My initial response to the Cincinnati Zoo incident, where a gorilla was killed after a boy had fallen into its cage was, like many others, full of anger.
My first question was how could a mother not pay attention to her child?
I was angry that a rare beast had been shot because of human ignorance.
However, I didn’t outright state this opinion, nor did I post it on the internet.
I decided to do something my fellow Facebookers had not done with their memes of gorillas that said, “I was killed because a b**** wasn’t watching her child.”
I decided to do some research.
I came across an article in Time titled “The Cincinnati Zoo Mom Is My Hero” and decided to give it a read. What I found was a new perspective.
The author spoke about an incident with her daughter who had fallen into a pool when her back was turned for a second.
“I can relate to the mother of the toddler at the Cincinnati Zoo. I imagine many other parents can, too,” she wrote.
Now, I question why the internet is so quick to judge the mother of the child and not the father, who also should have been held accountable and why people form these half-baked opinions before reading both sides.
The article made me think of another rare beast that was shot and caused an internet uproar; Cecil the lion.
I’m not commending the acts of the poacher, nor am I saying that he didn’t deserve to get the backlash that ensued after he wasn’t prosecuted.
But, how far does internet justice go?
His name will be forever associated with “poacher” and his dentistry practice, his livelihood, closed.
His vacation home was vandalized with scrawl of “lion killer” plastered on the garage door. His reputation is ruined indefinitely.
So, how far will this go for the mother who may, or may not, have turned her back on her child for a whole five seconds?
I want to know if people will remember her as “irresponsible mother” when she is asked for her name.
In the digital age it’s great that we, as people, have so many ways to let our voices be heard.
I love Canada for the freedom to criticize our government and discuss issues that bother us.
I love that we have that right, because not all countries do.
But, we must be aware that what we say and what we share online has consequences. Our voices can ruin innocent people’s lives.
The internet is a powerful tool — a tool that allows us to gather information from multiple sources in a matter of minutes.
So before spouting a popular opinion, make sure that opinion is an educated one and is one that you believe in.
It’s great to be passionate about a cause, the world needs passionate people, just remember to do your research.