We’re all familiar with the concept of win/win. I buy a dress that fits my needs in exchange for money that fits the needs of the storeowner. Mike washes the supper dishes and Tali dries them so that they can both get outside and play before it gets dark.
Our society is steadily creeping towards basing itself on a lose/lose philosophy. The sad incident at the Cincinnati Zoo is just one example. Here are the bare facts: a three-year-old toddler entered the moat surrounding the gorilla enclosure and was dragged through the water by a gorilla.
What if the zoo had not shot the animal? The child might have been rescued safely or might have been harmed. There certainly was a threat of greater damage. How much time do you think would have passed before Black LIves Matter activists began questioning whether the zoo might have acted more quickly and shot the gorilla had the child been white? How long before President Obama picked up the opportunity to agitate for hatred between Americans, a specialty of his, by suggesting that racist America revealed itself once again? How long before someone posted a despicable, stupid comment under the article on a news website making a comparison between the Black child and the gorilla? How long until a daring reporter found out that the bigoted comment-writer once walked on a New York City street that Donald Trump frequently strode, proving that all Trump supporters are Ku Klux Klan wanna-bees?
I give that scenario two days to play out.
Meanwhile, the twitter-sphere is out for blood. Someone has to pay! The zoo, the parents, the owner of the trucking company that transported the gorilla to the zoo—surely someone has to suffer because of the deeply sad occurrence.
Perhaps not. Maybe zoos and other public areas can reassess their safety features and make some changes after being emotionally shaken by this incident. Maybe all parents will be reminded of the speed with which a child can get into trouble. They can hug their children a bit tighter and commit to greater care while at the same time being reminded that as humans they cannot guarantee their children’s safety. Maybe the parents of the toddler who fell into the moat will feel a greater responsibility to raise their children to be givers to their community and country so that their presence is a blessing to the world. Maybe those who believe like PETA that an animal’s life is worth more than a human one will question deep inside themselves whether they truly would have rather seen the gorilla alive and the child dead. Maybe we can, as a society, accept that tragedies can occur without needing to demonize a scapegoat.
Obviously, if the scenario had played out on a movie screen, a different script could have been written. Instead, it was real life. Everyone on the spot did the best they could within the limitations of human frailty, time and place. That is called reality. The gorilla lost its life, the zoo lost its gorilla and its reputation, the parents lost equanimity and anonymity. As a society we have become less comfortable saying, “There but for the grace of God, go I,” and quicker to condemn and vilify. At what point do we say that there was enough loss and simply accept that bad things sometimes just do happen?
I was sent the following video by a friend and found it surprising and shocking. Especially when our cell phones constantly seduce us to look at them instead of around us, I urge you to take the time and see this before heading to the water with kids (or adults).
And…while you’re packing summer reading for when the kids are out of the water, don’t forget our 3 Thought Tool books. Light enough for summer; deep enough for growth.
Available in a money-saving set or separately