hit.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Chuck Skinner. | May 31, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Exactly, even if the gorilla has treated the child just like he would a gorilla infant he could have done major damage to the child. Gorilla babies are stronger, tougher, and have better reflexes than human kids do. They are made to take the “playful” treatment of a male gorilla, a human child isn’t.

    Watch the video, especially the times the gorilla runs through the moat dragging the child at high speed. That was enough speed and power that if the child had hit an obstacle (like a rock, or a curb, or anything) while being dragged, it could have easily resulted in his skull being crushed or his arm ripped off.

    “Intent” to harm has nothing to do with the danger the child was in as long as he was the gorilla’s playmate.

Drudge has this up as its main story with the headline “Murdered Gorilla Seen “Protecting” Child.” No. Killing an animal is not murder.

    Anonamom in reply to windbag. | May 31, 2016 at 9:47 am

    That makes me nuts, too. No. Only a human can be murdered.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to windbag. | May 31, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Matt has obviously had some kind go mental breakdown if you look at what has gone on with Drudge in the past few months so I am not surprised.

    Sally MJ in reply to windbag. | May 31, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Drudge is making a satirical point – based on the comments from the Left – I’m surprised you didn’t catch that.

    It may have been clearer if he had put quotes around “Murdered.”

People who say that the parents should keep their eyes on the child have nevr read Silas Marner.

Let me preface this with a bit of background:

Up until May 2, 2016, my wife was the Supervisor of the Africa Division of the El Paso Zoo. I was there regularly, and I was well enough known to the staff that I effectively had free run of the zoo and the ability to go “back-stage” whenever I wanted, and on more than one occasion consulted on building and enclosure design.

The question of “HOW” a child could enter an exhibit is an easy one to answer. The Exhibits are designed to KEEP ANIMALS IN, while maximizing viewing by the public. The designers usually expect people to have the minimal common sense that the public shouldn’t climb in, because the animals will EAT YOU.

The “design” of an enclosure is usually by an architect who has no particular background in public safety OR animal welfare, and is usually built by the “lowest bidder” that even if they did it competently, likely attempted to shave a cost somewhere.

The point is that design flaws happen, and often designs are not followed well by the Construction personnel because they often disagree with the architect, or the architectural plans are impossible because two overlays occupy the same physical space. That’s why you have Blueprints, and then you have “As Built” prints with the noted changes implemented by the Builders (for whatever reason).

Further, over time, items break, construction shifts and or flaws become obvious, which lead to safety issues.

Did the “weapons team” at this zoo make the correct call? Absolutely. All that Gorilla had to do was reach out his hand and that child would have been paste.

Do the parents bear responsibility? Oh yes. The parents ought to get a big, fat bill for the cost of obtaining another (very rare) Gorilla (and likely that bill will come from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, where the Gorilla was born and raised). I’d love to see the look on the Parent’s face when they get a bill from TEXAS for the death of the Gorilla, as the Gorilla was likely still “property” of the Gladys Porter Zoo.

Long and short of this is that the parents WERE negligent, that negligence had the foreseeable outcome of the child entering the exhibit, and that entering had the foreseeable outcome of the Gorilla needing to be killed to protect human life (which is ALWAYS the priority). The final calculus will be “what is the value of a 17-year-old Silver-Back Gorilla?”

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Chuck Skinner. | May 31, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    It’s been reported that the boy was overheard repeatedly telling his mother he wanted to get in with the gorillas.

    Some of us might consider that fair warning from a 4 yr. old that he was going in if not watched, stopped, handled, and “spoken to”.

Talk about a no-win situation. If the zoo personnel had not done what they did, there would have been an outcry that they were racists who didn’t do enough to protect the child. I agree with the zoo official who chided all of the Monday morning quarterbacks. Suddenly, everyone with a keyboard is an expert on primate behavior? Gimme a break. The people who were responsible for the safety of that child made the decision they needed to make. End of story.

Sneaky Pete | May 31, 2016 at 7:47 am

And now there is a petition demanding an investigation into the child’s home environment.

How about a petition to compel everyone to MIND THEIR OWN @#$%^ BUSINESS?

buckeyeminuteman | May 31, 2016 at 8:08 am

Maybe society shouldn’t be so quick to judge parents who put their kids on a monkey backpack-leash. Keeping track of children is the parents responsibility. If they feel the best way for them to do that is put on the leash, then I’m glad they’re watching their kids.

Little Isaiah Gregg > Harambe. This was a tragedy, it was also a no-brainer.

Black Gorrilla Lives Matters !

It’s all Donald Trump’s fault !!

Worth emphasizing that in such situations if all you can do is scream like a pansy you should stfu and leave. If unable beat yourself unconscious…quickly.

    nordic_prince in reply to tmiker. | May 31, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Says the Monday morning quarterback. I’m sure you would have reacted perfectly – NOT. It’s real easy to pontificate on how someone else did something wrong and how this or that should have been handled. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Fact of the matter is that unless you find yourself in that exact same situation, you have NO IDEA how you would react. You cannot guarantee that you would have acted any different.

    I’d like to think that I would not have panicked, that I would have reacted appropriately, rather than losing it or freezing on the spot. But I know that human behavior is unpredictable in tense situations like that, which is why professionals such as firemen, policemen, and other first responders train and drill extensively to overcome the natural instinct to panick and/or freeze up.

karl_lembke | May 31, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Would #JusticeforHarambe prefer the boy were killed?

Do you really have to ask?

OK Nordic, what danger were the screaming pansies in? All they did was aggravate the situation. They should have been forced to leave if they didn’t self vacate.

Only vegetarians have the right to criticize the zoo’s decision.

Meat eating critics are hypocrites.

Yes, the Left wishes the child had been shot instead.
Alternately, left in the cage with the 400 lb gorilla until the Australian professor had decided the child would have been FINE.

“Would #JusticeforHarambe prefer the boy were killed?” To ask the question is to answer it…in the affirmative.

And as many of the SJW/vegan/progressive idiots have responded in this forum, the answer is also obvious: These type of people hate humanity — especially successful humans.