I’m slowly developing a Hate-Hate relationship with social media. My problem is the same as everyone else is having:
We have instantaneous access to 90% of what’s happening in the world and every damn one of us thinks it’s our right, no our duty, to have an opinion about it. Or to give advice or criticism, our perspective or maybe just a little piece of our mind. We have to have a say, right?
In the past several days, the story everybody’s up in arms over is Harambe, the gorilla that was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old boy fell into its enclosure. Either you think the kid’s mom is an idiot for letting her precious child so close to the edge that he fell in. Or you think the zoo keepers are idiots for killing the gorilla. Was lethal force really necessary? Or you think the media are idiots for making the story into such a big deal. Or you think gorillas are dangerous creatures and aren’t safe around humans, so good… Perhaps you’re anti-zoo in the first place. I could spend hours working my way around all the different opinions people have about this singular event. However I look at it, all I can come up with is that it was tragic all the way around.
The reality is, I do have an opinion about what happened, but I am far from being an expert about gorilla behavior, so I’m okay with letting the experts make the call. I mean, just because I spend a few hours online learning about how and why gorillas behave the way they do, doesn’t mean I am anywhere close to being an expert. (Likewise reading WebMD doesn’t make me an MD, reading Wikipedia doesn’t make me an expert historian, taking a course on HarvardX about String Theory won’t make me any sort of a physicist.)
Am I against animal cruelty? Sure I am. But isn’t it cruel to trap a wild animal in a small space in the first place? And the part that honestly bothers me most is people arguing that it’s the mother’s fault that her kid fell in to start with. As though, whatever might have happened would be okay with them because BAD mommy! I don’t know if you’ve ever had your own 4-year-old, or knew one that could magically disappear (like Harry Potter magical) within a matter of seconds, but it happens.
What I can say for 100% sure is that I was not there; I did not see the events unfold. My opinion is, therefore, totally irrelevant.
But this is the state of online experiences right now. Nasty responses to events that don’t even indirectly affect us. Everyone’s gotta be up in arms about something. Why? I dunno. Are we so bored with real life we have to trick ourselves into feeling like we’re better than our everyday, real life points to us being? Could be. Is there a solution?
Probably, but you’re not gonna like it because I’m about to sound like your mom when you were 10: Get off the damn computer and go do something with yourself. Read a good book. Take a walk. Smell a flower. Learn something new. Jump out of an airplane. Build a table or a garden or a new friendship. Whatever you do, do something so you’re something more than your own, irrelevant opinions.