This Week’s Need to Know

Disclaimer: This Weeks Need To Know will feature events, scaling from international affairs to on-campus activities, which I think are important. I should, therefore, warn you; I consider myself a Left Wing Looney with a, slightly contradictory, obsession with celebrity culture – namely, the Kardashians – and a penchant for sarcasm (I am genuinely serious about the Kardashian thing, though. Sorry.)

I shall attempt to prevent these factors from clouding my judgment in order to provide you with the most worthwhile information. But I can’t promise anything.

It may come as a surprise, given that there’s been barely any coverage of this story at all so far, that this week’s feature will focus on the fatal shooting of Harambe, a critically endangered western lowland gorilla, on the 28th May 2016, after a four-year-old child fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio. On amateur footage, the gorilla is seen dragging the boy through water to a corner of the exhibit, where he stands facing outwards, blocking the child from view, in a manner later claimed by experts that suggests a protective behaviour.

The footage, after being uploaded to YouTube, went viral and has since garnered a lot of public attention through social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, which, according to a Pew Research Centre analysis, are now responsible for 63% of their users’ news resources. Thanks to the comment sections on such platforms, occasionally misinformed, opinions are bandied about with freedom and ease. Although fingers have been pointed at the zoo for underdeveloped and unsafe enclosures, the general consensus from my timeline, and from a petition entitled ‘Justice For Harambe’ which has almost 500,000 signatures, is that the mother of the child is entirely responsible for the death of the gorilla. Perhaps a valid claim, however, the suggested punishments for her negligence range from understandable, to scarily cruel (a proposal I have witnessed an unsettling amount of times is that the mother should also be killed.)

The boy’s parents, due to the petition, could be charged; a secondary reason stating that the boy may face negligence at home for which the parents need to be investigated. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s have since released a statement regarding the matter; ‘The Cincinnati Zoo … family is in mourning today and trying to process the death of 17-year-old gorilla Harambe. The gorilla was killed yesterday in order to save the life of a child.’ It is my opinion that had the zoo not acted with such severity, and as a result the child was critically injured or killed, the same people protesting Harambe’s treatment would most likely be blaming the zoo for not taking such action. Although I find Harambe’s death upsetting and, on the whole, avoidable, I implore those who vehemently express their opinions for an alternative outcome to imagine themselves in that situation; who’s life would they value more?


If you aren’t comfortable responding to this feature in the comments section, but feel strongly about this matter, please email your thoughts to , and I’ll be sure to address them next week.

Next Weeks Need To Know will explore the Brexit/Remain debate, but by the date of publishing the deadline for registration to vote will have passed. Even if you haven’t yet made a decision, please make sure to register by the 7th June 2016, and I will try to help clear up some confusion around the matter in next weeks article. Emphasis on try.

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