Rev. Susan K. Smith

Rev. Susan K. Smith

(GEORGE CURRY MEDIA)—The story is old as news cycles go: a 3-year-old toddler fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and the end-result is that the gorilla was shot and killed, but the toddler was rescued, apparently unharmed.

It’s a bittersweet end-result, yes? The little boy is Okay; the 400-pound gorilla, probably pretty stunned that the little guy was in his space, dragged him around but didn’t hurt him. But because the situation was so tenuous, zoo authorities decided the only way to insure the safety of the child was to shoot and kill Harambe, the gorilla.

Immediately, the outcry and outrage rose to deafening levels. An online petition was begun by animal rights activists, and had by the next day garnered more than 330,000 signatures. Activists said that the gorilla should have been tranquilized, not killed. However, zoo authorities and animal behavior experts said they decided to kill Harambe because they were not sure tranquilization would have worked—and would not have worked immediately—and might have actually enraged the animal, putting the little boy in more danger. (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/harambe-gorilla-killed-cincinnati-zoo-had-pay-price-experts-n583146)

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