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.