My children and my wife are the most important people in my life. The difference is that my children rely on me for protection and to learn how to survive on their own. My wife already understands how to sustain and could (but hopefully never has to) live without my protection.
This past weekend a child died at the Pittsburgh Zoo because he fell into the African Painted Dog exhibit. His mother was holding him on the railing and he fell. How many times have you done this? How many times have you put your child on a railing to get a better look at something without thinking of the potential for disaster? I know I am guilty of it. It is harmless to do; until it isn't.
Many people out there on the internet are blaming the mother and berating her parenting skills because of the incident but I really want to know how many of those people are parents and how many of those parents are guilty of the same infraction in judgment.
Some are blaming her lack of action for the child's demise. She apparently froze and could not spring to action to save her child. Many are blaming the Zoo employees for not doing enough; for not responding fast enough. What about the bystanders? Weren't there any able bodied men or women there who could have jumped into that pen and tried to fight off those dogs? I can tell you that every time I have been at the Zoo with my children there are hundreds of people around that display.
Who were these people and why couldn't they help?
Call me stupid or naive but I would have been in that enclosure as fast as humanly possible trying to fight for this poor two year old child who just fell into a pit of hungry wild dogs. I would hope that some other able bodied men (probably fathers as well) would follow closely.
Maybe I am naive to think that people care about each other enough to risk life and limb to save another.
Either way, this event made me think about a lot. I thought about how fragile my children are and I thought about how to protect them better. I thought about the lack of empathy that pervades our society. I thought about the lack of heroes out there and how it could have taken just one grown man or woman to save a child's life. I thought about the lack of unity in our community and the lack of sympathy for those who have just lost their child. I thought about the family dynamic that has just been broken by the loss of a child. Most of all I thought about my children and how I would be utterly broken if something like this were to happen to either of them.
For today I will just hold them a little closer and enjoy the time I have with them a little more. Today I will thank whoever it is that needs to be thanked for the two beautiful children I have. Be it God or science I will keep mindful for what I have and pray for what those parents have lost.
I can not bring myself to judge the mother for what she did or did not do because I wasn't there and I did not see her suffering. I will offer what condolence I can with the hope that she can forgive herself. All I really wish is for those of you who are judging to take a step back and think about the words you say. Are those the words you would want to hear if that person were you?
In a world of freak occurrences and accidents there were two minutes past that no one in the crowd was man (or woman) enough to risk their life for that of a small child and for that we should all be ashamed. Humanity is leaving us and we should all take notice to change.