An Ohio prosecutor has a few words for parents who are emailing him about charging the mother of the 3-year-old boy who fell into the Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla exhibit. During a press conference today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced that he will not seek child endangerment charges against the mother of the boy and that, "If anyone doesn't believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they've never had kids."
Calls for the mother's arrest began shortly after the boy fell into the gorilla enclosure, forcing zoo officials to kill the silverback gorilla, Harambe. Parents, animal rights activists, and those with absolutely no ties to the incident insisted that the mother was to blame for the gorilla's death. That "if she had been paying attention to her child, this never would have happened." And that she was "careless" and "irresponsible." Parents were quick to announce that their children would never do that.
But the prosecutor came to the conclusion that, "By all accounts, this mother did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm." He went on to say, "Had she been in the bathroom smoking crack and let her kids run around the zoo that'd be a different story. She was attending to her children by all witness accounts, and the 3-year-old just scampered off." Something any parent of a curious child understands.
Now that the state has done their job, and the mother has been cleared of wrong-doing, maybe we can use this as a lesson about armchair quarterbacking (or is it armchair parenting?) in situations where we don't belong. Let's let the authorities do their job when it comes to policing and let's do our job in caring for our own children.
Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, the child appears to be doing OK. He suffered a concussion and some scrapes but is recovering now. "The family is very pleased with this decision; it is what we expected," the family said in a statement released by their spokeswoman Gail Myers. "This is one more step in allowing us to put this tragic episode behind us and return to our normal family life."
It should be a step in all of us returning our attention to our families' lives too.