If you haven’t heard the news, A 17 year old western lowland gorilla – a critically endangered species – was shot and killed May 28, 2016 at the Cincinnati Zoo. Click here to read more if you haven’t hear about it here: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/28/us/zoo-kills-gorilla/
I am not a news girl, and rarely comment on topics that are in the media, HOWEVER, today, I am commenting. Not on the fact that the gorilla was killed. I don’t know all the circumstances and would not judge what the best response was, not knowing all of the details. It absolutely saddens my heart that this amazing animal has died, but I would not sit in judgement of if it was the “right” thing to do or not. I simply do not have enough information to make that call and would not begin to believe that I do.
YET, the conversation and anger that i saw just as i was reading the story on facebook, from i am sure well intentioned people, was what was shocking to me….
Not of the boy.. He is too young to know what consequences could be. Not of the gorilla, it was his home that was invaded and he was simply being in his own environment.
But, it was all of the blame of the zookeepers and the parents – again without knowing the full details or exact situation. The media shares what it wants to share my friends. You never really “know” unless you see it with your own eyes. Accidents happen! Even with the best safety precautions in force.. and we can learn from them.
What I read, that caused me to write this, was all of the assumption and judgment about the parents. Now, first, please hear me… I am not defending anyone. I have no idea who the parents are, what they did or didn’t do, and how this situation came to be.
However, I am a parent. Not a perfect one though…
Twenty two years ago I was a parent of a 4 year old boy that was out of control child at times.
A child that i loved dearly and did everything i could to keep him safe.
A child that i found on top of the refrigerator at 18 months old because he wanted a cookie.
A child that was impossible to keep still.
A child that got into some dangerous situations because if his impulsiveness.
A child that would run off almost every time we went somewhere to the point that I had to harness him (which brought lots of judgment)
A child that at 4 years old was more willful and stronger than i was, and could break out of my grip when he truly wanted to.
A child that did not have any fear.
A child that didn’t know the consequences of his actions
A child that was like a Houdini.
I remember how hard it was to watch him every minute. I would go in the bathroom and he would escape. I remember how much I struggled to keep him in line and safe… I remember how much i judged every single situation as a failure and how much I needed compassion and love..
There are various levels of responsibility.. with the parents and the zoo… absolutely. But to use profanity, say they/she should be hanged/murdered/tortured? Really?
So, when i hear everyone blaming… the parent(s), and again, I DO NOT know their story, but am offering a different perspective. It isn’t as easy as just saying.. those stupid parents. You don’t have to be a stupid parent to lose track of your child. Children come with their own mind and heart and soul… and journey. Parenting children is not easy. Period… and most of the time (yes, most of the time) parents are doing the best they can with what they have been taught. I know I did. Could i have done better…absolutely.. but I didn’t have the awareness or tools at the time. Isn’t that true of all of us in certain areas of life?
What if, this boy and this gorilla are bringing to light an important awareness for us all. The easy answer is to blame. Of course, but maybe we could go a little deeper. Look within a bit more instead of just projecting our anger, our frustrations onto others. Maybe we could find some compassion…
How many parents intentionally “lose” their kids and/or want to see them get injured? There may be some… but is that what this is really about? How many zookeepers want to shoot their beloved animals?
What I know for sure is that anger, projection, and frustration directed at the people involved won’t make anything better… because i believe, it isn’t about them.. they are simply shining a light on a greater issue. Our lack of love and compassion for others and for ourselves.
Love is the answer in my book.. always.. Love and compassion.
I think we all need a reminder. This is a tragedy, absolutely. My heart broke when i read what happened, and it broke into compassion..
- for the other gorillas that have lost one of their own
- for the zookeepers that had to make an instant decision with ramifications that far outweigh society’s judgment
- for the family of the boy and the experience they walked through witnessing what happened to their son and what they are likely walking through now facing so much judgment
- for the boy and all he went through, emotionally and physically
- for all of the witnesses and the experience of watching this tragedy unfold.
All tragedies, in our human experience and perspective are a way to our souls expansion… from a spiritual perspective.
Everything happens for a reason..and we don’t get to pick our everythings. As hard as that can be to trust, I truly believe that. A couple other things I know to be true, for me, even in my own time of sadness and tragedy:
- Love is always the answer
- Trust in the process of the Universe.
- Everything is always happening for your highest and greatest good
- There are No Mistakes
- The physical body leaves at divine time… always! (even animals)
- You can spend a lifetime to try to understand something that is not understandable from the human perspective. Trust the journey.. it is much less aggravating and detrimental to your mind, body and soul.
- Be compassionate – You never know the journey walked by others.
I honor you and your perspective… Agree or disagree – Lets just be compassionate. All my love Sunny Dawn Johnston♥ www.sunnydawnjohnston.com
PS: I am an animal lover, a vegetarian for that reason and I not a fan of zoo’s and keeping animals in captivity. However, the circumstances are as they are… and right now, there are zoo’s and millions of people go visit them.There are parents with children that get away sometimes. This is not about the zoo, the animals or even the parents. To me, this is about a tragic situation that happened. It cannot be reversed or I am sure everyone would wish that. So, what can we learn? Expand into? How can we as a society grow? For me, it is to be the change I wish to see.. and I wish more compassion for all of involved.. So that is what I offer. – SDJ
Please help me spread a different perspective. Just hit the buttons below to share this on your social media pages and spread a compassionate perspective. I’d also love to hear your comments. Please share below – SDJ