In case you missed it (practically impossible if you live in the U.S.), this past weekend a 4-year-old boy somehow got into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, dropped 15 feet into a foot of water in the enclosure's moat, and was taken (some reports say "dragged") by a 17-year-old male gorilla to another part of the moat where the gorilla was then shot and killed by first-responder/emergency zoo staff. There is so much to say about this situation. There are so many unknowns. My first thought was, "how awful on so many levels." I grieve for the gorilla. I grieve for the zoo staff. My heart breaks for the little boy and his mother. However, as is more and more the case in this country, after the initial shock of the incident was reported the comments started rolling in on the almighty social media.
"Where was this boy's mother?!"
"Somebody call social services because there is clearly a case for neglect!"
"If that was [sic] my kid I'd smack the crap out of him!"
"Parent your damn kid!"
"This is what happens when people don't discipline their kids!"
"People need to learn to control their kids, not be their friends."
"They shot the wrong primate."
You know, I was a much wiser, knowledgeable, better parent before I became one. The self-righteous indignation in the comments above makes me sad. And devastated. And furious. Sad because I am sure the mother of this child (let's all remember that it is a child we're talking about. A 4-year-old child) is reading at least some of these comments, because they are inescapable. Devastated because I used to be someone who would make those kinds of comments about parents needing to get in control of their children (not ones advocating violence, but even so...). I use to be that asshole. And furious because (now that I am a parent and no longer the that asshole) I see how awful the attitudes and messages behind these kinds of comments really are.
First of all, we don't know what happened. We don't know. Was the boy's mother (or parent) there when it happened? Maybe. Maybe not. We don't know. Was the parent being neglectful? Maybe, maybe not. We don't know. Is the parent a disciplinarian or an attachment parent? We don't know. Was the child hit/slapped/abused for his actions? We. Don't. Know. We just don't know what happened or how this boy was/is parented, or any of the extenuating circumstances.
Second, this is NOT what happens when parents don't discipline their kids. This is what happens when a freak set of circumstances collide. If this were the sort of thing that happened when people didn't discipline their kids then this sort of thing would happen all the time, isn't that right??
Thirdly, children are people, got it? People. Like, real people. If you think for one second that there is some magical way to "control" them, then you're obviously not a parent. Sure, you can spank (i.e. hit) them - slap them around a bit. You can threaten, intimidate, bribe, reward, or do any number of things to get them to comply with your demands. But that's not control. And it's not even healthy complacency.
Fourth, "They shot the wrong primate."?! The person who wrote this (friend of a friend on Facebook) disgusts me. The sentiment is appalling, base, vile, unfeeling, and just plain wrong. You're mad about an innocent animal being shot to death? So am I. You think the better outcome would have been for another innocent animal (that's right. A child wandering into a place he shouldn't be does not strip him from his innocence here) to have been shot instead?? You're illogical and wrong.
Last, I think people are getting pissed at the wrong thing for the wrong reason. We don't know what happened here. We know an innocent animal lost it's life because of human actions. That's what the comments are abhorring. But, and here's my salient question for all the commenters, are you vegan? Because if you're not, your indignation on this topic is not worth a damn.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Monday, May 2, 2016
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. -A.A. Milne
We left Indiana for Massachusetts today. Yesterday was a most perfect day. The clearest of skies, the softest air, the sweetest of memories. Then last night there was a terrible storm. Thunder, lightening, rain, hail (so much hail), and a tornado warning. I carried both kids from their sleeping beds into the neighbor's bathroom, where we waited for the better part of an hour with them and their kids. And then, almost as suddenly as it began, the storm was over.
I guess that's how I feel about this move. Some days I feel perfectly at peace about it, and then I will get a storm cloud of emotion and all hail (forgive the pun) will break loose. My emotions will overtake me. I'll want to hide in the bathroom until it passes. And it always passes.
In leaving my home state, I also leave behind my immediate family, my chosen family, and some of my most treasured friends. This will not be an easy transition. I feel lucky to have been able to be in such near proximity to these people for the time that I have been. I will miss so much about that proximity. I will definitely miss living on the farm which we have called home for the past 9 months. But, that's life, as they say. And with every ending there comes a beginning. I am lucky to have had such beautiful experiences in my old home. I am lucky to have such an adventure awaiting me in my new home. And I am lucky that, most of the time, my skies are clear.