Pittsburgh Zoo Horror

Caring individuals unite in sadness and sympathy after the unspeakable occurs.

One of the worst and most horrifying stories that I have ever come across throughout a long life of news is that of the fatal mauling of a two-year-old child at our beloved Pittsburgh Zoo, the first such event in its well over 100 year history.

I cannot stop thinking first and foremost about the parents of this toddler, then the zoo employees, visitors, and first responders who surely shall never be the same after what they heard and saw on that fateful day.

From what we know at this point, I can have only sympathy for the mother that placed the child in a position from which he fell into the animals' enclosure. She made an error in judgment. How many of us have not? This was not a case of a fatal house fire occurring while a parent had left a child home alone while out consuming alcohol, using illegal drugs, or spending time at a gambling casino. The pain that the mother will endure every day for the rest of her life is unfathomable and there would be little point in the justice system piling on to charge her with a crime, adding to her misery and punishment.

The zoo has made the right decision in not euthanizing the dogs. They did what wild animals do when what they see as prey comes their way. Although these animals receive plenty of food from the zoo staff, that does nothing to diminish their appetite for violence against any creature. They do not deserve to pay with their lives for acting in a manner that is consistent with their natural behavior.

Perhaps the zoo could have done more to ensure that an incident like this did not occur, but it is not realistic to expect that there will be warning signs and protections for every possible human failing. I hope that the family will not try to profit from this horror with a lawsuit. There are no more sympathetic figures than the parents of the child, but I would wonder what liability there could realistically be for the zoo for such an extraordinary and unpredictable event as this.

Today, the overriding emotion among decent, caring people certainly is sadness and sympathy. We are deeply saddened over the loss of a precious child, but also over the unspeakable manner in which he lost his young life. I would hope that it is something that we would not wish on our worst enemy.

On the eve of a General Election that has featured the shameful, the slimy, and the slanderous from both major political parties, perhaps we are reminded at this time that there are more important things in life, facets of it which serve to bring us together rather than tear us asunder.

God bless all who knew and cared for this child in the difficult and painful days and years ahead. They shall remain in my thoughts and prayers.

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Rebecca Miller November 06, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Well said.
Ed M November 06, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Great post up to the political commentary that was totally unnecessary and inappropriate.
Guest November 06, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Thoughts and prayers to the victims family. May they one day find peace.
MSgt. John DeLallo November 06, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Now is the time for courage. You already know that their are people all over this planet masquerading as angels, and little Maddox may have been the bravest of them all. (paraphrased from Fannie Flagg's "Fried Green Tomatoes")
Lara Brown November 06, 2012 at 01:30 PM
No one should judge her...
Mike November 08, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Why shouldn't she be judged?
Stephanie Davis November 08, 2012 at 05:40 PM
What a healthy response to this tragedy- as a parent, I couldn't have said it better. Judge not lest ye be judged. It might be more appropriate to learn from this tragedy with focus on it's potential impact on our own lives.
colleen farrell November 08, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Mike, if you do not know the answer to that question I do not believe anyone would be able to explain to you. Colleen
Anthony Wayne November 08, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I have a completly different view on this tragic event. As a parent of two youngsters, after having placed my child in such a position, nothing short of bullets would stop me from going in to save them, and I am confident that I would do so, or die in the attempt. How could you do otherwise???? The inaction on behalf of the parent or parents involved here, speaks volumes to me regarding motive. "Shameful and slimy" indeed.
colleen farrell November 08, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Anthony, unless you were actually in the zoo that day standing beside little Maddox you can not judge. I truly pray that a event this tragic never touches you or your loved ones. Please do not judge, be kind, life is very fragile
Anthony Wayne November 08, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I do not judge, but I have an opinion. I also hope a tragic event does not befall my family, however, I know in my heart right from wrong. Do you?
colleen farrell November 08, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I believe I do know right from wrong but everday I must pray for guidance from above to lead me into a path of kindness. I only know that my religion teaches me to not judge & I do not feel my opinions are that important to hurt someone else with cruel words
Mike November 08, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I don't need it to be explained to me, it was a rhetorical question. If she was driving drunk in her car and refused to place her child in a child safety seat then she would certainly be judged. She should be judged in a courtroom. And hopefully that will deter others from making reckless decisions.
Mark A. November 08, 2012 at 07:47 PM
You certainly would have jumped in if your kid had fallen in. But would you have jumped in after someone else's kid? Think hard, its a tough question. You'd probably die, would you die for a kid that wasn't yours?
Amanda Sekel November 08, 2012 at 07:59 PM
What happened to this family is so horrible, its hard to grasp. What's happening to them afterwards is awful as well. I agree with Colleen...its very very easy to judge when you AREN'T THERE. I know that nothing would have stopped me from going in after my kid even if it meant my own death, but shock does crazy things to the body. Like FREEZE you in place. I have also heard that the poor woman is pregnant...does that change your opinion of her jumping in?
Mike Jones November 09, 2012 at 03:43 AM
This photo by WTAE-TV's Kelly Brennan of 1,500 toy trucks around the funeral home is amazing. The thoughtfulness of this family to ask for these donations to other children during their unbelievable grief is amazing... https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1297730&l=d7621ae91b&id=435873183139967
MoonMan November 09, 2012 at 11:26 AM
You're a complete tool. Your motive remark just shows that you are clueless. Talk to her sometime and see how you feel. Oh, that's right, you don't know her do you??? Your comments are "shameful and slimy" indeed.
Roger November 09, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Other threads on this topic, and this one, includes comments about "I would have jumped in to help," or words to that effect. Jack Hanna, a world-renowned expert on wild animals and zoos, spoke about the case several times on various news outlets. He was very clear in his remarks: Jumping in to help would have been a stupid move. First, the drop is 14 feet off the platform (and probably a few more feet from the railing). We often hear of people getting injured, most badly, after jumping out of a second-story window of a burning house. Surviving the drop, and being useful afterwards, is problematic. Secondly, the event with the boy "was over in seconds" (his words). Any help from others would have been too late to enable to boy to survive. As gruesome as the words might be, the reality remains. Mr. Hanna has knowledge and experience with these animals far beyond the average person visiting the zoo. Having another person inside the arena, even able-bodied, would have meant certain demise of two people. Yes, it sounds heroic, but the facts regarding these animals speak to a reasoned response, not an emotional one. The animals were doing exactly what their natural instincts dictate, take action on any prey. They are not at fault.
Roger November 09, 2012 at 12:19 PM
To those who speak about "don't judge," your words posted on here reject your stated view. By chastising others for judging, you have judged the other commenter yourself. It is easy to quote a biblical passage out of context, and ignore other passages in an effort to make your case. It does not work.
colleen farrell November 09, 2012 at 03:44 PM
not trying to chastise anyone...... just trying to make for a kinder world & I dont believe any biblical passages were quoted
Barb November 09, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Beautifully written. Slater Funeral Home in Greentree will continue to accept Trucks for Maddox next week.


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