RANGER AGAINST WAR: Gorilla Violence <

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Gorilla Violence

  The extraordinary gentleness of the adult male [gorilla]
with his young dispels all the King Kong mythology
--Dian Fossey

Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities
connected with the social instincts
which in us would be called moral
--Charles Darwin
All the arguments to prove man's superiority
cannot shatter this hard fact:
in suffering the animals are our equals 
--Rattling the Cage, Steven Wise

 SUBTITLE: #Ape Lives Matter.

I did not want to read the gorilla story. But when I saw the film of the gorilla’s approach to the child and subsequent behavior, the horror of the decision to murder the animal became obvious.

Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, leaned in to the water and scooped the child up carefully in both of his arms. At that moment, when the people realized a three-year-old had rolled down into the ravine, all hell broke loose (this video is missing the initial moment of encounter, before the human screaming began.)

Gorillas are gentle giants, largely vegetarian (Western lowland gorillas like Harambe, however, also eat termites and ants). Very shy and reserved, they must be provoked before they will attack. Though nothing in the gorilla's behavior indicated distress, the suddenly restive crowd began screaming like banshees, resembling nothing so much as a troupe of screaming chimps (our closer relatives).

Meanwhile, the distressed gorilla looked up and reacting to this tumult, scampered off with the child in tow for cover, into a grotto. This animal sat with the child for almost 20 minutes before the kill decision was executed. Why?

He did not hang the child by the leg, or throw him up in the air for pleasure, as some humans do to their young. He did not bash its head against the side of a ravine to kill the child, as Nazis did. He did not impale him on a bamboo shoot, all actions which the clever human has devised for meting out violence to his fellows.

After 20 minutes the child was unharmed; he was released from the hospital the next day after being treated for contusions probably suffered mostly from falling 20 feet into the ravine. It is unlikely during those 20 minutes that the animal was cogitating upon even more heinous ways that he might off the child.

But sadly, anger and violence is the first thing that comes to the human mind. Even though it was the human child who had breached the animal’s space; in our world, we have "Castle Laws", and a home invasion would warrant a kill. That is not the tack Harambe took.

We watch shows like “Zoo” which curry the paranoid mindset that the animals -- everything from rats to squid -- are plotting to murder us. Movies like “Jaws” and “Willard” enthrall us, allowing us to pay vicarious penance for the violence we have meted out to our animal brethren.

The decision against darting made little sense, for if the animal became agitated, then the ultimate move to kill could have been executed. He was captive in a small enclosure, nowhere to escape. Why was there no reaction plan in place for the eventuality of a careless parent?

What could have been an inspirational story for this child and the rest of us, turned out to be yet one more vulgar story of human neglect followed by overreaction, and finally, justification for violence.

The gorilla's death is yet one more example of the sad human recourse to violence-as-solution.

Poor gorilla. He showed more humanity than his killers.


~Stupidity Masquerading as Violence

~A Year in Provenance: Violence in Public Discourse

Labels: , , , , ,


Blogger Underground Carpenter said...


That was beautifully written. Thank you.


Saturday, June 18, 2016 at 6:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you, Dave.

Monday, June 20, 2016 at 11:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very much in agreement with UC, thanks Lisa.
Hi to you & Jim.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 10:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Howdy, Carl :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at 11:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger jo6pac said...


Sunday, July 10, 2016 at 9:05:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home