Debate has raged over the death of Harambe the gorilla. As you have heard, Harambe was shot and killed to protect toddler who slipped through the railing and plummeted more than 10 feet into the exhibit’s moat. While animal experts and activists believe the Cincinnati Zoo was right to fatally shoot Harambe, that alone did not offset the public scrutiny of the parents.
Critics felt the zoo should have done more before killing Harambe and many urged authorities to hold the boy’s parents criminally responsible, with an online petition called “Justice for Harambe” had more than 330,000 signatures Tuesday.
In truth, I believe zoo officials had to a make a critical, probably correct, but politically incorrect decision. And I honor them for that decision.
Whether the toddler’s parents are charged or not isn’t my issue. What bothers me is the 32-year-old Cincinnati mother’s now-deleted Facebook post, thanking the zoo for making the difficult decision to shoot the gorilla to save her son. The post, in part, quotes, “God protected my child until the authorities were able to get him.” Further, “Thank you to everyone that helped me and my son today and most importantly God for being the awesome God that He is.”
What bothers me is our society’s overuse of God’s intervention toward the good while not acknowledging the reverse. In other words, if God positively impacted events and protected this child from Harambe, then does He not stand passively aside while countless other children perished? Why did God protect this child and not others?
For instance, several days ago a north Texas man shot and killed his 3-year-old stepson, Dominic Tra’Juan Castro, because he was upset the child was jumping on the bed. In what authorities called a tragic accident, a 2-year-old girl was found dead inside her mother’s car at a Mississippi daycare. The mother thought she had taken her child to daycare before going to work. Also, a 9-year-old boy died after being shot in the head near Indianapolis. Police say the shooting occurred Friday afternoon at an apartment complex in the community.
So was God there or not there to protect these children? While the list of children hurt or killed remains endless, we are quick to praise God for apparent miracles while simultaneously remaining silent for His lack of accountability. We cannot experience God one way. To do so is an affront to those who’ve suffered tremendous agony.
Final food for thought – if God was so heavily involved with protecting the child, why’d Harambe have to die? Couldn’t both have been saved?
Paraphrasing from Rabbi Brad Hirschfield’s logic after 9/11, if you’re going to tell me about how God protected your child, you better also be able to explain how God did not protect other children. The test of that has to do with going and saying it to the person who just buried a child and look in their eyes and tell them God’s plan was to allow the death of their child. Look at them and tell them that God’s plan was that their family should go to bed every night for the rest of their lives without their son or daughter. If you can say that, well, at least you’re honest. I don’t worship the same God, but that at least has integrity.
Personally, the child is alive because of quick acting dedicated zoo staff. Nothing more, nothing less.