Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why is everyone immediately blaming the child's mother?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42446points) May 30th, 2016

Re the kid who fell into the gorilla enclosure and they had to shot the gorilla to save the child’s life. I’ve read two memes that place the blame on the mother. One even labeled her as a “bitch.”

I’ve done some poking around, and at this point we don’t know anything more than the kid fell in. So why are we automatically blaming the mother?

It seems to me that men tend to lose track of their kids more than women do. I can’t count the times I’ve seen a father walking through a parking lot, or across the street, with a little one trailing behind and the father never even gives a glance back. From what I’ve seen, women are more likely to hold the child’s hand if possible, or at least keep them by their side.
My guess would be that the father, or some other male caregiver, was the one responsible.

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155 Answers

Seek's avatar

Oh, Dutchess…

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

Because people like to have opinions on things that they know nothing about. It also helps some people to assign blame. Otherwise, they feel nervous that they are living in a world of chaos.

@Dutchess_III: “My guess would be that the father, or some other male caregiver, was the one responsible.”

ucme's avatar

This fucking incessant man blaming culture does you absolutely no favours at all, change the record

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL @ucme!

My point is, if we MUST blame a parent, the father would be the more likely choice.

Better yet, why not just say “The caregiver fucked up?” Why do we need to assign a gender?

Zaku's avatar

I think people are uncomfortable with the situation and so the most common stress defense behaviors show up: projection, scapegoating, etc. Women are favorite targets of many in our culture, both by men and other women, but in this case she was the nearest person to what happened.

I didn’t even realize the father was present. I don’t see anyone blaming the father for not jumping in there to save his child… ;-P

Seek's avatar

This CNN article doesn’t mention a father present at all. It does mention that another patron overheard the child saying to the mother that he was going to go into the water.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

If the father had been there then the parents would be blamed, not just the mother.

Whenever something terrible happens to a child we most often hear “Where were the parents?”

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

There was a similar case in Brookfield IL 10 years ago where a brat climbed the fence and fell into the gorilla enclosure. A female gorilla named Binti Jua rescued him and took him to the door where keepers could retrieve the kid.

I was at the zoo the week before. I was at the Los Angeles zoo the day before a gorilla escaped and wandered around a cafeteria.

I miss all the good stuff.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Some folks linked other articles that indicated that it was only the mother there, and she had 4 kids. One of them was a baby in her arms.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay I remember that. Reading this article the gorilla appeared alternately protective and aggressive. I think Binti Jua was clearer in her intent not to hurt the boy. But I remember the video showing her dragging him along…but that’s how gorillas carry their young along.

jca's avatar

I linked on FB an article from the NY Times that does not mention the father being there at all. It did say the mom had three other kids, including a baby in her arms.

I think the mom is blamed because ultimately, she is responsible for her child. If my child ran out in front of a car, yes, kids do impulsive things sometimes or all the time, depending on the child, but ultimately the mom (or dad or caretaker) is responsible for the child.

When I read this question, I took it to mean why is the parent being blamed over the zoo, which I think I explained above.

As far as blaming the mom over blaming the dad, as I said in the TImes article it didn’t mention the dad being present.

Really tragic for the gorilla and the family of the gorilla that lived with him. The TImes article stated that just the day before the gorilla celebrated and the zoo celebrated his 17th birthday.

I hope the woman (the mother) does not try to sue the zoo. Article said in 38 years they never had a breach like that before.

Wasn’t it a year or two ago when a kid went into the tiger enclosure at some zoo and a tiger was shot? Really sad.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Now that I know that she was the one responsible, then absolutely she should be blamed. However, the two fb friends who passed the meme along didn’t know any more than I did at the time. They didn’t know who was supposed to be watching the child.

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s the fault of climate change, is what it is. Obstructionist Republicans in Congress are to blame…

Lightlyseared's avatar

Surely if you’re designing a barrier to keep people out of an enclosure containing wild animals you’d make it so you can’t just slip through it.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “Now that I know that she was the one responsible, then absolutely she should be blamed.”

Now that you’ve determined that she is to blame, in what way does that help?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@Lightlyseared Looking at L.A. Zoo Wikipedia entry for my comment above, I found this:
“One particular spate took place during the late 1990s and early 2000s when, in half a decade, at least 35 animals escaped the zoo including zebras, chimps, kangaroos and antelopes”

Personally, I would call that “Best Zoo EVER!!!!”.

janbb's avatar

Why blame? Shitty shit happens sometimes even to the best parents. Surely you must know that @Dutchess_III ? And your constant male-bashing helps no one.

