Gorilla Warfare

What are my thoughts on the Cincinnati zoo situation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife likes to watch the Weather Channel during tornado season and when I’m done with what I need to do on the internet, I tend to like to stay off of it. Therefore, I am somewhat surprised to see posts yesterday talking about a gorilla incident. Now I stroll on Facebook after reading more about it and it’s pretty much all that I see.

It really saddens me that on a day like yesterday when we should have spent more time focusing on the fact that our fellow human beings gave their lives for us, we were more concerned about a gorilla who died.

Now of course, none of us delight over what happened. None of us woke up and said “Wow. Today would be a great day to see a gorilla get killed.” Not liking an outcome does not mean that the wrong actions were done. Sometimes you can do the right thing and feel absolutely miserable. If that has never happened to you, then I wonder how often you are really doing the right thing.

I also happen to agree with many who are saying that there is outrage over the death of a gorilla, but how much outrage have you heard over the deaths of children in abortion? In fact, I have a suspicion that a lot of people raising the gorilla outrage really have no problem with abortion. What I see as a great danger is how our society is trying to put everything on an equal level.

Equality can be a great thing, but it only works if we recognize what is truly equal. We are all equally human for instance, but we have a lot of differences after that. We have differences in sex, race, body build, intelligence, athletic ability, artistic talent, emotional differences, genetic differences, etc. You could go on to add many more to this list. We can’t treat all of us as absolutely equal in every way. We’re not. We’re not supposed to be. If we were all exactly alike, this world would likely be a pretty boring place. (Not to mention our species would have died out long ago.)

What happens if you try to treat those distances like they don’t matter? What would happen if you wanted to put someone like myself, a man who just barely weighs 120, out on the football field to play a game because, hey, we’re all equal and those differences don’t matter? Then what would happen if you took the football player who would normally play that position and have them be studying NT Christianity in depth? (Now to be fair, that can be done, but most football players aren’t known for being experts in the NT.) There are ways men are different from women beyond physical characteristics and vice-versa.

The danger with the drive for equality is that we want equality of outcome instead of equality of start. We want in the end everyone to be equal instead of realizing what we all have in common at the start and then going from there. Now we extend it beyond humans and want to say that all animals fall into the same pattern.

For instance, when it comes to debates on homosexuality I get involved in, I often hear “This is natural because we see this happening in the animal world.” The hidden premise there being that if it is natural, then we should accept it. Let’s suppose that this is really what’s going on and there really is homosexual behavior in the animal world. (I have heard dissenting opinions, but I’m not a zoologist so I can’t state either way) Okay. We also see in the animal world that many animals happen to eat their own young. Do we want humans to start cooking their children for dinner? Now if you’re going to say that example doesn’t follow, then neither does the prior unless you have some argument to show that the above is a valid exception.

Yet the point is still that there’s this underlying idea that we are all just animals. Of course, one could say that we are in Aristotelian terms, “rational animals”, but we are different from the animals around us not just by degree but by kind. We are capable of thinking abstractly. Animals are not.

Our effort to make everyone and everything equal isn’t something that lifts humanity up. It more lowers us. We aren’t raising up the animals either. The animals are still being the same. Treat them like gods or treat them like food. On the whole, the animals will behave the same way. What will be lowered will be the worth of the human species instead, and that is what we see happening when people are more concerned about a gorilla being killed than about the possibility of a child being killed.

“Well couldn’t they have just tranquilized?” We all would have loved to have seen that happen, but real life is not like what you see in the movies. A large part of why we think this way is we’ve seen so many Disney cartoons where animals have been turned into humans pretty much who walk and talk and have their own personalities and reason through matters like we do. That’s good fantasy, but bad reality. One other fantasy is that if you shoot a tranquilizer dart at a gorilla, that it will conk out immediately. Well no. It won’t.

Even if it takes just a few minutes, in those few minutes, this gorilla has been shot with something and doesn’t know where it came from and will be much more agitated than before. You know who’s at risk the most then? The child. Are you seriously willing to risk the life of a child for that? (And if you’re one of those who are actually saying yes, and they do exist, you are indeed part of the problem in our society.)

While I can’t speak as a parent, I can speak as a human being. If it had been someone like say my own wife who is more capable of reasoning and could have known more how to get away, I still would not want a chance to be taken. If I had to, I would have taken up arms myself and gone in and taken out a million gorillas to get to her and I would not have remorse about it. I would be in good company. The medievals are said to have said that one human being is worth more than the entire universe. They were right.

It’s a shame so many people spent Memorial Day arguing over something that should have been a no-brainer really. Our soldiers did not die so that animals could be free. They died for us. They died so we could be free and not free to protest about animals, but free to be good citizens and build up a society of virtuous people and pursue that which is good. How many of us are busy doing that? (And yes, I need to do that just as much)

By all means, be sad that this tragedy happened. If you’re wondering my thoughts on the mother involved, we frankly don’t know enough yet. If she left her child alone and went off somewhere else, well yes, that is a problem. Still, we all know stories from good parents who look away for just a second and their child has got caught in chaos. It can happen. Without knowing all about that aspect, I’m not ready to comment on the mother. Still, I would give her some time because right now, she just needs to rejoice that her child is alive and if it was because of neglect on her part, I would hope this experience would be all the lesson she needs.

I look forward to the day when there’s more outrage from people about abortion than about gorillas. Unfortunately, our society has reached a point where we have chosen to tolerate the evil of abortion and said we will not tolerate killing animals to save humans. Again, we have not lifted animals up. We have just lowered ourselves and our fellow human beings. We can only deny reality so much before we pay the price for it.

I hope we wake up soon.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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