The Life of the Child Was More Valuable Than the Life of Harambe the Gorilla

Opinion   |   Wesley Smith   |   May 31, 2016   |   2:52PM   |   Washington, DC

I hoped to avoid comment on the killing of Harambe the gorilla. But I keep getting asked, so here goes.

Rich is correct, it is not a close call, but I think a bit more needs to be written:

  • The sturm und drang over the killed gorilla is a disturbing sign of our emotionally-driven times, in which “feeling” counts so much more than “thinking,” and many seem to value animal life as high–or higher–than that of human beings.
  • The life of the child was infinitely more valuable than that of the gorilla.
  • The question of whether the gorilla was “protecting” the child is irrelevant. The boy was in mortal danger, whether or not the gorilla intended harm.
  • Saving human life is paramount, so in the heat of the mortal danger, I don’t see what other choice could have been made to ensure the child was not injured or killed.
  • Drudge used the word, “murder” to describe the killing. He’s hyping clicks (I hope). Only human beings can be ”murdered,” which is a particularly heinous act because it involves the death of a human being.
  • It is, indeed, very sad that the gorilla had to die because somebody screwed up so terribly, resulting in the child placed in mortal danger.
  • Only humans would care so much about a killed gorilla, our empathy being one of the aspects of our natures that make us exceptional.
  • There should be an investigation, and if warranted, legal accountability for the outrageous endangering of the child, whether of the parents or the zoo, or both.

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Here’s the most disturbing part: I suspect many people are more emotional about the killing of the gorilla than they would have been had the child been killed. Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.