Jak's avatar

The mother chose to take more kids than she could safely take care and keep track of into a place with inherent environmental dangers, As a consequence, an animal is dead. An animal guilty of nothing more than being born into an environment where “humans” come to gawp at him, throw things at him, and tease him. Where he can not get away from the prying eyes unless he goes through the hole in the wall that leads to a freaking cage. Because of her poor judgement, someone is now dead.
I hope she blames herself. I hope she has a high enough level of consciousness to realize what she caused. I hope she realizes how much worse it could have been for her child had they been near the bears. Or the large cats. Her child was in the gorilla habitat for twenty minutes. He would not have lasted that long in other restricted areas.

canidmajor's avatar

I agree with @janbb, why blame at all? Shit happens. This was tragic on many levels, but assigning blame doesn’t help. I haven’t seen where the family’s name has been released, I hope it hasn’t, it’s likely that zealots would endanger them with fanatic negative attention.

jca's avatar

The family’s name has been released. It’s Gregg.

jca's avatar

The mother made a statement about how she feels awful but etc. and she willingly gave her name.

Family was not available for comment when reporters went knocking.

ucme's avatar

With the media frenzy surrounding her, maybe she gets a feel of what life in captivity was like for the poor gorilla, not attaching blame, just a quiet observation of irony

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

“Critters” don’t have a choice about living in a zoo or not, nor the conditions. Just about anyone can become a parent. Hindsight is 20–20. Combine these three factors before deciding who is to blame.

canidmajor's avatar

I hope they are not hounded. That poor kid should not have to be marked with the stigma of causing the death of the gorilla.

chyna's avatar

No doubt the mother feels horrible enough. Let’s stop the blame game, no matter if you started it not.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It doesn’t “help” anything @DoNotKnowMuch. It just clarifies that I was wrong when it seemed like were immediately blaming the mother, before knowing the full story or who the kid was at the zoo with.

I’m sure she feels horrible. Just sick.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Isn’t there value in researching what went wrong? Obviously, the gorilla pen is not child-proof.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wonder why they don’t put electrical wiring around the pens, like they do for horses and cattle, only at a lower voltage than they use for horses and cattle. (Those fences will sure knock you on your ass and lose a few seconds of your life.)

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think that the mother acted responsibly taking four children, one a babe in arms and one a toddler, to the zoo by herself. In that sense, it was her fault.

On the other hand, the social media frenzy of public shaming that occurs these days, is out of hand and just plain wrong.

I too mourn the loss of the gorilla. It was totally innocent. I believe that the zookeepers did what they had to do to protect the child.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Someone on fb mentioned child leashes. I wish there wasn’t such a stigma around those.

longgone's avatar

I doubt that the mother is being blamed because people think that women are less likely to pay attention to their kids. In fact, popular opinion would probably agree with you in that the opposite is true – though I do not. These assumptions are entirely unfair to all the men who are being great fathers all over the world.

That said, I believe people blame the mother because it’s believed that young children should be under a mother’s supervision. Precisely because men can’t be trusted with kids, probably.

trolltoll's avatar

A majestic, rare animal died because this stupid woman couldn’t keep control of her offspring, and then she has the gaul to go on facebook and thank “god” for “protecting” her son. She deserves all the hate she can get. She should get sued too.

trolltoll's avatar

Her facebook “apology:”

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers today. What started off as a wonderful day turned into a scary one. For those of you that have seen the news or been on social media that was my son that fell into the gorilla exhibit at the zoo. God protected my child until the authorities were able to get him. My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes…no broken bones or internal injuries.
As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids. Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today. Thank you to everyone that helped me and my son today and most importantly God for being the awesome God that He is.

trolltoll's avatar

Obviously this woman doesn’t give a shit about the harm she has caused and only cares about herself.

Seek's avatar

I agree with @trolltoll.

I’m enraged that her post shows absolutely no concern whatsoever for the gorilla her inattention caused to be killed, nor the suffering of the other apes who will miss him, not to mention the handlers and zoo staff, and the zoo patrons.

From the description of the event, it sounds to me like the gorilla was protecting the child from the idiots who threw him into a pit (from his perspective).

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The zookeeper with the rifle probably had to think long and hard about who needed shooting

dappled_leaves's avatar

Well, it’s a good thing God was there to handle the situation safely and mercifully.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, for Pete’s sake. Do you guys know her? Do you know whether or not the 4 year old is usually extremely responsible and just had “that” day? Do you know whether she might have been planning to meet up with some people who may have helped her with the four kids? How easily you judge!
@trolltoll : really? You don’t like her FB post? Her concern was for her child, and she’s probably still a bit shocked by the whole event.
It was an event with a tragic outcome. Cherry-picking things to fuel your outrage is ridiculous.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@trolltoll: “A majestic, rare animal died because this stupid woman couldn’t keep control of her offspring, and then she has the gaul to go on facebook and thank “god” for “protecting” her son. She deserves all the hate she can get. She should get sued too.”

As @janbb so eloquently states, “Shitty shit happens sometimes even to the best parents”. The motivation to assign blame here really does seem to be motivated in something else altogether. I can’t help but think about those people who leave their babies strapped into the car seat accidentally in a hot car for the day. This – and anything you can dream up – can happen to the best (by whatever criteria is possible) parents. To blame this mother for the gorilla thing really appears to be nothing more than: “If it were my kid, he wouldn’t have fallen into the gorilla exhibit” Of course, this is horseshit, but it makes people feel better.

