Many people are sickened about the events that took place recently at the Cincinnati Zoo. I am, too. The whole situation was awful, and had a horrible ending. As bad as those events were, what I am most sickened about is what happened afterwards.
Somehow, it still amazes me how people are so quick to place blame, even when we weren’t there. How quickly a good mom can be perceived as a negligent one who should have her children taken away from her, and be forced to pay for the damage done. There are actually people out there who believe this mother should have the same fate as the gorilla. Death.
All of the comments I have read and heard causes a question to linger in my mind. What if I were this mom? How quickly would my friends and perfect strangers turn me into an unfit mother? How many would beg for my persecution, for me to be held accountable, for me to lose my children. What if I were receiving hate mail while trying to be with my child who was injured in the traumatic event.
I know what would happen. I would be crushed. I would cry. I would hide in my house (or hospital), lock the doors, disable the internet and television. I would feel so, so guilty and wonder - are they right?
In schools, we are fighting against bullying and suicide. Is this not a form of bullying? Saying or doing mean things to another person is bullying. All of you people blaming her, condemning her. YOU ARE BULLIES. You were not there, armchair jury. With your hateful words and superior parenting skills. You can watch all the videos you want, read all the commentary you choose, watch the tv and read the articles. But you are not that mom, and you are not the one dealing with the repercussions of this.
What if, instead of the hate mail and comments, we lifted this mom and her family up? What if we said “Hey, I am so sorry that happened. How can I help you and your family get through this?” What if we sent hugs and love to her instead of begging for someone to bring her to center stage so she can be stoned or crucified.
We don’t know what kind of a mother this woman is. We don’t know what kind of a child the little boy is. And you know what? Neither of those things matter. People make mistakes and accidents happen. Each person sending hateful comments has made plenty of their own. But, theirs didn’t get publicized. Lucky them.
I hope this never happens again. The trauma the boy, his family, the spectators, the zoo, the gorilla and his family have had to endure is awful. Let’s make it a little less awful by offering love and grace to all involved and letting go of blame and hate.