Monday, May 30, 2016

Application Denied

Friends have asked me many times over the years, how often I had to jump down from the lifeguard chair for an emergency.

Thankfully, there were very few occasions.

One of the incidents I tell them about was when a baby, barely walking, fell, face-first, into the lake near the base of my chair.

I looked around and saw no parents approaching the baby, so I jumped down, lifted the baby out of the water and waited for the parents to show themselves.

I remember telling them lifeguards were not babysitters, then, like all well-equipped, negligent parents, they offered an excuse.

Negligent parents are not big on vigilance; they are big on excuses.

During my radio news shift Sunday morning, I wrote and read the story of Harambe’s killing several times. Off the air, it infuriated me that such a magnificent animal had been shot to death because of negligent parenting.

My feelings on the value of zoos are for another blog, another time, but whenever we went to Granby Zoo, I always spent more time at Mumba’s enclosure.

He was a fascinating, impressive and magnificent creature, and I was saddened to hear, in October 2008, the 48 year old silverback gorilla had died.

His death of natural causes was nowhere near as upsetting as 17 year old Harambe’s death Saturday at the Cincinatti Zoo.

Harambe (Photo courtesy:
Did the zoo make the right decision? Is there another way zoo staff could have handled the situation? None of those questions matter because none of those questions would have come up, had the boy’s parents done what parents are supposed to do.

Is it the zoo’s fault for failing to make the enclosure child-proof? It’s the first time a spectator breaches the enclosure since 1978, and no one would be talking about the issue had the boy’s parents done what parents are supposed to do!

I wonder how long it took the boy to work his way into the enclosure; 15 seconds, 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 15 minutes?

I bet his parents don’t even know, since they weren’t doing what parents are supposed to do.

The child’s parents ought to face justice, charges of criminal negligence; they are solely responsible for Harambe’s death.
I saw this on Twitter today

An online petition is circulating, demanding the parents be held responsible. I hope it leads to some kind of justice. Too often, negligent and blameworthy parents are excused, and everyone else pays.

It’s nauseating.

I’ve always liked the idea that parents should be licensed.

Years ago, two Nova Scotia academics argued children have rights and parents have responsibilities. Brian Howe and Katharine Covell of the University College of Cape Breton declared anyone who hadn’t finished high school and a parenting course, shouldn’t be having kids. Covell pointed out there are a lot of parents having children who have no interest in raising them.

I often see those parents.

The position suggested by Howe and Covell was prompted by the same steady stream of child abuse and neglect cases still making headlines today.

Prospective parents, suggested Howe and Covell in 1999, should have to complete a certified course on early infant development, and sign a contract agreeing not to abuse or neglect their child.

If, at any point during the licensing process, a prospective parent referred to the credo of the negligent parent, “Accidents happen”, the same words used by the mother of the boy who fell in Harambe’s enclosure, it would be - application denied.

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