If we can assign blame due to negligence to this mother, it means that we can sleep better tonight, knowing that if we just keep up our good work as parents nothing bad will happen. Unfortunately, the fact is – it could very well have happened to anyone here blaming this woman. So, sleep well – but just remember – it’s a delusion.

trolltoll's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch yeah I would agree with you except that her facebook statement kind of proves that she’s a careless, self-centered moron.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

And for the poor gorilla having to get shot. If anything, this is something that zoo staff will have to struggle with. I’m sure there is some debate about whether or not shooting it was the correct decision. But for us to speculate about the fate of this gorilla may be almost as silly as trying to blame the mother.

We’re talking about a decision that was made fairly quickly. We weren’t there, are not likely experts on gorilla behavior, and honestly – we are talking about a zoo here. A discussion about the ethics of keeping a mountain gorilla in a f*cking zoo go way beyond this event.

trolltoll's avatar

@canidmajor yes, really. I reserve the right to judge this spiteful idiot.

trolltoll's avatar

No where does she own up to her responsibility. No where does she say “I’m sorry.” Fuck her, she’s an asshole.

jca's avatar

I know she said the kid got a concussion but I am feeling cynical, feeling like she’s embellishing the truth. I was watching the video earlier today and I didn’t see any violence from the gorilla, and nowhere did I read in any article or hear mentioned anywhere that the kid got a concussion.

chyna's avatar

@trolltoll Spiteful bitch? What the hell is spiteful about her?
I hope you never make any kind of mistake in your entire life.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@trolltoll: ”@DoNotKnowMuch yeah I would agree with you except that her facebook statement kind of proves that she’s a careless, self-centered moron.”

Interesting that this is your interpretation. Whatever helps keep up the “I would never…” belief. If an accident happens to you, I’m hoping you are able to muster some self compassion at least. Then, maybe…you might look back on this in a different light.

trolltoll's avatar

@chyna she goes straight to blaming “society” for judging her.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

When I was 4, I ran away from my dad in the Alberta museum. I rode the stuffed animals in the exhibits ,and peed on a meteorite, and crapped in a potted plant. Some kids are tough to raise . I didn’t give my mom trouble just my dad. I also ran my fingers over a row of glass strawberry jams when I was 3 in the mall Safeway and broke one. Some kids are too quick to catch they need to be supervised every second. Which is impossible. ~I bet that the kid who went into the gorilla den will think twice before doing it again~

trolltoll's avatar

The fact that I make mistakes too does not resolve her of the need to be responsible for her own actions.

chyna's avatar

@trolltoll YOU ARE JUDGING HER!

trolltoll's avatar

Yes, I know. so fucking what?

trolltoll's avatar

you are judging me for judging her.

trolltoll's avatar

the point is that the fact that she specifically does not apologize and instead tries to shift blame onto society and god shows that she is selfish, careless, and a drain on society.

trolltoll's avatar

@chyna anyway, I don’t know why you care about my opinion of this woman more than you care about the fact that her actions led to the death of a member of an endangered species.

trolltoll's avatar

Everyone makes mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t say “sorry” when our mistakes cause other people to suffer. I thought that was obvious.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

Shit happens, but we are responsible for our children until they are 18. If our children fuck up the parents are responsible and need to apologize on their behalf.

I agree with @trolltoll. The woman seems to only care that He was there to save her child.

jca's avatar

Nowhere is it revealed whether or not the woman was there alone with the four kids or with friends or family. I would think being one person in a public place (an exciting public place like a zoo) with four kids, one a baby, would be hard for any one person. Even when my daughter was little and a relatively serene kid, I wouldn’t have gone to a public place like that with just me and her. It helps if one person has to go to the bathroom, or get something to eat and wait on line while the other one watches the child. Multiply her by four and I definitely wouldn’t have done it alone.

longgone's avatar

There are so many things to consider here.

Should the mom have taken all those kids to the zoo without help? (If she did?)

No, probably not. Then again – risky behavior is something most of us engage in on a daily basis. It’s not seen as foolish until the outcome makes it so. I’m pretty cautious about things like this, and exactly that cautiousness is usually shrugged off by people around me.

Should that gorilla have been shot?

To answer this, we need to think about whether a human life is more important than an ape’s. If it is, all is well. If it isn’t, things get complicated. Was the ape even threatening the kid?

Should the mother have made a facebook post without commenting on the dead gorilla?

In my opinion, no. It’s disrespectful of animal life. However, this is a mother we’re talking about. She was probably deeply scared for her kid, and saw the gorilla as nothing but a threat. If a human had attacked her kid, we probably wouldn’t expect her to mourn his death – or, at least, not right away.

Would any of us have done anything differently, if we were in the mother’s place?

