Moms have been going at Michelle Gregg old-school, Hester Prynne style because her 4-year-old son ultimately caused a beloved, endangered silverback gorilla’s death by slipping, undetected, into his home at the Cincinnati Zoo. Let’s slap a big S on her chest for “Sh*tty Mom,” smear her reputation with rotten eggs and Child Protective Services, and tar and feather her in the public square of mom shaming. That will bring Harambe back!
What the f*ck is wrong with you, moms? If anyone should be on the bashing bandwagon it is me, and I am smart enough to let it pass me by.
I am one of those annoying vegetarians you dread at your summer cookout, the one who adheres to the BYOVB (Bring Your Own Veggie Burgers) mantra— and wants them cooked far, far away from the meat. I don’t eat anything that once had a pulse or a parent. I will carefully comb through the ingredients on a container of yogurt, much to my fiancé’s chagrin, to check for gelatin before I pick up a spoon. And it’s not a passing phase; I have been steadfast in my veggie loving ways for more than 25 years. I adore animals, am against zoos, and won’t take my kid to a circus unless it showcases only human entertainment.
Still, as a mom—animal activist beliefs aside—I know Harambe had to be killed.
I can relate to Michelle Gregg and, if you climb off your holier-than-thou high horse, you can, too. Undoubtedly, you have firsthand knowledge of how curious, how stealth, how unstoppable a little kid can be in 2.2 seconds, yes? In the time it takes to tie your other kid’s shoe, or answer a phone call, or get a snack from the undercarriage of your stroller, your baby could climb under a fence and fall 20 feet into a gorilla enclosure that clearly wasn’t up to code. What happened to Michelle Gregg could happen to you or any hyper-vigilant mom who is, indeed, a human being.
Imagine being her. Imagine helplessly watching your defenseless child at the mercy and the whim of a gigantic, 420-lb. gorilla capable of crushing a coconut with one hand. Many scientists speculate that an entire football team would be no match for the wrath of an angry gorilla. Yes, gorillas are typically peace-loving vegetarians who can be protective of humans, as Harambe originally demonstrated when he scooped the boy up. But, like any other animal, they can be spooked, provoked, defensive. A horrified crowd watched Harambe violently drag the little boy through a foot of water; the sheer force of that action, regardless of Harambe’s intentions, could have harmed the kid.
Would you be okay with leaving your child’s life in the hands of an unpredictable ape? I certainly wouldn’t. I am not a gun enthusiast by any means, but I would take aim and fire at anything that threatened the life of my child (I’d probably miss and cause more mayhem, but you get what I am saying).
Why aren’t you turning your venom on the zoo that snatched the gorilla out of his habitat and held him captive in an enclosure that could be breached by an innocent 4-year-old? Why aren’t you crying foul against the dad who was there too (it’s like no one believes dads are worth shaming, that the societal expectation is they’re non-parents with their heads up their butts)? Why do we, as moms, turn our collective fury on a mom who is probably just like us? She took her kids to the zoo to create a memory and it turned into a day she will never forget…for all the wrong reasons.
This mom has been mercilessly slaughtered and hung out to dry by women who should be standing with her in solidarity. I, for one, was in awe of her composure when I watched the raw footage. She kept yelling out to her child in a soothing voice: “Mommy’s right here. I love you. Be calm.” I would have probably been a sobbing, freaked-out mess in her shoes. Her son was being dragged around like a rag doll by a primate in captivity for f*ck’s sake!
It’s unreal to me that even now, more than a week letter, the scathing attacks against this mom are picking up steam, that people wish her little boy died instead of the ape, that they want to take her kid way. A Change.org petition—“Justice for Harambe”—has more than 500,000 signatures and reads in part: “We the undersigned actively encourage an investigation of the child’s home environment in the interests of protecting the child and his siblings from further incidents of parental negligence that may result in serious bodily harm or even death.” Seriously? Blame the zoo!
As an animal lover, I mourn the loss of Harambe. As a mom, I celebrate the life of Michelle Gregg’s four-year-old boy…and I value it more.
Do you think the mom bashing against Michelle Gregg is a bit much, or is it warranted?
This article was originally published on The Huffington Post here.