The Mother, Her Son and the Gorilla: Here’s What You Weren’t Told!

May 28, 2016. A date one mother will never forget.

Sixty seconds was all it took, for a 3-year-old boy to change a family outing to a possible unspeakable tragedy.

A mother with her son, along with three other children, were at the Cincinnati Zoo much like many other families that day. But like many of us, a moment of distraction changed everything.

The little boy slipped away into the enclosure of a 450 pound gorilla, named Harambe. Can you imagine? Can you even fathom what this parent may have been feeling? Or are you one of the many who could care less about the mother and more about the gorilla?

Thankfully, the little boy was not seriously injured but the zoo suffered the loss of an amazing animal. Harambe was shot in order to protect the child.

Some were upset because the animal was shot. Others condemned the parents and lay blame on the mother. They became the center of criticism. The calls for criminal charges grew as the story unfolded.

A petition to seek Justice for Harambe received more than 500,000 signatures.

The internet was bombarded with news stories,opinion polls and the outpouring of justice to be served.

And then CNN Headline reads, Gorilla killing: 3-year-old boy’s mother won’t be charged.

“By all accounts, the mother did not act in a way where she presented this child to some harm,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters. He continued to say,… “if anyone doesn’t believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they’ve never had kids.”

As a Child Development Specialist with over twenty years of experience with children ages birth to school age,   I know all too well the importance of safety to the well-being of a child. I also know and have witnessed parents/guardians who do not take parenting seriously. The fact is, there are many adults in this world who do not deserve to be parents, nor should be given legal rights to do so.

I completely understand the outrage of questions. Many have asked, “Where were the parents?” Let me assure you…Michelle Gregg, the mother of this child was there. She was fully engulfed as a mother would and should be. I’m sure when she planned the family outing, she had no intentions nor thought of such a horrifying incident could happen.

I completely understand how animal rights activists would be saddened by the decision to kill a completely innocent animal. I, too, hate to see any animal suffer for a cause.

I completely understand the mind of a young child. I know their curiosity. I know their defiance. I know their determination. I know their energy, their tactics and their meltdowns. I know how they think and it’s not that of an adult.


What I don’t understand is the judgemental accusations. I don’t understand the lack of respect. I don’t understand the “holier than thou” attitude. I don’t understand how the death of a gorilla is more important than the safety of a young child. I don’t understand the concept of kicking a person when they’re already down. I don’t understand why this mother was unworthy of compassion. I just don’t understand.

Many parents have had minor mishaps and major accidents with their children. Even the best of parents have lost their child in a crowded mall or busy theme park. Parenting does not come with a guideline or handbook to follow. Good parenting is not about not making mistakes. Good parents make mistakes. Parenting is not about how often we get things right but rather, learning when we get it wrong.

Some may think I am taking sides with the mother of this young child. I am not taking any side. I am merely stating facts and truly concerned with the way, we, as a people…have learned to quickly condemn those who falter, fail or fall through a life struggle. I am truly concerned that so many are quick to judge. I am truly concerned that compassion is no longer a recognized moral quality of our nation.

My thoughts go back to the verse in the Bible: Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

May we, as a people, as a nation…begin to see people with compassion.

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. John 8:7

He that is without sin among you,
let him first cast a stone at her.
John 8:7

This is merely the view from my window. You are entitled to agree, disagree or merely be indifferent. I’m just opening the window to a personal view from where I see things. You are more than welcome to share your view. The window is open to all.


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29 thoughts on “The Mother, Her Son and the Gorilla: Here’s What You Weren’t Told!

  1. Laura, thank you for stopping by my blog and “liking” my recent post. My eye was pulled toward the title of this post and I had to read. I concur with your stand on this news story. Lack of compassion has taken our people and this country down a path I’m sure God never planned to have us travel. Yet I’m certain there will always be those quick to judge. Thanks for standing up and speaking the truth!

    • Thanks Sherry! So many tragedies in today’s world. I know it’s all a part of life and one day, it will all end…but until then, my heart breaks. 🙁 I pray and I pray often! 🙂

  2. Very well written. I guess these arguments come down to gorilla life vs child’s life – if there was a way to save the child without killing the gorilla, would have been best… I think everyone did their best. What more can anyone do? Thank you for sharing. I hope the mother, her family and the gorilla can all find some peace…

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment. I have been catching up on your posts and I have much to comment but working 12 hours today may limit me from responding quickly. I am impressed with some of your recent posts so I will comment later this evening and catch up with you over the weekend. Be looking for something in your contact info, as well. 🙂 I have no idea why I haven’t been seeing some of your posts, but I am making a conscience effort to be searching you in my emails. You have inspired me! 🙂