No. If we were in her place, we would have acted just like her. A better question would be, “What made her the person she is?”

jca's avatar

If I were her, I would be very sorry about the gorilla and expressing my sorrow for the life of the gorilla. I am thinking if she plans to sue, her lawyer advised her not to express sorrow for the gorilla and just concentrate on discussing her child.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

I would be horrified and embarrassed if this had happened to me. I wouldn’t make a facebook post about it and thank God for being there to save my child. I would feel terrible about the death of the Gorilla. I would also feel responsible for its death.

longgone's avatar

Yes, but that’s because you two are not her. If we really were in this mother’s situation (with her genetic make-up and all her experiences), we would be acting just like her, complete with the facebook post. So, we need to wonder what made her be this person. The lack of compassion for animals is widespread. What about the lack of attention and the risk-taking?

trolltoll's avatar

@longgone “If we were in her place, we would have acted just like her.”

Speak for yourself.

“So, we need to wonder what made her be this person.”

No, we don’t. We need to expect her to act like the adult she is and be accountable for her actions.

Darth_Algar's avatar

If we were exactly like her we’d act exactly like her. Film at 11.

janbb's avatar

My brother ran out into the road and was killed by a car when he was six. My Mom was in the house and a bunch of us kids were in the yard. I have blamed my mother for many things she (and my dad) did wrong over the years, but neither i nor anyone else ever thought to blame them for that horrible tragedy. I am so grateful that it didnt happen in this age of internet judgers and trolls!

trolltoll's avatar

@janbb I’m sorry that happened to you and your family.

longgone's avatar

@trolltoll You are very unlike this mother. So am I, I believe. What made us different, though? We can probably agree it wasn’t God. What was it?

trolltoll's avatar

@longgone why does it matter? why are we continuing to try to find reasons to defend her?

longgone's avatar

@trolltoll Maybe it doesn’t matter to you. It matters to me. That’s a difference between us two, then. This one is probably due to my mother’s influence. She likes to ask for the reasons behind people’s behavior, so that’s something I do almost automatically.

On a broader scale, I believe finding the source of behavior we don’t agree with is the best shot we have at fighting it.

jca's avatar

We really don’t know all the details about the day, but I just wonder, as I said above, if the mother was there alone with the four kids or had others with her.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

We all judge, whether it’s the parenting style of another or a doctor with messy hair and missing teeth.

janbb's avatar

Some more than others. I am working hard on being less judgmental as i get older.

longgone's avatar

Wow, ten people observing. I wonder whether there is money to be made off the ability to ask questions which get Fluther going. You should update your CV, Dutch! :]

jca's avatar

As a CPS worker, I used to judge and get paid for it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I left this up and open, somewhere in the middle, and about fell out of my seat when came back 2 hours later, and saw the flames! I was wondering who the hell started this fist fight because it got a bit off the question I asked. So I checked. Oh. Yeah. Me. Of course. Sigh.

Gosh, it’s so HARD to know, especially when you don’t know anything at all about the mom or the child or anything.

I imagine CPS will be looking long and hard into the family @jca.

This isn’t the last we’ll hear about it, either.

If it had been my child, I think the gorilla would have been the last thing on my mind.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@longgone No, but there’s a Fluther award for it!

longgone's avatar

^ That’s some consolation, at least!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Did I get it??...Yes I did. But it may be from another time.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

It’s clear that there are a lot of strong emotions around this. Those who feel so strongly that the mother is to “blame”, that this has some kind of value, or that her Facebook response somehow makes is inappropriate….

- Since the fact is that this could have happened to any of you, what Facebook response do you believe you would have written?
– How would this Facebook response have changed anything? Be specific.
– How does feeling anger towards this woman make you feel? Do you feel that you are/were/will be a better parent because you are able to feel his emotion? Does it make you feel safer because assigning blame to her “neglect” means that this could never happen to you and your kid?
– When you feel your outrage, does it feel as though it has an effect on future events? In other words, does it feel as though assigning blame to this woman will somehow contribute to a safer experience for zoo visitors or kids overall?
– When kids are killed in car accidents, do you approach this in a similar way? Do you say that since auto accidents and deaths are quite common, bringing your child onto the roads is risky, so there must be a good reason why they were on the road? What if the parent was on the way to the mall to go shopping for fun? Would it change anything if they were on their way to an important doctor appointment?

trolltoll's avatar

I just don’t want innocent animals to die.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t want innocent children to die. Children trump animals.

This isn’t the first time a kid fell into a gorilla enclosure. It happened in 1996. But the take from the zoo people was that the gorilla, Binti Jua, was saving the child. They got the kid back and both the child and the female gorilla were fine.

From what I’ve seen of the video of the gorilla on Saturday, it’s really hard to tell what his intentions were. He may have been “saving” that child too. To our human eyes it didn’t look like a save.
Most of us also don’t know the typical male gorilla’s reaction to a strange male, even a young one, in the vicinity.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@trolltoll: “I just don’t want innocent animals to die.”

