It seems that All Lives Matters only care about Black and African Lives When those lives are Black Gorillas or African Lions.
In Cincinnati Zoo, USA, a 400-pound silverback Gorilla was shot and killed to protect a 4-year-old boy, who had managed to fall into the gorilla enclosure. Whether the Gorilla should have been shot or tranquilized has become hot debate.
However, it seems each week there is a new story of American police shooting an unarmed Black person. Yet, outside of the Black community their deaths barely get noticed, coverage and they receive little to no empathy from the so-called ‘all lives matters’ brigade.
Maybe if Black people dressed up as Gorilla’s and Lions people might start discussing their unnecessary deaths with such passion, empathy and ‘knowledge’.
In this Zoo instance, the question becomes, when did everyone become a qualified zookeepers or Gorilla behavior experts? It seems strange that these same people rarely speak out about human lives; especially unarmed Black lives shot by the police.
Ironically Harambe means pull together with unity in Swahili; yet there is more unity being shown in a Gorilla’s death than for #BlackLivesMatter
The Scene & Facts
Zoo director Thane Maynard said that a 4-year-old boy crawled through the railing and fell into the moat just before 4 p.m. Saturday. A Cincinnati fire department incident report says that the gorilla “was violently dragging and throwing the child” when they were called.’
Between social media and The Daily Mail people think the Gorilla simply held the boys hand for 10 minutes. The extended footage shows the boy being dragged around like a rag doll. The child’s mother has subsequently said her son received bruising and concussion.
The Zoo director has said tranquilizing wasn’t an option because the Gorilla’s instant reaction to being hit by the tranquilizer could have put the child’s life in danger. A decision other zookeepers have cosigned.
“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.”
Lets not forget that the zookeepers are highly trained and skilled in knowing primate behaviour and most poignantly animal lovers at heart.
Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that if a non-lethal solution was available to them, I am sure they would have gladly taken it. A person need only imagine the terrible scenario where the tranquilizers did not work and the child is killed. People’s complaints would have been why did the zookeepers choose the Gorilla’s wellbeing over a child’s safety and life.
With that said, it has to be said that any death is saddening.
However, this wasn’t the Gorilla’s from The Legend of Tarzan or a singing primate from The Jungle Book. This was a real 400 pound silver back gorilla. What may have looked like a friendly interaction between a child and a Gorilla could have turned deadly at any moment.
Lets say a Gorilla escaped one day, I am sure most people commenting aren’t going to go hold hands with it and walk it back to the zoo hand in hand. What happened is saddening but it would have been sadder if that child had died in the zoo that day. As a spokesperson for the zoo said:
“It’s a sad day all around,” Maynard said. “They made a tough choice and they made the right choice, because they saved that little boy’s life. It could have been very bad.”
Blame The Parents?
As per usual, social media’s blame culture was quick to pass judgment on the parents of this little boy. The mother of the child has taken most of the blame. However, The Daily Mail saw fit to publish the father’s previous criminal record. What was their motivation for doing this?
Are they trying to say that a child whose father has a criminal record shouldn’t be saved from potential danger? Is that how we determine a child’s worth by their parents past.
Moreover, 250,000 people have signed a petition against the mother. The petition, “Justice For Harambe”, calls for a police investigation into family “negligence”. Along with the parents receiving racist messages and death threats.
Does this mean each time a child goes missing in a public place the parents should be arrested? If that is now the precedent then many parents are going to find themselves with unnecessary and unfair criminal records.
Where was this petition when Madeline McCann’s parents left their children unaccompanied on purpose in a foreign country?
A person can look at the differing reaction to the two sets of parents making a mistake from a race perspective or even from a social class perspective. Two doctors leave their children alone vs Mother and a Father with previous criminal records; that’s how the media has framed it. Despite the father’s last conviction occurring 10 years ago. Don’t all parents have the potential to make mistakes; regardless of their social status or race?
As a mother on my Facebook eloquently wrote small children can be like little magicians. They will manage to break free or through restrains and magical get into places they shouldn’t.
To judge this mother without looking at yourself is just hypocritical. Most parents are able to recall a time when their child simply disappeared for a few seconds. A person without children should be able to remember a time when they have heard a PA announcement about a missing child at a public venue. Yet, why are we so quick to blame these parents, as if the boy’s mother planned for her child to be in such danger.
Blame The Zoo then?
Next up, they blamed the zoo. It can be argued, that in a public place like a Zoo the barriers around the animals (especially dangerous endangered ones like gorillas) should be adequately manned and childproof.
Actually, not just childproof; but ‘manproof’.
