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  • Bryan W. Alaspa

Humanity: A Lesson In Failure

That's Harambe as a baby right there. Look at that face. Those eyes. A little man ready to take on the world and looking handsome and cute while doing it.

Harambe was a lowland Gorilla, sometimes referred to as a Silverback, one of the most endangered species on the planet. The World Wildlife Foundation says there may only be a few hundred thousand left and more than 60% of them may be gone within the next century - maybe sooner. Deforestation, human greed, idiots who think that gorilla hands and meat offer them magical powers, are all destroying these close cousins.

That's Harambe as a 17-year-old adult. Strong, handsome, powerful. Look at those eyes and try to tell me there isn't a thinking, feeling creature behind them and I'll punch you in the throat until you spit blood. Tell me there isn't a soul behind that look and I'll shove your fairy tale book down your throat so far you'll be crapping Gospels for a week.

Sadly, Harambe would never get to be 18. He would never get to do anything more than what he had done. Harambe was afflicted with the most horrible disease that this planet, probably the entire universe, has ever known. Harambe died from an acute case of: humanity.


He was born in a zoo, down in Texas. He never knew life outside of captivity. He was sent to the Cincinnati Zoo as part of a breeding program. It was there that human ignorance, neglect and stupidity brought about his end. A negligent mother, too preoccupied with taking photos with her cell phone or camera, lost track of a child that was apparently too willful to mind his parents. He fell in. Harambe, probably curious, but then scared and confused, just did what his instincts told him to do. For that, he was killed.


The humans that thought it was OK to keep animals like that in a zoo. That was the fist symptom of the disease that would kill him. Actually, it as probably before that. The first were the people who destroyed his natural habitats, thus making humans feel they had the right to breed him and keep him captive were the first symptom. Then there were those who felt it was OK to let their kids just run around unattended and then there were those who couldn't come up with a better solution than to murder him.

Humans. The worst thing that ever could have happened to the planet, the animals on it and to poor Harambe. Self-appointed, all-important humans who feel that we are better than the animals, better than the creatures we should be helping, better than everything and who use ridiculous means to justify our raping and destroying this planet.

Humanity - a lesson in failure.

We had one job: protect creatures like Harambe. Allow them to live their lives naturally and protected from - us.

We failed. Horribly.

I have been so angry about this and that anger has now turned to a deep, soul-crushing, to-the-bone, sadness. Sadness because so many have bent over backwards to somehow justify this horrible thing. The one that still makes me so confused: 4-year-olds just do this.

What? No. Sorry, that is not an excuse. If your 4-year-old got away from you and ran into traffic and a car swerved to avoid him, hit another head-on and someone in that car died - what would your excuse be? Boys will be boys? Toddlers will be toddlers? No. Would you blame the people who made the intersection or the crosswalk? No. It would be your fault and it was the mother's fault for the death of Harambe. Sorry, but in my mind there is no difference between the death of the fictional person in my example and that amazing creature.

When I was about 3 or 4, I had medical issues and spent a lot of time in the hospital. This was in the early 70s and I was in a room with other kids, terrified, being poked and prodded and operated on. My parents were not allowed to stay with me. So, when I was the age of the child that crawled into that enclosure I did not run off and do things. I stayed very close to home. I was in a constant state of fear that if I let my parents out of my sight, they'd leave me and I'd be alone.

I did not run off into the woods. I didn't climb trees and rocks. I did not wade into water. I stayed around the house, played in the yard, on the block where my parents told me to stay. I watched TV.

I loved animals, though. Sharks, at first, because there was this movie called Jaws out at that time and sharks were everywhere. Told I could grow up to be anything I told my kindergarten teacher I wanted to grow up to be a shark.

Then I discovered whales. I fell in love. I read constantly about them, buried in books about both animals, reading them over and over and over again and watching anything and everything I could find on TV.

I thought old-time whaling was cool, at first (I have since learned how barbaric it was), and studied the paintings of whales smashing boats filled with men. Then I learned, at a very young age, that countries were still whaling, but now doing it with factory ships and a giant harpoon gun that plunged deep into each whale and then gave them a fatal electric shock to kill them. These ships could kill and process dozens and dozens of whales. Now these amazing creatures that had given me so much joy were almost gone.

I did what I thought I could. In 5th or 6th grade I thought I had started an organization called the Save the Whales, Association, which amounted to me obsessively talking about whales and whaling and drawing lots of pictures and posters about it. I thought I was doing something.

I wrote a letter to then President Reagan, begging him to do something to stop whaling. I got a letter back, probably from a staffer, signed in his majesty's own rubber stamp. Of course, that bastard never did a damn thing.

Over the years, my love for animals has grown. I have three rescue dogs. My wife and I are very careful about the meat we buy, the businesses we endorse and patronize and do all we can to try and help animals and this planet. We have protested pet stores that sell puppies from puppy mills. I have spoken before city council meetings in support of legislation banning the sale of puppy mill dogs. I have written letters to politicians, donated money to wildlife funds, boycotted businesses that endorse big game hunting (Jimmy Johns) and have abused animals (KFC, Purdue Chicken), signed petitions.

Last year, a dentist paid money to slaughter a beautiful lion.

China has a festival where dogs are skinned alive for their meat.

The Western Black Rhino has gone extinct.

The Yangtze River Dolphin went extinct in 2006. The sheer number of animals that are now considered extinct in my lifetime is staggering.

Polar bears are starving, some of them drowning, because climate change is taking away their food and their habitat.

The Vaquita porpoise, found near Mexico, has less than 100 known living specimens left alive.

If your book of fairy tales and stories of a giant invisible white man in the sky says that this is OK - you are an idiot. Not misguided. Not confused - stupid. Just plain stupid.

If you are a climate change denier - then you are really, profoundly, completely stupid. An ignoramus. Dumb. Not thinking. A moron. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. You have your head firmly placed up your posterior. Lacking intelligence. A dummy. Dull-witted. Slow. Vacuous. Vapid. Imbecilic. An imbecile. Doltish.

And then there was Harambe. A thinking, feeling, creature. A being with emotions and a life and it was taken away because of us.

Because - humanity. The worst plague this planet has ever seen. I have read how mosquitoes are the deadliest creature because of the diseases they carry and had people wonder what purpose they serve. Maybe mosquitoes are the planet's answer to getting rid of us. The white blood cells of Earth trying to eliminate the cancerous tumor that is humanity.

We have failed.

And I am sad. I am ashamed to be a human. I am ashamed to be part of this thing that rapes and kills and treats ourselves and animals so badly. That feels it is our right to do so.

I don't know what else I can do, but I am staying away from Facebook for a while. It is the ugly face of our ugly selves and I can't bear to look at it anymore. If we wipe ourselves out - I hope it's soon and it's what we deserve. We were given this amazing, wonderful, pristine planet and instead of treating it like a treasure, we have used it like a play thing and left it a crumpled, broken thing.

Like a child.

A ridiculous, willful child who won't listen to his mother.

I'm sorry we failed you Harambe. I wish you had lived your life in the wild, until a ripe old age, with lots of wives and offspring.

I am sad. We have failed and right now, I just don't see a way back.

If you feel strongly about protecting animals, I suggest donating to the World Wildlife Foundation and taking up causes closer to home to protect them. They have no voice and deserve better than what we give them


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