The world is currently in the grips of a minor fascination with the rescue of a Thai soccer team that managed to get themselves trapped in a cave. The situation feels ripe for a comment about going considerably out of our way to prevent Darwin from protecting the gene pool, but I’ll let that go for now.
Maybe I’ve just led a charmed life, but I can’t remember a single time when I looked at a hole in the earth and thought, “Self, what you need to do is grab a flashlight and climb down.” That’s especially true when I have no special knowledge, skills, or abilities that would in any way prepare me for leading or participating in such an activity. Hell, I mean I don’t particularly like being in a small room – in a building above ground. While my record of doing dumb shit as a kid is not spotless, we managed to keep away from the biggies – like falling down a well or getting trapped in a flooded cave. There but for the grace? Maybe, but it also feels like maybe they were not paying nearly enough attention to the quiet voice of self preservation.
It is well that the latest global human interest story seems to be trundling towards its end, but it hasn’t yet answered the question about why anyone thought dragging a bunch of kids into an enclosed space was a good idea in the first place.
In the case of the angry gorilla versus the ill disciplined four year old, I tend to side with the gorilla. I tend to fall on the side of the animals in most cases, except when it involves issues of the ones western civilization has proclaimed tasty when flame broiled.
The case at hand seems relatively straightforward. The youngster was repeatedly told by those who allegedly care for his well being that he was not going into the gorilla enclosure. He failed to follow those instructions and received the opening salvo of what would surely have been an epic beat down for his efforts. It’s a most pure example of action and consequence that we’re likely to see this week. It’s downright darwinian in its simplicity – except that we stepped in rather than letting the gene pool cleanse itself a bit.
But surely, someone will say, you value human life more than a gorilla’s? Yeah, except I generally don’t. From a purely numerical standpoint, there are only a few hundred thousand gorillas in existence versus the more than seven billion humans. The death of a human, while tragic to that individual and the immediate group of family and friends, simply doesn’t make that much difference to the world at large. The death of a single gorilla, because their population is so small, is orders of magnitude more important by contrast. Of course that analysis is only true when we’re willing to look at humans as just another animal wandering around in the wild.
There’s plenty of blame to go around – the kid for not doing what it’s allegedly responsible adult guardian told hime to do, the allegedly responsible adult guardian for doing whatever seemed more important than keeping their kid from taking a header into a gorilla enclosure, and the zoo for not making their enclosure more idiot proof than the greatest of village idiots. The only one in this scenario I don’t blame is the gorilla who was just doing what gorillas do and ended up getting killed because of this long string of failures on the part of the “more intelligent species” involved.
It’s the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin which makes it about 150 years since he published On The Origin of Species. According to a poll published today only something like 39% of Americans believe in the kind of evolution outlined by our English friend. That’s 39%. Are you serious? It boggles the mind that 61% of those polled either disagree or don’t know what they believe. By the way, it’s a question about what you *believe* how can you possibly not know the answer?Where ever it was that this 61% of the American public was educated, they should demand a refund or at least a repeat of Intro to Biology, as they have been badly misserved by the educational system.
I weep for the future of the Republic.