Doesn’t really answer any of my questions. It’s also only tangentially-related to the whole issue of blame and this mother. I am curious, however – what is your opinion of zoos?

trolltoll's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch I have no interest in answering your questions, which is why I didn’t answer them.

trolltoll's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch each of your questions can easily be turned around and directed at you. What do you get out of feeling outraged by my outrage at this careless mother?

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@trolltoll: ”@DoNotKnowMuch I have no interest in answering your questions, which is why I didn’t answer them.”

Fair enough. I understand that this is complicated stuff.

@trolltoll: ”@DoNotKnowMuch each of your questions can easily be turned around and directed at you. What do you get out of feeling outraged by my outrage at this careless mother?”

I’m certainly not outraged. But I am willing to explain how I feel regarding this reaction. I have explained what I feel may be the explanation (a need to find order and to minimize anxiety about risk and our own chances at finding ourselves in a similar situation).

But how do I feel about it? I feel concerned that people are engaging in delusional thinking, and I’m really curious to find out how people feel while entertaining these thoughts. Is this a human instinct, or is there some true benefit that outweighs the truth? We all (yes, including me) are deluding ourselves about something. But this one seems to be a recurring theme.

Anyway, I do like conversation. So I feel that entertaining difficult conversations and concepts is worth everyone’s time. If you don’t feel it’s worth the headache, that’s fine.

trolltoll's avatar

Oh no, it’s not complicated. I’m just not interested.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

When we make mistakes at work or school we need to be held accountable for our actions. We are blamed for our mistakes.

Why is this okay, but not okay in other aspects of our lives? Especially when we are responsible for the life of an innocent child.

Seek's avatar

Were this my child, I would be extraordinarily relieved that my child was safe, but in no way would that absolve me of feelings of extreme guilt and dismay at the effects of my oversight.

The articles mention that it would have taken some doing for the child to have gotten into the exhibit. The fact that my child didn’t have the discipline to stay out in the first place makes the whole thing my fault.

When my child dropped a gallon of milk in the grocery store I apologised, paid for the milk, and helped the staff clean the mess, and regretted putting them through the inconvenience.

Yes, shit happens, but sometimes shit happens because we make poor choices.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@dammitjanetfromvegas: “When we make mistakes at work or school we need to be held accountable for our actions. We are blamed for our mistakes.

Why is this okay, but not okay in other aspects of our lives? Especially when we are responsible for the life of an innocent child.”

When you “make a mistake” at work, a few things matter. If you work for a good employer, they will be able to determine whether or not you are an overall good worker and balance that with the fact that you are human. A good employer will recognize when a simple lapse in attention resulted in a mistake, and decide that a good employee will make these mistakes from time to time, and they are worth keeping on board.

It’s also important to point out that when I make a mistake at work, it’s not a topic for discussion on the internet among people who have no idea what the overall quality of my work is.

Now, as I have mentioned a few times, there is no reason to assume that this woman is any different than any of us. Many times per day and throughout our lives – especially raising children – there are times when we do not have our full attention for some reason for a brief moment on one of our kids. Most of the time, this results in absolutely nothing. So, we do not register this in our brains. Rather, we take the lack of acknowledgment as confirmation that we have not engaged in distraction. But in reality, if the moment was right and the variables aligned, we would be this woman, and our kid would have been in that gorilla cage.

Every moment of every day is simply a journey through series of variables for which we have very little control. This can be anxiety-provoking to some. But it’s true. A few months ago, a 4-foot blade of metal came flying off a truck and I was just able to avoid it by slamming on my breaks. It hit my car, but didn’t go through my windshield and kill me. If I had walked faster to my car or driven 1 mph faster prior to this event, I would likely not be typing this.

There is no utility in ganging up on this woman. She’s me. She’s you. She’s all of us, moving through life trying our best in whatever way we know how. We know absolutely nothing about her, yet many are exercising their anger and judgment muscles in order to accomplish nothing and avoid facing some facts about reality. There appears to be no justification in doing so, and as far as I’m concerned, if we know nothing and are tempted to manufacture an emotional response, I’d much rather it be compassion. I don’t see the harm in that.

Pandora's avatar

Maybe it’s because people who were witness to it heard the mother yelling for her baby. So it isn’t immediately known if dad was even there. I’ve taken my kids to the zoo when they were little without their dad.

Yes, women get blamed more but if I got 100 bucks for every time a woman said she doesn’t trust her husband to manage the children when they are on some trip, I would be a few thousand dollars richer. So by default. When women say that they are the most responsible person in care of their children, doesn’t that mean that they automatically accept most of the blame when both of them are present?

Women do it to ourselves. I remember when I worked in daycare. We go one guy working as a care giver for a short while. He didn’t last long, because between the women caregivers and the moms of the children, he was automatically deemed incapable of handling children. They trusted him to be the childrens adult playmate, but not caretaker.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Public figures get the whole treatment. Both good and bad. Most people will forget what happened when the flavor of the month changes. Maybe Trump will say something stupid and redirect attention from her?

