Harambe (June 2016 Newsletter)

I was really hesitant to write about this topic, but it has become such a hot button issue in the last week that I felt I needed to address it.  The truth is, some of you may not even be aware of the situation as it stands right now.  That is because it is taking place in Cincinnati, OH, and I am not sure if it has made the Current-Argus or the local news.  Because I have so many friends and family members in the Ohio and Tennessee regions, however, this situations has been hotly debated and talked about on social media.  In fact, I cannot tell you the last time I scrolled through Facebook and did not see something regarding the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo.  If you do not know what happened, let me briefly explain.

On Saturday, May 28, a four year old boy got away from his parents for a split second and climbed into the Gorilla enclosure at the zoo.  It was no easy feat, as he had to crawl down a 15-foot drop designed to keep the gorillas in and people out, but none the less, he got in.  It is the only time in the history of the zoo in Cincinnati that someone has gotten into an enclosure.  A 400-pound male silverback Gorilla named Harambe came toward the boy.  To make a long story short, in an effort to save the boy (the gorilla more than likely would have killed or seriously injured him, intentionally or unintentionally) the zookeepers decided that the best course of action was to shoot and kill Harambe.  Tranquilizers might not take work quick enough, and Harambe and the boy were both in a moat of water.  If tranquilizers did work, Harambe could drown, but he could have also fallen on the boy and drowned him as well.  So, Harambe was shot, the boy saved, but the events of that day have started a firestorm on the internet. 

Mike Edmisten, a ministry friend of mine that I have quoted before, wrote this on his Facebook page the day after the incident; “The internet in Cincinnati is about to melt down about the situation at the zoo yesterday.  As an animal lover and zoo member, the whole thing makes me sad. Very sad.  But let’s be clear about one thing…a child is worth more than a gorilla.”  That statement was the first I had heard of the incident, and that is when I started looking into it a little bit.  There are so many people that are furious that a gorilla had to die in order to protect a human child.  There are so many people that are coming out screaming that the parents of the child be held completely responsible for the death of Harambe.  There are animal rights activists that are completely up in arms about the whole incident.  Remember, this was a four-year old child, and there are people calling him a brat and holding him responsible for the gorilla’s death.

Here is the thing.  I am saddened by the fact that Harambe was killed.  It gives me no joy to know that a very rare and beautiful animal lost his life.  But given the choice of the animal dying or the child being harmed, there is no choice to me.  A child’s life is more important than any animal.  In the creation account  in Genesis 1, it tells us that God created the animals.  Then in Genesis 1:26-28 it tells us about the creation of mankind.  It records; ‘“26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”’(italics mine for emphasis)

From the beginning, we were put in charge of the animals.  Not to abuse them, but we are created in God’s image, while animals are not.  Human life is more important.  As for those that are basically wanting the parents crucified for this, just remember that accidents happen.  Should the child have been able to get into the enclosure, no.  Kids get away from parents all the time.  This just all goes back to the mentality that we have to blame someone for everything that happens.  Accidents happen, and that’s all this was.  A tragic accident.  From Mike again, and I’ll end with this, “I’m all for personal responsibility, but when did we lose sight of the fact that accidents really do happen?”

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