I know you've read it on the news. A child in a zoo somehow managed to find his way into a gorilla enclosure, resulting in the gorilla being shot and killed. The internet being well, the internet, has all kinds of wild theories on the subject ranging from "shoddy zookeeping" to "that mother should have been shot instead."
Now, I'm not here to comment on the parenting abilities of that mother, the zoo keeping of that zoo, or the moral dilemma that is killing an endangered animal. No, the internet in their infinite wisdom and superior knowledge in all of these facets have done plenty of that for me.
No, I'm here to comment on you, internet. How meta.
Did I miss something? When the fuck did an animal's life become more important than one of a human? I don't think you'd think twice about shooting a rat that was about to bite your kid and give them rabies. Now, if the animal is a pet, you're in for it - god forbid you put down the vicious dog who bit your child (why weren't you supervising them?), but if they're endangered you might as well be Hitler. 6 billion people in the world and only 100,000 gorillas so sorry kiddo, you're not as important.
Herein lies the problem.
It doesn't matter if there's 6 billion of something or 1 of it, if it's not a sentient life form its life doesn't matter the same way. That gorilla could not have listened to reason like you or I. If a human being was there doing the same actions to the child, they would have been met with a similar fate. No one is calling out victims of a deranged psychopath for "going too close to something that doesn't understand" and getting themselves killed. No one thinks twice about locking up anyone who beats a child or worse.
The child, being still in development, had a momentary lapse in judgement. This is why adult people need to take care of child people. The gorilla, on the other hand, was acting purely on its instinct. It was spooked and self preservation kicked in. These are huge animals, I cautiously would say killing machines. Unlike a human, there is no way it can eventually mature and understand things that we do.
Now, you could argue that humans are killing machines too, blah blah it's our responsibility to protect gorillas by that same logic, that they don't understand, but we already do that. We protect them and are trying to conserve them. We have laws against hunting them where we can make them. No matter which way you slice it a gorilla is not equal to a human simply because one day that child will grow up, just like we did, to be able to sit at a computer and bitch about other people sitting at their computers all interconnected around the world while those gorilla bros as still sitting around eating fruit not figuring out how to stop the horrible human uprising.
If anything, the blame should be placed on you, judger. Have you ever visited a zoo to gawk at these creatures? Zoos do good work, sure, but their displays and admission costs are what keeps that going. How about you donate your money and instead of getting an activity earn the smug satisfaction of helping the Earth. Or how about you consider your own ecological footprint and how you personally have been impacting gorilla habitat. Better still, get out of your armchair and get your ass out to volunteer and save these creatures that are more important to you than a little boy.
The only one who's a shitty person in this whole ordeal is the person who thinks a human life is less important than an animal. It doesn't matter if mom's neglectful (that's for the child welfare system to decide) or her child ran off in an instant any animal who is harming a human must be stopped. If this was my kid I would not give a flying fuck about the well being of the gorilla. If it was your kid, even if you're a piece of shit parent, I will shoot that beast myself to save the tyke's life.
Kal Ross is a LGBT blogger who writes about his experience being transgender, transitioning with 5 small children, parenting, frugal living, and minimalism. This article originally appeared on Small Town Nerds.