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Justice For the Gorilla, Never Mind the Humans


Justice For the Gorilla, Never Mind the Humans

We mourn the death last weekend of Harambe, the Western lowland gorilla shot while entertaining and/or threatening a toddler who fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. But because we mourn many other deaths - all the innocent black boys, the Gazans and Iraqis and refugees and that baby - we say to the racist, sanctimonious, Facebook-posting, mom-shaming mob that is the Internet: Get a grip, and some perspective.


Thank you Abby. What the hell is happening to humanity? Is it the internet? Some as yet unknown aggression-inducing chemical in the earths environment? A reaction to a global collective sense of impending planetary doom? What?


For God's sake, why does, I assume, an educated person, continue the same old tired old "humans vs. animals" argument? My priorities lie with nonhuman animals, and I make no apologies for it. The human species has done more harm to planet Earth than any other species (look at the majority of your articles,and you will see this is true).


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No surprise that the ones who value nonhuman animals more than human animals are white racists, yet again. While it is tragic that the gorilla was killed, white people's valuing of nonhuman life over human life needs to be looked at. One has to wonder if the white response would be the same were it a blond little white girl at risk instead of a Black child. Furthermore, it is white people and the societies they have forced upon the rest of the world that result in most of the damage to nonhuman life, as well as to human life, most of it nonwhite, yet white people are eternally evasive about this, constantly focusing on past faunal extinctions in the Americas and Poynesia rather than on the much worse past faunal extinctions of Europe. This whole gorilla episode and the white response to it brings to mind whites' response to Hurricane Katrina. Whites were sending tons of money for pet rescue in New Orleans while consigning its Black residents to death with comments like, "They shouldn't have been living there anyway" and "We couldn't change New Orleans demographics but God did," not to mention white vigilantes rushing in to help white New Orleans police murder Blacks. Again, it is tragic that the gorilla was shot. That should not have happened, but the white human response is, once again, bestial.


The mother of the child should have been tranquillized for not attending to her child. But no, a beautiful nearly extinct being has to be murdered, because of this woman's incompetence.


Hello, Ms. Zimet, and thanks for your article. Musing upon the reactions to the one event of the child and the gorilla, and the non-reactions to the others which you noted, one may attribute a certain moral poignancy to the observation that human beings are descended from animals. One wishes that the trajectory had been the reverse.

(Please note, the above represents my edit of an earlier version of the post, which edit I made in order to avoid the sort of confusion found in 4thefuture´s response to the first version. It had been perhaps too open to misconstrual. For the record, here is the original version:)

"Hello, Ms. Zimet, and thanks for your article. Musing upon the reactions you note there, one appreciates again and with newfound poignancy the observation that human beings are descended from animals. One wishes it had been the other way around.


You mean you think animals would be better off if they had inherited the attributes of humanity? The humanity that is going full speed ahead at destroying the biosphere on this planet? Better had we not fled so precipitously from our better natures, including from much of the patience and nurturing from our animal side.


Reading the article and comments, I was surprised to learn that the child was black and that some think one's outrage, at the result for the gorilla, had something to do with the race of the child. I didn't know and did, indeed, assume it was a white child, given the media's focus on all things white, but my reaction is still the same. The zoo is at fault for probably even having such an animal in an enclosure at all, certainly for having one that allowed a child to get inside. The parents of children who don't understand that child rearing is a 24/7 kind of job do have to accept their share of the blame, and the decision by the management to kill the gorilla. How could someone decide that it was safer to kill it than to tranquilize it? This claim seems a bit after the fact self-serving. More likely they panicked and their priorities came to the fore.
What are the principles of a zoo that doesn't prioritize safety for both their captives and the visitors? Why are zoos still considered acceptable? Do we really need zoos in order to teach children not to wipe off all the wild animals from the planet?


Noooo. I meant the other, other way around, as in ascending rather than descending, as in the opposite trajectory would have been the better. Also, the newfound poignancy had to do with observable moral descent rather than biological descent. And finally, the entire sentence of mine, from which you quoted but a piece reads thus: " Musing upon the reactions you [Ms. Zimet] note there, one appreciates again and with newfound poignancy the observation that human beings are descended from animals." One can appreciate an observation without agreeing with it. Obviously the commonplace concerning human "evolution" does not originate with me: I used it merely to provide a context setting up the irony of my final remark. In any case, thanks, Joy, for your comment. I edited mine.


"Weep for Harambe if you wish, but for the love of God, weep for the children too."

I hear this argument fairly often i.e. if you are really going to value non human life so much (which is slightly bizarre and inappropriate) please save yourself by showing the same or more caring for humans.

