Archive for May, 2016

If you use critical thinking, you’ll see why Harambe the gorilla needed to be shot dead.

Critical thinking 101: Unless you’re an expert in primatology, zoology, and child behavior, your opinions on the killing of Harambe are likely just an emotional overreaction. Chances are, you’re an “animal fanatic” – someone who’s incapable of having any empathy for your fellow humans. As a result, you transfer all of these emotions onto animals, and then take pride in this fact. So now another animal has been killed as the result of an unfortunate interaction with a human and you’ve gone into emotional hyperdrive. Let’s take a step back and apply some critical thinking to this situation.

Before You Type #JusticeForHarambe…

Remember that you’re not an expert in primatology. You might not even know what the word “primatology” means. By now, there have been hundreds of thousands of people who’ve said, tweeted, posted, and commented that “the gorilla wasn’t trying to hurt the boy, he was dragging him to keep him safe from the screaming tourists.” When I read/hear people saying this, a few questions come to mind, including:

  • Are you an expert in primatology?
  • Have you studied great apes in their habitant for years like Jane Goodall?
  • Do you even have a degree in zoology or animal behavior?
  • Are you a mind reader?
  • If you can’t answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you simply have NO idea what Harambe was thinking when he ragdolled that boy through the water with great force. There is no possible way you can interpret Harambe’s actions in any way as to make a definitive statement about the nature of the gorilla’s mindset. It really is that simple. We humans mistake the intentions of our fellow humans all the time, so how could we pretend to “know” the heart and mind of a wild animal?

    Before You Scream for the Mother’s Head…

    Please keep in mind that you’re also not a child behavioral specialist. You also weren’t at the zoo when this went down. Yet despite these facts, so many people are so certain that this is a slam-dunk case of parental neglect. “Well, that mother must’ve done something wrong for that to happen,” they say. This is an example of a cognitive bias known as the just-world fallacy.

    Many of you also have gone so far as to say that you would never let this happen with your children, blah, blah, blah, blah. Apparently, many people conveniently have forgotten how difficult caring for a child can be… and how easy it is for a young child to slip past his/her parents.

    I should know because my Autistic son got loose from a family member and nearly was killed.

    Nobody was necessarily being a “bad” or “negligent” parent that day. My son is very strong and very fast, and being Autistic, we don’t quite understand why he does this, we only know that he does. And while we take every precaution to safeguard his well-being, he still manages to do things that place him in danger, as most children are wont to do. Simply put, these things just happen and when they do, the situation is not always an indictment of anyone’s parenting skills.

    What if Harambe Dragged YOUR Child?

    If your child fell into a gorilla habitat, what would you do? If Harambe dragged your child through the water as forcefully as he did the child in Cincinnati, you would be screaming for zookeepers to “do something.” And if that “something” means shooting that “poor gorilla” dead, you would kiss the zookeeper’s feet and thank him for his good aim. Because let’s be honest, even if the gorilla WAS trying to “protect” the boy, I’m not sure that little kid’s body could withstand the force of what Harambe was doing.

    Critical Thinking for Harambe the Gorilla

    To wrap up our critical thinking exercise with Harambe the gorilla, let’s take a look at the facts. There’s no way you can “know” what Harambe the gorilla was thinking when he dragged that child. You have absolutely no clue whether this child’s mother is a negligent parent or not. But most of all, you can never say that this would never happen to you. Not if you’re being honest with yourself. Before you emotionally overreact, try using a little critical thinking.

    Do it for Harambe!

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