What do a Gorilla, Crocodile and Tree Have in Common?

What do a Gorilla, Crocodile and a Tree Branch have in common? This sounds like the beginning of a bad job joke but these three objects were in the news recently. These three random events are united by the capricious of life and our reaction to it.

I won’t rehash the fierce and harsh reaction to the little boy falling into the Gorilla enclosure. The subsequent death of the Gorilla brought out some uncomfortable questions. Do we blame the mom for her child falling into the enclosure? Did the Gorilla need to be killed? At the end of this drama, no one came out a winner. A child suffered physical injuries. A mother vilified in the public. A creature killed to save a life. A virtual lynch mob spewed venom on the internet.

The little boy snatched by the crocodile at Disney World had a more subdued response from the public. But the results were more tragic with a dead little boy found at the happiest place on earth. After finding the body, people wanted to quickly assign blame. Why did the family play so close to the water? Did Disney provide enough warning to the public?

The final event happened closer to home. A French immigrant died while shielding his wife from a falling tree limb. This event was so capricious that a tree limb can fall and kill some one. We couldn’t blame the wind or violent weather since it was a clear and hot day. The next day, some questioned if the city of Toronto knew the tree limb was weak and did nothing about it.

These three tragic events illustrate the unpredictability of life. In the western world, our lives are predictable and ordered. We jump in our cars or a bus and never think twice about the road falling apart. We get antsy when our internet slows down every so slightly. We slowly put our hand on the car horn if another car spends two seconds longer at the intersection. When random events happen, we’re jolted by the uncertainty of this world. We lash out at mothers when their children go missing or run off. We look at government as a cause of a tree limb falling on someone. We assign blame to a corporation for the conflict between humans and the animal world. People will always want to know why events happen. However, maybe we should exercise a little humility in the fact that our stability is the exception rather that the standard in this world.