Here’s a Perspective You Might Not Have Heard in the Gorilla vs. Little Boy Debate

Written by Michael Cummings on June 3, 2016

“You know, if it’s between my heart or a gorilla’s…sorry, Koko. It’s been nice signing with you.”
–Dennis Miller in his book Ranting Again

Is it possible to witness an accident in person or on the news, and call it what it is — an accident? I honestly don’t believe a tragedy can occur anymore without mobs sprinting to assign full blame and damnation for one or all parties involved.

Ladies and gentlemen, we could have witnessed a gorilla tearing a little boy limb from limb, in front of his family. They would have had to live with that horror the rest of their lives. Instead, we saw skilled and dedicated human beings saving another human being. Knowing how horrific the boy’s death could have been at the coconut-crushing hands of a 400-pound beast, you would think we’d all be grateful. Not so. The boy’s family is now being investigated.

The family of a boy who entered a Cincinnati Zoo gorilla’s enclosure last weekend — spurring zoo officials to shoot and kill the animal — will be the focus of an investigation into the incident, Cincinnati police said Tuesday.

Why can’t we let it go?

I grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota. On the way to Mt. Rushmore sits a great tourist attraction called Bear Country USA, a drive-through animal park that lets you get up close to black bears, elk, bison, wolves, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and mountain lions. The separate grizzly bear exhibit isn’t much different than the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla habitat in that a wide and deep gap separates visitors from the bears. Anyone can hop the rail, jump into the dry moat, and roll the dice, but so far no one has tried. There must be thousands of similar animal enclosures around the world with the same goal: Keep the animals in. Despite the potential for widespread, animal-on-human carnage, tragedies like Cincinnati rarely happen.

In my view we have a bigger problem than keeping humans out of animal structures: Assigning humanity to animals. At, a petition was set up with the name “Justice for Harambe.” As of this writing, it has garnered over 415,000 signatures. How do you give an animal justice, when our justice system isn’t intended for animals? On the lighter side, there are those who probably don’t give it much thought when they call dogs their “four-legged children” or “our little baby.” And have you noticed the increasing number of stores like Home Depot that let anyone bring in their dogs and walk the aisles? In Sweden, a restaurant added a menu for dogs so patrons can dine with them. Lest you think this isn’t a slippery slope, you should know people are marrying their dogs.

I do not have a stone heart. My family could tell you stories regarding the chickens we raised, my first antelope kill, and a duck I befriended after having winged it with a 12 gauge. I won’t talk about the dog that died on my birthday in 1991. We can have heart, and still maintain standards.

All I’m asking for is perspective. Dennis Prager clarifies it this way:

Since the 1970s, I have asked students if they would first try to save their drowning dog or a drowning stranger. And for 40 years I have received the same results: One third vote for their dog, one third for the stranger, and one third don’t know what they would do.

Please, let’s all affirm our vote for the human stranger.

Probably the most important perspective, something The Blaze‘s Matt Walsh brought up the other day, is that while we scope locked on a dead animal that resulted in saving the life of a little boy, let’s keep in mind that since January of this year, almost 17 and half MILLION babies – human babies – were murdered in their mothers’ wombs. Curiously, I couldn’t find any petitions for these children.

Animals are great, they are necessary, many are tasty, but even a bad human being rises above all animals, and deserves dignity.

Image:; Flickr;Bart Dubelaar; CC by 2.0

Share if you agree humans lives trump animals lives every time.

Michael Cummings
Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.