What the Killing of Harambe the Gorilla Reveals About Our Culture of Fear
Reflecting on the scene hours later, it is not too farfetched to assume that Harambe was afraid. From the videos, it is as transparent as a clear day in the Nevada desert that Harambe sought to protect the boy. The spectators however, rather than remaining calm and seeking a rational solution, probably started screaming ‘Oh my God’ as if that would help. People of greatness are measured in times of emergency and my estimate is that the people’s panic exacerbated the situation. Unlike the spectators whose ‘job’ is to panic and make for mind-numbing Time magazine headlines, the zoo-keepers have to act in support of the boy first of all, but also of Harambe.
Instead of rescuing the boy or putting Harambe to sleep, the zoo management chose to kill the gorilla right away. Why the rush to shoot if the boy was not in danger? Well, the zoo management probably feared for the life of the boy and got engulfed in panic. Although the gorilla did not pose a danger, the obsessive-compulsive need for total security, for exterminating every perceivable threat due to a momentary emotion – however groundless it may be – the psychological pressure to have full control over a situation, resulted in the pointless killing of an endangered gorilla.