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

There is no utility in ganging up on this woman. She’s me. She’s you. She’s all of us, moving through life trying our best in whatever way we know how.

Not true. The woman admitted to taking a picture of the animals when her son slipped away. She said her son’s hand was in her back pocket, then it was gone. It was gone long enough for him to be somewhere he shouldn’t while she was focusing her camera. She was also responsible for 3 other children. I am not her.

I do not believe that my children survived childhood thanks to pure luck. They were always the center of my attention.

I am not this woman. We are not all the same.

trolltoll's avatar

Agreed. If we were all as reckless as this woman, then we’d be hearing about children getting into animal enclosures at zoos every day.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@trolltoll A girl went past the first barrier in a lion exhibit last week to get her hat or whatever. Nuts people get into trouble every so often.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch. I also had a near miss a couple months ago. I was making a turn next to a semi and it lost several long metal poles from its trailer on the turn. I was lucky enough to be next to the cab in the adjacent lane, but I could hear the poles hit the concrete right in front of the cars behind me. Luckily no one was injured, but if I had left just a moment later who knows. Those poles could have decapitated me.

Shit happens, but someone is always at fault. The person who loaded that trailer did a poor job.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Edit redacted.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have’t read other answers, but I have to say in my opinion, the parent is entirely responsible.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

@janbb. If your brother would have been at school or on a field trip when that happened wouldn’t the teachers be held responsible? Why do parents get a pass?

flutherother's avatar

Accidents happen but for a four year old to end up in the gorilla enclosure during a visit to the zoo strongly suggests carelessness on the part of the parents. It irritates me to hear the mother thank her ‘awesome God’ for saving her son when ordinary parenting was all that was required.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

Zoos should make a rule that every children should be on leash. That way, they can defend themselves and not having to kill their animals due to some ignorant parents and uncontrollable children.

The society always believe that children are innocent and parents are always responsible for their underage children so it’s not unusual that a mother is to blame if her children are hurt due to ignorance/negligence accident when they’re with her, and how a father is to blame if any accident happen to his children when they’re with him (even when his wife is with him, or even if he’s not the one who is driving).

To tell the truth, we get burned if we touch a fire and that’s that. We can’t blame the candle or expect others to cut off the candle to save ourselved from burning. Although it sounds cruel, It won’t be funny if the zoos keep on killing animals for the same excuse, let the children accept the consequences of their own action with their parents receiving the same amount of damage as well. This way it’ll serve as a ‘shock therapy’ and every parents will be more careful with their little ones, and that they will come to accept the consequences of their own action.

ucme's avatar

I read a primate expert explaining how the other gorillas will be mourning the loss of their leader who acted entirely naturally when he saw the kid. As the leader he was instictively bound to investigate the potential threat this “strange” visitor may have brought.
Once he interpreted him as safe, he felt the urge to protect him & was leading him away from the screaming crowd who antagonised, however unintentionally, an already volatile situation.

Those gorillas were a family, not by blood, but had bonded in a way which made that so in every way but name & his tragic, shall we call it “murder”...will have a devastating & long lasting effect. This is the feeling I will be left with when I remember the incident, blame & counter blame is important if it helps to prevent this happening in the future, but is entirely secondary when you consider the raw tragedy of the gorillas themselves

jca's avatar

I am definitely not that woman because, as said before, I wouldn’t be there alone with four kids and whether I was there with one kid or four kids or help from friends and family, if my kid was missing for ten seconds I’d be stopping everything until we located him. As someone said above, it took a while for that kid to get past the crowd and through the barriers.

I do blame the parent(s) because ultimately, it’s on them to watch their kids. Not that parents don’t make mistakes and I’m not saying I’m a perfect parent, but ultimately the responsibility for one’s child falls to the parent(s).

I hope the woman feels very guilty. Not that guilt changes anything, but if it’s the only punishment she receives, at least it will stay with her for a long long time.

trolltoll's avatar

I too am definitely not that woman because I would be most contrite if something I did led to the death of an animal, especially one like Harambe.

I believe that the people defending her here are doing so because they can easily see themselves in her position and feel, somehow, that the attack on her is an attack on them.

CWOTUS's avatar

I may as well add my voice to clarify that I am also not that woman.

In case there was the least bit of doubt.

trolltoll's avatar

#notthatwoman

Dutchess_III's avatar

Once, when the twins were about 18 months old, I did something really stupid. I took them into the unfenced front yard, thinking they’d like to do some gardening with me.
They were at the age when they could walk and run, and they were heavy. They also couldn’t yet be trusted to do what I told them to do, like “stop!” or “stay!”

