Ape vs. Boy: Is this really an argument we’re having?

Harambe, the silverback gorilla, killed last week after a three-year-old boy fell into his pen at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Harambe, the silverback gorilla, killed last week after a three-year-old boy fell into his pen at the Cincinnati Zoo. (Photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Zoo)

A young boy falls into an enclosure that houses gorillas at a Cincinnati zoo and in order to save the boy’s life, a decision is made to kill a gorilla.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Ape vs. Boy — I’m taking the boy each and every time.

Yet there are actually people who are stepping up and speaking out loud that more consideration should have been given to the gorilla in this situation. They speak as though the boy might have deserved what might have been coming to him had things gone wrong while tempting a wild  animal with a handful of bananas. Some of these people have even placed blame on the mother.

After 50 years of gracing God’s green Earth, society frustrates me at so many turns lately.

I never imagined how the world would come to this. It’s us vs. them, whether it’s in the halls of our government, or the cages of our zoos — both of which can be confused with each other from time to time.

Somehow, we are the land where a crazed young man can walk into an elementary school 20 miles from where I live, pull out an automatic weapon and slaughter innocent children.

Nothing changes when that happens.

Walk into an gorilla pen and kill a primate, though, and there are people stepping up — more than 100,000 thousand people in 48 hours, if you believe a CNN report — and have taken the gorilla’s side.

Go figure.

Look, I feel bad for the ape. I really do. I’m the guy who drives down the road and sees road kill and I feel bad for the animal, getting snuffed out by a passing car despite just trying to live its life in the woods and wild.

So when it comes to Harambe — that’s the name of the 450-pound silverback gorilla that was killed — it’s too bad he had to die.

When an inkling or two of that feeling creeps into me, though, I remember what the zookeeper said about him.

“I’ve seen him crush a coconut with his bare hands.”


Shoot the ape. Save the boy. Period.

People will bring up a few other high-profile cases where children fell into a primate pit and seemed to be protected by the animals inside.

Is that a risk you’re willing to take, though?

Granted, you’re hoping Harambe will pick up the kid and start to burp him, or something cute that you can videotape with your iPhone and throw it up on You Tube, but those who know the gorilla best — the zookeepers — made the decision they felt was best.

Ape vs. Boy? Shoot the ape. Save the boy. Period.

“That child’s life was in danger,” zoo director Thane Maynard said. “People who question that don’t understand you can’t take a risk with a silverback gorilla — this is a dangerous animal. Looking back, we’d make the same decision. The child is safe.”

That’s what counts, isn’t it?

You would think so, but there are people out there who for some reason always put an animal’s right before a human being’s.

I can’t explain it.

I simply can’t understand how somebody’s synapses would work to trigger the ultimate siding of a wild animal in this case.

I understand the could-haves.

They could have shot the gorilla with a tranquilizer gun, but as officials have stated — those who know how such things work — it takes time to tranquilize an animal of that size and chances are shooting a gorilla with a dose of knock out juice is likely going to piss him off at little at first.

In short, it would be far too unpredictable to risk.

Maybe they could have walked in with a banana, or whatever food group would work best, and tried to lure the gorilla away from the boy. But do we even know when the gorilla last ate? Maybe Harambe would have invited the boy over for lunch, thereby not leaving his side at all.

Too many questions, far too many risks, and too few answers that totaled up 100 percent correct.

Save for one.

I was raised to love animals, always had pets who were part of the family. But I also feel I have common sense when it comes to animals vs. humans. It’s a pretty easy decision to make.

Ape vs. Boy? Shoot the ape. Save the boy. Period.


One comment on “Ape vs. Boy: Is this really an argument we’re having?

  1. Brian says:

    I’ve also seen a sizable contingency of commenters blindly defend the mother against detractors, which I think is just as antithetical to understanding the situation.

    It ties into what you said about taking sides. People just want to chain themselves to their instant reactions and shame whoever dares to challenge their mighty proclamations. It’s exhausting trying to be nuanced, because then both sides accuse you of being on the other team.

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