I’m a Bad Parent Too
So this one time when Tiffany was little, her mom and I took her to the playroom in the downstairs section of the North Shore Mall in Peabody, MA. Her mom and I were talking (or maybe bickering a little) and we looked away for maybe a second. (That’s what it felt like, anyway.)
“Where’s Tiff?” one of us said.
“She was just right over there.”
(Okay, but she wasn’t right over there anymore.)
We searched the whole playroom quickly and she wasn’t there. I ran out and spotted her wandering onto the escalator about fifty meters away. I ran — this was before I smoked, so I could run fifty meters without collapsing, especially with all that panic-fueled adrenaline — and I caught up to her right before the top of the escalator. Panic turned into crazy relief that a close call was over; my little girl was safe. I felt pretty good about myself; I had saved the day. #BigDamnHero
This past weekend at the Cincinnati Zoo, a three-year-old boy somehow managed to get into the enclosure of a 450-pound gorilla named Harambe. The gorilla grabbed the boy and started dragging him around the enclosure. (You may have seen the video; it was pretty scary.) The zoo’s response team eventually determined that the only way to ensure the boy’s safety would be to kill Harambe. The boy was recovered with minor injuries, but Harambe wasn’t as lucky.
The internet loves this kind of tragedy, because everyone knows how it could have been prevented. We blame the mother, because if mom kept better watch of her kid, Harambe would be alive. We blame the zoo, because if they had better enclosures, Harambe would be alive. We blame the response team, because if they had used tranquilizers instead of bullets*, Harambe would be alive. We blame the very concept of zoos, because if we didn’t put animals behind bars, Harambe would be alive. We blame the kid’s dad, who wasn’t even with them at the zoo, because somehow if he didn’t have a criminal record, Harambe would be alive.
What happened to Harembe sucks. What that kid went through sucks. What the parents are going through sucks. And what the zoo is going through sucks. Nobody walked away with a smile on their face.
But I digress…
Look, people. It’s easy to blame the parent, but I’m betting that she and I aren’t the only two parents in the world that looked away for a second or two. (Really I’m betting nearly every parent has at one time or another, whether their kid did something dangerous in that time or not.) But we learn from our mistakes, and we keep loving our kids and try to keep them safe, despite how crafty the little buggers are.
So if that mom is a bad parent, I suppose I am, as well.
Len Pal – #ImABadParentToo
* Experts have agreed that using tranquilizers would have likely resulted in the child’s death. They’re not instantaneous like they are in the movies, and would probably have enraged the gorilla for a short time before he went unconscious – long enough for him to do serious harm.
The online parent shaming by so many “perfect” (self-delusional) parents has been nauseating to witness.
But this is America, where politicians who were once opticians will diagnose coma patients via video.
Thank you for this.
I hate to admit it, but I was one of those people wondering why a tranquilizer gun wasn’t used. Fortunately I wondered this to myself and didn’t pretend to be an expert online. Phew! I’ve come to learn that a tranquilizer gun would have been a poor choice in this situation.
It’s terrible what happened but the child is safe and I’m very grateful for that. We don’t always need to point the finger of blame every time something terrible happens.
Also, love your comment, HUGO.
Sincere condolences to everyone involved.