You know, the story of the 3-year-old boy at the Cincinnati Zoo who somehow got into the gorilla enclosure, and I don't really want to go into the rest of it because you all know the story anyway, and really, I can't stand thinking about it. And so I want the story to go away. I want the news cycle to cycle on past it, leave it behind. And yet that's not happening. The story just won't go away. This morning at 8 am when I turned on the local radio station the Gorilla Story was still at the top of the news. It was on page two of the Metro section of today's Columbus Dispatch.
And so once again, I had to watch this scene from a horror movie play out in my head, had to see in my technicolor imagination the whole awful thing, from the moment the little boy climbs under the enclosure to the moment the gorilla goes down. I want to stop watching this dreadful movie in my mind but I can't, because every time I hear or read about it in the news the movie reel starts rolling again behind my eyes. What makes it even worse is that sometimes the mother in the movie is me and sometimes the child who's being dragged around by the gorilla is my son when he was 3 years old. Sometimes it's one of my little granddaughters.
So to all you animal rights activists I say: back off from the mother. She's already suffering the torments of the damned and she'll be blaming herself long after you let up reminding her what a terrible mother she is. To the Cincinnati police who are considering criminal charges against the child's mother: close the case. It's not necessary. She'll be punishing herself for the rest of her life, believe me.
As for Harambe, the Gorilla. Yes it's sad that he had to be killed. Sad, too, I guess, that this behemoth who was created by God to roam the Western lowlands of Africa had to be bred and raised to live in a glorified cage in Cincinnati, Ohio to be stared at by people all day long. On the other hand, maybe Harambe's life was a happy enough one. Maybe even a happier one than he would have had in nature, who knows? And of course without zoos how would we humans have the opportunity to see and marvel at such natural wonders as gorillas?
But the fact, I think, that we sometimes lose sight of - in truth, one that's never occurred to me before this terrible gorilla story - is that zoos are in fact full of monsters. Every zoo is a mini-Jurassic Park but instead of dinosaurs there are lions, tigers, grizzly bears, gorillas, chimpanzees, alligators, crocodiles and other terrors of nature that could tear a person apart as easily as a velociraptor or a T-Rex.
And, as we unfortunately learned when a 3-year-old fell into the space of a 400-pound gorilla, Chaos Theory doesn't only play out in the movies.