The thing is, many of us care about both and because there is an outcry over a non human animal's sad and sorry demise does not lessen in any way that other caring. Both happen, just like shit happens which is what this horrible incident, of which many like it seem to happen much too often these days, is.

Zoos are disgusting affairs and if you must go and to one with questionable safety issues, keep a VERY close eye on your kids.


Please. Go to any public venue; grocery store, mall, playground, etc. and tell me how many parents keep their children under control and in sight for every second they are together. You might as well tie a rope around the kids' necks and tie the other end to a pole. The mother lost sight of her child for an instant. Her child could have been killed because of a brief moment of inattention, she feels bad enough for that. This has happened to every parent everywhere. She doesn't need your internet high and mighty hindsight to tell her how bad she feels.


I´m trying to get a handle on the consternation surrounding the death of Harambe. The existence of a site referred to in Ms. Zimet´s article, Prayers for Harambe, for example, raises certain edifying questions. I mean, you know, it´s like . . . I sincerely wonder for what reasons one might pray for a dead gorilla.

To clarify a bit what I´m driving at, I recall that, whether practiced much or not, Catholics and some others pray for people who have died, believing that such prayers may shorten a soul´s purgatorial sojourn and speed it on its way to the bosom of Abraham, or to heaven, or to the beatific vision, as the hoped-for destination is variously termed. But I don´t think that traditional Catholics are going to be much help here. So, I´m hoping perhaps some of the folks at Prayers for Harambe or anyone reading this post could enlighten us as to the following questions, or any others that come to mind, related to why we should pray for dead gorillas.

To jump-start such devout meditations, I now offer some selected examples: Is there a purgatory for gorillas, or would they go to the same one (if there be such a place) as human beings? Are gorillas liable before the High and Almighty Judge for committing the same sins as human beings? (If not, then no wonder they are so admired, if not envied, by certain human types.) Are gorillas expected to observe prohibitions against sexual and domestic violence, for example? Or maybe, just because they are not human, they simply go directly to the “bosom of Abraham” without passing “Go!” and with no need to collect a 200 years´ indulgence.

Which raises another question: is there a “bosom of Abraham” for gorillas? Or has Abraham grown a really huge bosom and very powerful arms? Or just “heaven” for gorillas? Or will they share the same one with humans, you know, with all one´s favorite cartoon characters (like some who are even now running for public office) and magnificent golf courses for the 99% too? And in that case will they be suddenly infused with the knowledge and capacity for playing and understanding the sport in a way that´s just right for them? And will they sing all God´s favorite music while flawlessly playing golden harps? Or will they simply get to be reborn next time as human beings and return to this near hell-planet which, as we can see by now, has been almost destroyed by human beings, merely to end up asking stupid questions inspired by stupid websites such as the one referred to above?


Yeah, that's it. It's GOTTA be the cause. Why? Because I want it to be the cause.

Can you provide me with evidence of these "rising levels or radiation"?




So you were there and saw everything as it unfolded? Or are you channeling a disembodied spirit who was? Perhaps your Ouija board told you? How do you know this to be the case? I was two feet away from my 2 year old when she fell face first through a French door and slit open the corners of her mouth on the broken glass. I was looking right at her. She had walked past those doors hundreds of times without incident. There was nothing I could do to stop it. It was totally unexpected. Should I have been shot with a tranquilizer, rendering me unable to help my child? Long on advice, short on empathy and brains. Typical amerikan. Look to the beam in your own eye.


The child TOLD the mother in ADVANCE that he wanted to go into the enclosure with the gorilla. At that point she should have taken the hand of the child and not let go until they left the area.
I am angry that it's always about humans first and nature and all of her beautiful animals and plants second and these animals and plants having to suffer the consequences of arrogant humans.
I will not apologize for my harsh verbal treatment of the mother or the zoo keepers. My post stands as is.


I dislike your dislike.


I guess the problem is that there are so many humans and so few gorillas left in the world that people just don't care as much about humans.

If it can stop a charging grizzly in its tracks, non-lethal bear spray could have stopped Harambe. Or maybe a stun gun could have been used.... Zookeepers should carry those effective non-lethal weapons at all times. A bullet can wound an animal and make it more dangerous.


I 'like' articles, not necessarily because I agree with them but, because they are interesting and bring up topics worth thinking about. I thought that's what it meant but now you have me wondering if it is supposed to indicate being of a 'like' mind with the author on a particular issue, in which case I'll have to decide if I agree that there's only one reason for a 'like.' Thanks for bringing this up. I'll give you a like too. Even though I don't really agree with you, you have given me something to consider.