The death of a beloved beast in the Cincinnati Zoo has taken another turn … and it’s the correct turn.
Prosecutors in Franklin County, Ohio, have decided against filing criminal charges against the parents of a toddler who fell into a gorilla enclosure. They were watching the little boy and other children. The youngster got away from them — as little children can do.
He fell into the pit. The 400-pound beast, Harambe, tossed the child around. Zoo officials decided on the spot that they had to kill the gorilla to save the youngster.
That, too, was the right call.
As prosecutor Joseph Deters said today: “She had three other kids with her and turned her back. … And if anyone doesn’t believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they’ve never had kids.”
I totally agree with that. My once-young sons are all grown up. One of them has a toddler of his own. But oh, brother, do my wife and I remember how quickly they could move — especially when our backs were turned, even for an instant.
The only way the tot’s mother should have been charged with criminal intent would be if the youngster had said, “Look at me, Mommy, while I go play with the big monkey,” and then she turned her back.
That didn’t happen, Deters said.
The boy’s mother is going to beat herself up possibly for the rest of her life.
The death of a majestic — and immensely powerful — beast is tragic enough. Imagine the reaction had Harambe done something terrible to the little boy.
As a friend of mine said the other day while visiting the Fort Worth Zoo with her own toddler, at least the gorilla story has made other parents pay more attention to their children’s whereabouts.