What the Gorilla's Death Teaches Us About Our Culture

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A mom's mishap brought a tsunami of public shame over social media.
A mom's mishap brought a tsunami of public shame over social media. (Rob Schreckhise)

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed Memorial Day morning, I saw this letter: "An open letter to the mom of the boy who fell in the gorilla enclosure."

Having not yet heard about the boy who managed to get in the gorilla enclosure at the zoo, I was naturally intrigued by this title.

The letter was kind and gracious, but the comments revealed a whole different side to the way our society thinks today.

Let me start out by saying this:

There are many people out there who, despite not having been present when this situation occurred, seem to have intimate knowledge about how well the mother was watching her child.

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I find this puzzling, because those who actually were present when the boy got in the enclosure with the gorilla paint a whole different picture of this mother.

And I must insert myself here, being a mother of two boys, one of which is extremely active and at time precocious. It doesn't even take so much as a split second to take your eye off your child for him to get into something he shouldn't.

This could have happened to any parent, and it unfortunately happened to her. I can only imagine the amount of terror she must have felt until her child was rescued.

And lest she thought that knowing her child—although seriously injured—did not have life-threatening injuries could bring peace to her mommy-heart, little did she know that it was only the beginning of the story.

Moms are incredibly hard on themselves. We blame ourselves for every cold, every flu, and every injury. The accusations in our head tell us if we "had only done ___________ (insert any number of helicopter-parenting skills here)" we could have somehow prevented whatever it was that assailed our child.

We are not God.

No amount of helicopter parenting can ever prevent bad things—even tragic things—from happening to our children.

And the most helicopter of parents will at some point sneeze or be distracted by a bird flying three inches above their heads or a voice that sounds familiar and take their eagle eye off their child ... only to discover that this is the exact amount of time it takes for a child to go from the safety of his mother's watchful eye into danger.

And beware that this ever happen to you because all of Hades will be brought down upon your head by the millions of people who have either never parented, and thus have no idea what it means to care for another human life who ever lives to extricate himself from his parents' care, or who have chosen to raise their children on deserted islands where no danger ever exists anywhere, and thus have no idea what it means to raise children in the real world.

But there is an even more serious lesson to be learned from this tsunami of public shaming we've been subjected to on social media.

It actually goes back 150 years to the theory that man was not created, but rather evolved from apes.

By erasing the hand of God from existence of mankind, and the very important fact that mankind was created in the image of Almighty God, as opposed to all other life forms, the value of human life was demoted to that of every other living thing.

But God, throughout His Word, expresses that human life has greater value that animal life.

This is why, in Genesis, He gave mankind dominion over the animal kingdom. The value of human life is not equal to that of animal life, but greater.

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