Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 3, 2016

Are We There, Yet?

Jay Edwards

I called Fred on Tuesday morning, on my way into work after a three-day weekend that had left me wanting more. 

“Should they have shot that gorilla?” I asked, baiting him.

“No, I don’t think so,” Fred answered. “The kid was OK, he had already survived a 15-foot drop.” 

“Yeah, that must be one tough kid,” I agreed. “But what if he was your kid and you were standing up there watching him being drug around like a rag doll by a giant Mountain Silverback. And then the zoo sniper walks over. Are you saying you’d tell him not to shoot?

“Well,” Fred hesitated. “I guess they couldn’t risk trying to just wound him. That might just agitate him.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, “that’s why they didn’t shoot him with a tranquilizer.”

“It was a no win situation,” Fred said.

“Well, I’m not sure the kid’s mom doesn’t feel like she won something, like maybe the “second-chance at parenthood lottery.” And what about the kid? I think he won too.”

“I just hated to see the gorilla be killed,” Fred said.

“Yeah, but these CNN spots of public outrage, that ran all day yesterday, as I channel flipped between “In Harm’s Way” and “The Great Escape” and “Pearl Harbor,” were ridiculous; or maybe I should say the public who were outraging about it are ridiculous. How much outraging are these same people doing about starving children in Africa? Or about child and spousal abuse, or about sexual assaults on college campuses, or about a hundred other things that are an affront to decency and doing the right thing?”

“Well, isn’t it good they are speaking out for something?” Fred asked. “I mean, what have you got against gorillas anyway?” 

“I love gorillas. Whenever I go to the zoo the first place I go and the place I stay the longest is the gorilla exhibit. They are beautiful and fascinating creatures. But now the incident in Cincinnati has brought more outraged hecklers out of the woodwork. You know who I mean bud, those people who sit around and watch the news, waiting, hoping they can hear something that will give them cause to show off their extreme disgust and indignation. So they can say things like, ‘As one of the most decent people I or any of my friends know, I cannot stand by without strongly protesting this terrible injustice against gorillas.’ 

“Let’s say it had gone down differently. Let’s say, the zoo guys decided to shoot the beast with a tranquilizer. And as soon as they do, he goes crazy and kills the boy. Or they decide instead to wait and watch, hoping the gorilla gets bored and leaves the kid alone. But instead, he gets bored and kills the kid. If that had happened, how many of these same CNN/MSNBC/FOX outraged hecklers would be on TV screaming, ‘Why in the name of God didn’t you shoot him??? It’s because of you waiting that he killed that poor helpless child!’”

Fred said, “Well…” but I was on a roll.

“Come on bud, what is it they really want? I’ll tell you what they want, they want their holier than thou God-given American reality TV five minutes of fame, so that when they’re old and too tired to march in lines of outrage anymore, they can pull out their CNN DVD one Christmas, when the family is all full of turkey and pie, and show that brief shining moment when they stood up for gorillas. 

“Maybe you’re right,” Fred said. “But you better not write it. You don’t want a bunch of outraged hecklers showing up at your office.”

“Good point.”

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.