There are many issues on which I disagree with Donald Trump. But the Republican nominee got it right on his approval of the Cincinnati Zoo’s shooting of Harambe the gorilla.
Harambe made the news last week when a small four-year-old boy fell into the gorilla’s enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. As the huge silverback gorilla dragged the boy around “like a toy,” zoo officials rushed to subdue the animal. A zoo official managed to shoot and kill the animal, saving the boy.
Job well done, you might say. Well, it didn’t take too long for all the Monday-morning quarterbacks to emerge from the woodwork.
Critics are now blaming the zoo for the “senseless death” of the animal. One “expert” even stated that the zoo should have attempted to negotiate with the gorilla, and animal rights supporters have organized a vigil outside the zoo. Another prominent environmentalist, blogging on the Huffington Post, argued that ultimately, the life of the silverback gorilla was worth more than that of the child and decried the “ideology of human supremacy.” (HuffPo ought to be ashamed of itself for publication of such dangerous drivel.)
As Rich Lowry observes, the emotional reaction to the shooting recalls the truth of G.K. Chesterton’s aphorism: “wherever there is animal worship, there is human sacrifice.” Thankfully, the zoo’s director, Thane Maynard, refused to back down, saying that he stands by the decision to shoot and would do it again if the circumstances repeated themselves.
The destruction of any of God’s creations is unfortunate. Silverback gorillas, additionally, are creatures of beauty, and the destruction of beautiful creatures can definitely cause pangs of regret in people’s hearts. But a human soul is infinitely more precious and infinitely more beautiful. The zoo’s decision not to risk the infinite beauty of a human life for the aesthetics of a gorilla ought to have been a no-brainer.
So thank you, Cincinnati Zoo, for saving the life of a four-year-old, and for reminding us of our moral priorities.