  3. I love your view on this. Maybe I’m a little isolated from the “real” world here in small town Alberta, but pretty much every one that I have heard mention this would agree with you. The hatred on Facebook about the mother blows my mind. I can’t imagine what she’s going through

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I’m getting my info from the news media and all the stories bombarding the networks. Facebook can be a good and bad thing, depending on how we allow it to wok for us. I’ve always tried to be a positive person so when I see negative on Facebook from my friends/news feeds…I usually will either unfollow them so I don’t see their negativity or just completely unfriend them, depending on how much comes through. But, Sometimes, I think TV news media loves the ratings so they accept anything that comes along, which is sad. My major in college was Journalism, which I never pursued and went a completely different route. So glad I did. 🙂 Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it much!

  4. Laura, as a culture we lack empathy. That is why that poor mom has been vilified. It’s a real shame. The entire incident is a tragedy, no matter how you view it. This mom had a split second distraction. What parent or guardian hasn’t? Infuriating. We need empathy.

    • I totally agree, Lisa! If people could only see it through a different set of eyes, imagine how they would feel, realize that they make mistakes are not perfect, and admit the guilt of their own imperfections…and YES , practice empathy. I’m not sure if that exists much these days. Sympathy is easy but empathy goes so much deeper, Thanks so much for the positive comments! 🙂

  5. Your comments are right on, we are very quick to pass judgement on others not thinking about compassion. Animals these days seems to come before humans.

  6. Laura, I concur completely with you on this issue. I also agree that there are no pat directions for raising children. I have four and they were all very different when they were younger. My boys were more likely to go get into something even when I am right there trying to answer the door, the phone, etc. I also feel a great deal of sadness that the safety of the child was not as important as the animal. I also believe that we have become a society that is, as you so eloquently put it, less compassionate with those that make a mistake or err in any way from what they deem perfection. There are no perfect parents. As you well know from many of the school shootings, the teenagers have had serious problems that the parents couldn’t get a hold on. Even those parents who “provided everything” they supposedly needed. I am not a person who wishes to see animals abused or killed for no real purpose. However, in this instance, it was the judgment call of the zoo manager. I am sure that if he would not have killed the gorilla, there would be 500,000 signatures that say he should have and didn’t think about the safety of the child. In either case, there will be those who disagree. Part of compassion, as you put it, is to put yourself in the other person’s place. Many of us don’t know what we would do until we are put in a challenging situation. Thank you for sharing and really giving us a perspective that includes everyone, including the gorilla.

    • Thanks so much Sandra! I really appreciate your thoughts and comments on this. I was taking a chance on putting it out there, but I felt it was time to promote a different perspective on the incident. I can’t help but notice how our country/world has become. I see many acts of kindness and compassion in my own little word, but as a whole, the world seems to have become judge and jury. I always try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and try to put myself in their shoes. Thanks so much for your comments! I truly appreciate it! 🙂

    • It is sad in many aspects. I pray the family can heal quickly and move forward, especially the little boy. Thanks so much for your comments! 🙂

  7. It’s ironic that those that value life threaten that momma’s life. I don’t know what happened because I wasn’t there. I’ve heard different versions and it seems most are opinion based. As a mom to curious children myself, if what it true that the child repeatedly told its mom that he was going to go in there, my paranoia would have gotten the best of me and I would have grabbed my child and left the area immediately. I know how quick my child can be.
    What I understand is that the child was being dragged around and the officials had to put the gorilla down instead of tranquilizing it.

    • I can only imagine how I would handle this if I were in this situation, but knowing what I would do if I were in this situation and doing it as it plays out are two totally different things. In hindsight, we would all do things differently. I’m sure the mother is thinking of all the many “what if’s” and “if only”… I only hope she can forgive herself and the family can heal quickly. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it much! 🙂

  8. Thank you Laura for throwing more light on this issue. I am just too happy that the boy was saved. What can be compared to human life? Have a great summer Dear friend. Cheers! 🙂

    • Thanks! I appreciate you stopping by. I was beginning to think I was no longer in your blogsphere! LOL Good to hear from you. 🙂

      • Oh Laura, you will always be in my list of friends to look out for in the blogosphere. If you were following my posts, you would have read about my present situation. I have only maintained a skeletal presence here in the last one month. Couldn’t flow with my blog schedule and daily posting routine ‘cos of other activities outside of blogging. I’m so pressed for time I’d say. But it was nice to see your post in the reader today and come visit you. e-hugs from me, lol. 🙂

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