As demonstrated by the man who tried to commit suicide in the Lions pen and ended up getting mauled and the lions were subsequently shot and killed.
However, this is an example of how it is very hard to make an enclosure that is supposed to be viewed and enjoyed by the public, both foolproof and 100% impenetrable.
A child may get into an area by luck or an adult may get in the area on purpose through determination.
The blame lies at our own feet
Personally I see zoos as no more than animal prisons. However, that is too simple and emotional a critique. We must acknowledge that Zoos play an important role in protecting many endangered animals from the same specifies that flock to see them; Humans-ie us!
Sorry to say, but the blame really resides at ourselves. We are the ones who allow people to hunt for sport. We are the ones whom have ruined or claimed many of the animal’s natural habitants for our own farming or housing.
A person need only look at how many people on their Facebook have a picture with a drugged up Tiger, riding an abused Elephant or bet on horses at the Grand National. Moreover, we need only look back at the death of the Dolphins on the coast of Argentina due to people taking countless selfies with it. We are the ones who love the novelty of being around or seeing animals; regardless of their health, wellbeing or our own personal safety.
For Zoos to stay open they need the public’s support. For the pubic to support them it seems we need to be entertained at a closer and closer proximity.
Zoos have to enticed crowds to come to see the animals in order to fund the animal’s up keep. Therefore, the zookeepers must manage and secure the public’s expectations of feeling that personal ‘selfie’ type connection with the animals. They also have to contend with protecting the animals from human’s who would hunt them and protect humans from the animals whom they want to adore whilst forgetting they are wild and dangerous.
Therefore, a 100% secure zoo would be an empty zoo. Throughout human society there are examples of us choosing temporary moments of joy and sometimes narcissism over security and safety.
Each time an unarmed Black person is shot there is a wave of excuses about them being dangerous, resisting arrest or generally being the cause of their own murder. Even when there is video evidence that contradicts that narrative people are either silent or apathetic.
Yet when an animal dies suddenly ‘all lives matter’. Suddenly, it is easier to find a peaceful solution to a wild animal holding a child captive than an unarmed human interacting with another human.
The zoo took 10minutes before it choose to put the Gorilla down with a lethal shot. However, the police that shot Tamir Rice took less than 10 seconds to shoot and kill a child with a toy gun. All lives matter weren’t so vocal in their outrage then.
The point isn’t not to have an opinion on an animal’s death. The point is why do some people only speak out about death when it is a creature they have seen on a documentary or Disney movie; yet they remain silent on the deaths of their fellow humans.
It feels like some people feel like an unarmed Black person is more dangerous than a 400 pound silverback gorilla. It is as if far too many people think a Black person is some kind of wild animal that can’t be reasoned with.
1 minute of discussion would have saved Tamir Rice’s life. Trayvon Martin would still be alive if George Zimmerman didn’t stereotype him as a threat. Walter Scott would have been alive if the policeman hadn’t shot him in the back like he was a lion on a hunting range. If Walter Scott had been a Lion I am sure All lives matters might have had more to say about his murder.
The issue here is and isn’t about race. All races of people have been saddening by the death of this gorilla. Just as all races of people should be sadden when an unarmed person is killed or when they see an abuse of power. However, that isn’t the case.
If everyone supported Black lives matters campaigners and activism for changes in police training, prosecution and accountability; then all lives really would matter to all people. Why? A fair, accountable and ‘good’ police force helps everyone; remember White people get unnecessarily killed by the police as well.
Therefore, the right change will only occur from people pull together and seek equality as one people. Example, when Black Lives Matter’s protests forced the American government to introduce and fund body camera’s it benefitted all people who interact with the police not just Black people.
In short, if #BlackLivesMatters can either get better training for all police officers, more accountability or simply get ‘bad’ police officers fired everyone is safer. For instance, If a ‘bad’ police officer interacts with the ‘wrong’ white person their lives won’t matter either. So, if Black people can have safer interactions with the police then all people can have safer interactions with the police.
The problem is some people feel more empathy towards animals than they do their fellow man.
To me that is an issue. My Facebook has stories about people from all demographics. We shouldn’t just care about the issues that affect people that look like us.
It is commendable the people have empathy for animals and are saddening by their death. But as the zookeepers in the video have said human life had to take precedent. Just as human life should be precedent in people’s mind when they ignore the fears and anger of black protesters.
FYI I haven’t even mentioned the countless refugees that have died this week, month and year.
Let me know your thoughts
Do you think it is unfair for us to compare the two reactions?
Do you think the Gorilla shouldn’t have been shot?
Do you think the parents should be prosecuted?
Please comment below and share; challenge someone to think a little deeper.