Everything was fine for about 10 minutes. We were playing in the dirt. Then suddenly, like some signal passed between them, one kid took off one direction and the other took off in the other. I live on a corner lot, so each direction they were heading was a residential street.
I ran down the closest one, grabbed him up (and he’s heavy) and thus encumbered ran down the 2nd, who,by this time, was much further away. I got to her, and grabbed her hand just as she was taking that first step into the street.
I’m not young and strong like I used to be, so it wasn’t a piece of cake.
I was too tired to carry them both to the house, and if I tried to set one down and take them by the hand, he or she would yank and pull away then collapse.
I finally sat down in the yard, with them both in my lap and locked in my arms. I had my cell phone with me. I called my husband who was working in his office upstairs. He said he’d come down.
He took his time, about 10 minutes. During that the twins were twisting and sliding and fighting to get away.
I was so tired and so scared.

I was my fault. I was stupid. I wasn’t thinking. And I’m just lucky one of them didn’t get hit by a car.

Shit can happen, especially when you’re dealing with more than one child.

I’d bet a million bucks that kid wasn’t the first kid to slip the barricade. He just happened to fall in and make national news.

trolltoll's avatar

Shit can happen but when shit you caused causes silverback gorillas to die you don’t go on facebook and say “shit happens” and then get mad when you catch hell for it.

trolltoll's avatar

she was apparently in charge of 4 children that day. It was obviously more than she could handle. But whatever, shit happens! No need to take responsibility for our mistakes. Shit happens!

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

It is crazy that the kid could get in there. A wire fence would have saved everyone some grief.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I didn’t say she wasn’t responsible. She was. If one of the twins had been hit by a car and killed (which would be at least as tragic as the gorilla being shot) I would have been responsible.

I once subbed at a preschool. On the agenda that day was a trip to the zoo. There were four adults, and each adult was assigned 4 children.

I paired my 4 kids into buddies. Then I put myself in the middle and I took the hand to the kid to my right and left, and they took the hand of their buddy and that’s how we worked it, in a line. The only time we weren’t holding hands was when the kids were in front of me, looking at the animals. __But the kids were all the same age.__

Now, what would I have done if one of the end kids let go of her buddy’s hand and took off? What would I have done? What would you have done? No matter what, you are responsible.

@Call_Me_Jay Or some sort of electrical fence. What would it take to run an underground wire, and every visitor had to wear a wrist band that would active the wire so they’d be shocked if they got too close?

Seek's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay – there was a wire fence. And a wooden one. And a hedgerow.

janbb's avatar

And yet a 4 year got through so if we are playing the blame game sime of the blame goes to the zoo.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@janbb. Thank you.

Why is it so hard to understand that children are curious and obvilious to causing harm? Zoos cater to children. This zoo says that they they haven’t had an accident like this in 30+ years, but they just did, and there was staff on hand trained to handle it.

Where were the people who should have been continually inspecting the grounds for safety precautions? It is the facility’s obligation to protect the humans as well as the animals if they are going to run a zoo.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can’t help but wonder….doesn’t a 4 year old have some protective instinct of his own? Why would he get so close to the edge of a 10 foot drop? Why wouldn’t the gorilla scare him? Not only that, surely he knew, surely he’d been told not to go behind the barrier. As I said, I’m sure this isn’t the first time a kid got behind a barrier. This one just turned into disaster.

jca's avatar

I wonder how many of those gorillas exist in captivity.

ucme's avatar

I just got off the phone to Sir David Attenborough, a personal friend of mama’s & he went apeshit

“They should have shot the fucking brat kid!!”

That’s all I can recall of the conversation because i’m afraid I had to hang up from laughing so much

trolltoll's avatar

I have just learned that there are merely 480 silverback gorillas in the wild. I had thought there were at least thousands of them.

I cannot hold back my vitriol any longer. I hope this rotten bitch goes straight to hell.

trolltoll's avatar

but, you know, #shithappens #godswill #yolo #fuckanyonewhoisntme

trolltoll's avatar

This makes me so fucking sad. I’m at a complete loss.

jca's avatar

Harambe was a Western Lowland Gorilla. Here’s the info on their population:

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/great_apes/gorillas/western_lowland_gorilla/

janbb's avatar

@trolltoll I have not been responding to your deliberate baiting attacks but I will respond once and then I’m staying away for a little while. When I said “shitty shit happens” I was not minimizing the tragic nature of this event. I would have thought that the later example of my brother’s death would have made that clear: apparently to you it wasn’t as you continue to bait me. What I was saying and what I believe is that it isn’t always productive to assign blame – particularly when one wasn’t there and when one is reading about it on the internet. I’m sure everyone involved feels a mixture of emotions and regret at what happened.

