As I read about the terrible tragedy as it unfolded at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium yesterday I was literally sick to my stomach. And then I had the unfortunate experience of reading the comments on all of the news articles and Facebook posts and I was even more nauseated.
I know that we all judge each other. It's human nature. But there is a time and there's a place and yesterday certainly was not the time or place to judge either the zoo or that poor, poor mother. I can't even imagine what she must be going through. It is unthinkable.
Whether yesterday's accident was her fault for holding her son up or the zoo's for not having it better safety features, it is not really our place to judge. Who amongst us hasn't made a mistake with our child? I once cut my son's finger while I was trying to cut his fingernails and as he cried and I wiped away the blood I felt horrible for being the one that caused his pain. And that was just a silly cut on his finger. Who amongst us has not lifted our child up for a better view, or turned around in the car and taken our eyes off the road to hand something to them, or taken them to a baseball game in the cheap seats where it's very steep? We never really think that something that awful could happen. But sometimes things do.
One of my rules for social media is that I try picture the person or organization I'm talking about actually reading my post and make sure that I'm comfortable with that before I post it.
The thought of that mother reading all of those posts is just heartbreaking. And if you posted something negative and you say that you would be okay with her reading it and I'm not sure what kind of person you are.
I don't know why it is that we judge people so harshly. On one hand I think perhaps it's simply a defense mechanism. If we judge and we put ourselves up on that pedestal, then something like that could never happen to us, right? And our brains cannot even allow us the possibility that something so awful could happen to us so maybe being judgmental is just simply our way of protecting ourselves?
Whatever the reason, it makes me ill. In my opinion, the only appropriate response to any news story or Facebook post yesterday was "My thoughts and prayers are with that family". Period. End of story.
Let's be the awesome Pittsburgh community that I know we are. Let's surround this family with all the love and support and compassion in our hearts. They need it. Now more than ever.