Harambe

The death of Harambe was undoubtedly a tragedy, yet one that will hopefully highlight the need for change in order to address better safety measures in the future. It saddens me that people are calling Harambe’s handlers callous for deciding to euthanise him as this must have been a very difficult decision for them considering his species is not only endangered but he was a precious member of their ‘zoo family’. Yet, they made a wise call. Imagine the repercussions they would have faced had the gorilla fatally injured the child. While Harambe was not necessarily aggressive, he had the potential to kill, even unintentionally, possessing the strength of ten men. Some argue that his pose over the boy was protective but professionals say that his posture and tight lips were a clear sign of agitation. While no one can know what would have happened, the decision to euthanise the gorilla, while difficult, was probably the wisest decision that could have been made.

While people argue that Harambe could have been tranquillised instead of shot, it seems that they do not consider 1) the amount of time it would have taken for the tranquilliser to take affect (particularly since he had such a large body mass); 2) the gorilla’s agitation after being shot with the tranquilliser; and, 3) that Harambe could have fallen on the boy and either crushed him or drowned him in the moat. If neither tranquillising nor euthanising the gorilla, what other option did the zoo therefore have in order to save the boy?

Yet, this does not mean that Harambe’s death could not have been prevented. Many are quick to lay blame on the childs’ mother, suggesting her not noticing that her son had slipped away indicates irresponsibility and neglect. Rather than blame the mother, what if we acknowledge that children escape their parents and instead brainstorm ways to prevent their falling into danger? Many look down on parents who walk their children on leashes as if they are treating their child like a dog but, in reality, this is an incredibly humane idea for the future if it will prevent children from meandering into the exhibit of a male ape, from the perilous clutches of paedophiles, or from wandering in front of a speeding car. I cannot find blame in the mother in this particular circumstance- she is human and cannot 100% watch over her child- but if she had had something that could have prevented her child from escaping her then Harambe would still be alive.

Moreover, we must question: How did the child get into the exhibit if it was adequately enclosed? Some people will list the obstacles the child had to overcome in order to enter the enclosure as if listing these will defend the zoo from fault. (These obstacles are: a one meter fence, moat, and a twelve-foot drop.) But, in reality, the zoo should have built an enclosure in which neither an animal could escape nor could anyone enter. There are risks to animal enclosures: wandering children, idiots, vandals, and thieves. The obstacles the zoo had in place were clearly not enough if it was not ‘childproof’.

 

Let us learn from our mistakes in order not to repeat the past. R.I.P Harambe.

Narcissism: How do we recognise it?

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I’m not a professional, I don’t know much about narcism, but I do know one thing: Narcissists are wrecking balls.

But, how do we recognise narcissists in order to understand our own place in their self-indulged “fake make-believe world”?

I believe the first step in the process of recognising a narcissist is knowing what the term means. The DSM-5 defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “…a pattern of grandiosity,  need for admiration, and lack of empathy” (2013: 645). Secondly, knowing and understanding the symptoms is vital in order to identify (though not diagnose!) a narcissist: (DSM-5, 2013: 669-670.)

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
  4. Requires excessive admiration.
  5. Has a sense of entitlement.
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
  7. Lacks empathy.
  8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes.

Side note: If you just read that and thought it sounds like you (and were disturbed by that), you probably don’t have narcissism. Narcissisms are proud to be narcissistic unless they think others will view it as a character flaw. But, if you’re still unsure, here is a quiz you can take (totally inaccurate but it will give you an idea of whether you have Narcissistic Personality Disorder or not): http://personality-testing.info/tests/NPI/

But, what is our place in the narcissists’ world?

  • Narcissists are people who only care about themselves. They will use you in order to achieve what they want.
  • They will bring you down in whatever way possible but they do this is on the ‘down low’ (like snide comments, bullying, etc.). They bring you down in such a way because they don’t want other people to suspect their evilness but they want you to feel subservient to them since they think that it’s “all about me.” Newsflash: it’s not.
  • They will do whatever they can to ‘hang you on a line’. They are charismatic and they like being liked. They think the world revolves around them.
  • They are IN LOVE with themselves. You know those people on instagram or other such sites who not only ONLY post photos of themselves but also caption them with every synonym under the sun to describe their beauty: “cute”, “kawaii” (*vomits*), “hot chick”, etc. This is because these people are image-orientated and everything is about how they are perceived by others (whilst also being a reflection of how they view themselves).
  • Yet, they are also incredibly insecure: they are terrified people will not admire them the way they admire themselves. The biggest insult to a narcissist is not liking them.

 

Fun fact: The term ‘narcissism’ comes from an ancient Greek dude, Narkissos, the beautiful son of the river god Cephisesus and nymph Liriope, who loved his reflection so much that he couldn’t tear himself away from it in a pool of water and ultimately died in this way.

Anyway, the best thing you could do in reality is recognise the narcissistic traits and act around those but if you’re concerned you should talk to a psychologist for advice or to vent, and read up on the topic.