Is that clear? If not, I’m sorry I don’t really care. I’m not sure why people are up in arms at the fact that I don’t want to vilify anyone but I try not to let the internet upset me so as I said – I am done with this issue.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@trolltoll do you feel a bit less angry now, since you learned that you were mistaken about the type of gorilla it was, and the actual population of Western Lowland Gorillas is ~100,000, not 480?

trolltoll's avatar

@janbb why do you think my sadness over the death of a gorilla has anything to do with you? Why would I give a shit about what you think?

trolltoll's avatar

You have been saying “Oh I try not to judge” well it’s very clear you do judge, just not the woman in question.

trolltoll's avatar

anyway it’s pretty fucking vain to think that my previous comments were about you.

trolltoll's avatar

I couldn’t care less if you don’t give a shit about the gorilla.

trolltoll's avatar

I happen to care about gorillas. I happen to think it’s sad. Why you’re so self-involved as to think that my expression of sadness is meant to provoke a reaction from you is beyond me.

chyna's avatar

@trolltoll. Generally we try to keep from writing so many separate answers on Fluther. You can put all your answers in the same post and it’s easier to read.

trolltoll's avatar

thanks for the info

chyna's avatar

^Or you can just be an ass about it.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

Troll is outraged over the death of the gorilla. How is she the one being an ass here?

marinelife's avatar

The dark tone of this thread is an example of Internet and social media discourse bringing out the worse that humanity has to offer.

@janbb was not attacking anyone or condemning anyone else’s position about the death of the gorilla. She was simply suggesting that not jumping on the public bandwagon of condemnation of the mother was a more compassionate response.

What happened was an accident, a horrible accident that resulted in a tragedy. Thankfully, a lesser tragedy than the death or injury of a child would have been, thanks to the quick, but considered response of the zookeepers.

@dammitjanetfromvegas For posting two short, separate responses when informed by @chyna that that is not the practice here.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I remember the first time I got in trouble for that.

longgone's avatar

A year or two ago, I would have been up in arms about that gorilla. I don’t agree that a child’s life always trumps an animal’s. I believe we’ll be looking back on this incident in shock, once we finally get around to really understanding how other primates’ minds work. Just the fact that this huge creature handled a small child with enough care to return it unscathed, (while around them, all hell broke loose) should tell us something.

And yet, feeling compassion for animals doesn’t mean I can’t feel compassion for a human at the same time. It may be more difficult, but that’s just because we’re continuously pretending to be creatures of logic. We are not.

trolltoll's avatar

to be an ass

trolltoll's avatar

And I happen to think that given that there are more than 7,000,000,000 people in the world but fewer than 1,000 of this particular species of gorilla, maybe my outrage isn’t too misplaced.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He was a lowland mountain gorilla. There are ~100,000 individuals of that particular species, @trolltoll. Not a lot, but probably about as many as their particular habitat can support.

trolltoll's avatar

we seem to be in disagreement about a key fact here. I have read that there are only around 700 of these particular gorillas. Where is this discrepancy coming from?

trolltoll's avatar

Some sources report that Harambe was a silverback gorilla. Googling “silverback gorilla population” brought me to this page.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it sent you to Mountain Gorillas. Harambe was a Lowland Gorilla. The male of both species get grey on their backs as adults, and both are called “Silverbacks” at that point. I’m sure there are other sub species of gorillas who earn the same name. It just means they’re adult males.

There are about 700 in zoos.

When I Googled Harambe specifically, it sent me here:
Though the western lowland gorilla is the most numerous and widespread of gorilla subspecies…[they are still listed as critically endangered]...Last year, the Cincinnati Zoo wrote that there were about 765 gorillas in zoos worldwide and pegged the western lowland gorilla’s wild population at about 175,000.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ll be they’re the same kind of gorilla, but they just live in different elevations in Africa.

trolltoll's avatar

well, then I stand corrected. That is a substantially happier figure than the one I quoted!

trolltoll's avatar

On the other hand, the species is still critically endangered, which is sad.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It is very sad. Even if they weren’t endangered it’s sad. You know…the gorilla may actually have been doing his best to protect the child from the screaming, panicking primates above. Screaming is a sign of danger.

trolltoll's avatar

Indeed. I feel compelled to make a donation to an environmental conservation group that helps gorillas now.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III has the same info I got (and posted on another thread) about the type of gorilla Harambe was and their population in the wild. @trolltoll is also correct that they are listed in the “critically endangered” category.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, I followed the trail starting with your link @jca. And yes, they are critically endangered. That’s what my last link indicated. For a while I thought that ~200,000 was maybe all a particular habitat could handle, but then I found these maps and stand corrected on that as well.

jca's avatar

It’s all interesting. I think one good thing that will come of this is that many more people will be interested in gorillas and learn all about them (like we are here).

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. And they’ll do something to make the enclosures almost impossible to get into. Kid-proof. I mean, there have been THREE noted on just this thread…but not one child was hurt or killed, other than by the fall. But that’s 3 too many. I am so glad the child wasn’t killed. Can you imagine the mother having to deal with that grief and all the screaming outrage on top of it?

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

@trolltoll I prefer to be an ass

Hey, now I look like an ass for standing up for you, but at least you took responsibility for your actions. Zoo-mom could take a lesson from you. :)

trolltoll's avatar

I’m sorry. Thanks for standing up for me.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

You are being you. No need to be sorry.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

Still awaiting the outrage and calls for Lane Graves’ parents to lose custody of their 4-year-old daughter.

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