Dear Michelle Gregg – This Needs to Be Said
Dear Michelle Gregg
Ever since I read about the incident with your family at the Cincinnati Zoo, I have had strong feelings. You see, I am from Cincinnati; born in Bethesda Hospital and raised in Silverton. I attended Silverton Elementary School – in its old location on Stewart Avenue, not the one in the middle of Silverton Park. Walnut Hills was my junior high school.
My family has a long history in Cincinnati; many relatives still reside there. I have been to the Cincinnati Zoo more times than I can remember. I have fond memories of my experiences there. It is what inspired me to develop a tradition of visiting zoos with my own children. I have a strong connection to the Cincinnati Zoo.
So, when I heard that your son had fallen into the gorilla habitat, and Harambe was subsequently shot to save him, I was upset. I couldn’t fathom that something like this could happen in the beloved place of my childhood memories. I have been thinking about ever since that day. And there are a few things, Ms. Gregg, that need to be said.
Also Related: 9 Midwestern Zoos to Visit with Your Family
Dear Michelle Gregg: I Love Cincinnati Zoo
One of my earliest memories of the Cincinnati Zoo is when I was 3 years old. I was visiting with my family; at least my mom and my aunt were definitely there. But I vividly remember this visit because I got to feed an elephant.
At 3 years old, I wasn’t nearly tall enough to see over the wall of the enclosure, so my mother was holding me. I reached over the edge of the wall and the elephant sucked the saltine cracker I shared directly out of my hand. My hand was covered in elephant mucus. It was one of the grossest experiences of my life.
In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best choice. Even though it was allowed by the zoo, elephants likely shouldn’t eat Zesta Crackers. And trust me, you don’t want elephant mucus on your 3-year-old or yourself.
But here’s what really needs to be said: my mom was right there. And she wasn’t the only mom letting her child feed the elephants. Sometimes as moms we are present and engaged when our children make less than optimal choices. Not because we’re negligent, but because we’re human and prone to errors in judgment.
Dear Michelle Gregg: Things Happen
As I stated earlier, my family visits zoos often so we purchased a membership. It allows us discounts or free admission to other zoos across the country. We’ve been in Orlando, Nashville, Chicago, St. Louis, Evansville, Washington D.C. and Des Moines to name a few.
My kids are older now and we don’t go as much anymore. But I remember the days of strollers, diaper bags, packed lunches, sanitizers, sippy cups, backpacks, changes of clothes, and all the other gear needed to survive a day outing with small children. I know what it feels like having your head on swivel to keep your children within eyeshot and snatching distance.
I even have a list of rules for every outing, whether to the zoo or to the grocery store. Rule #2 is “Stay where I can see you.” This gives my kids as much accountability to me as I have to them.
But this is what really needs to be said: I understand that within a moment’s notice, things happen. Small children are curious, quick, and cunning. The best parents in the world have lost sight of their kids for a few moments, and that’s all it takes for something like this to happen.
Dear Michelle Gregg: I Understand, Children Don’t
As a mom, I understand how this happened. I don’t understand how this happened on the zoo’s end. We had a scary experience at the alligator pit while visiting the Central Florida Zoo.
Alligators are scary enough, and there were only 2 feet between the bridge over their habitat and the ground. All I could envision was my little one falling over the very short fence trying to see them. And then me fighting off an alligator. The site of which you only see or hear about in urban legend.
My husband still makes fun of me contending that “alligators don’t jump.” But I didn’t care. This is what really needs to be said: Children don’t always understand danger. We never think they will do something dangerous. But sometimes they do because they don’t recognize the danger. And that’s why as parents we teach them.
Sometimes we don’t get to teach them before they learn the lesson. I certainly hope Central Florida shores up their alligator exhibit after this incident.
Also Related: The Moment I Became the Worst Mom Ever
Dear Michelle Gregg: I’m Sorry
This needs to be said. I’m sorry. I am sorry this happened to you and your family. I’m sorry people have no compassion. I’ve been there. Every mom alive has had a worst mom ever moment. And if she says she hasn’t, she’s lying. Or she’s too blind to see that your moment happened in a very scary public setting. Her’s wasn’t.
But all is not lost. Learn from this moment. Cry about it. Grow from it. Thank God for protecting your little boy. And move on. Many are trying hard not to let you, but you must. As your homegirl and native Cincinnatian, I’m rooting for you.
53 Replies to “Dear Michelle Gregg – This Needs to Be Said”
RIP Harambe. Due to human negligence and ignorance, you had to be put down. Worst, our acts is justified just because we’re humans and we make mistakes, mistakes that took lives and blames it on destiny, things happens bla3. How about some ape kill your family and I say, awww things happens, sorry. Seriously, these kinds of people are sick
That poor animal, I hate that this woman’s carelessness caused Harambe to loose his life.
Very humbling and a good perspective. Thank you for your compassion.
such a dumb and insensitive article. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.
people who makes careless decisions deserve to be punished.
an innocent animal.
one who had been caged it’s entire life.
was BORN IN CAPTIVITY. (this is all morally good for you right? yep, that’s what I thought).
because someone didn’t have enough brains to take proper precautions.
so maybe think over what has been published.
shame on you.
Hi Erin. I have thought it over. My opinion stands. Thanks for reading.
No one cares about your opinion momotroll.
And yet you’re here commenting. Thanks for reading.
This kind of thing is why they make leashes and harnesses for human children.
EXACTLY. I hope Michelle Gregg is haunted every night along with everyone who defends her. ‘d be willing to bet that day wasn’t the first time she neglected her child and it wasn’t the last. These people are on here defending her…but if someone’s neglect cause the murder of one of their family members they would be screaming for justice. Maybe someday, if there is a God…he’ll give them a taste of their own mindset and their own belief that a living being can cause the murder of another living being that they may know and care for and absolutely NOTHING will be done.
Thank you for justifying a woman’s irresponsibility and making it ok to be ignorant and negligent. Thank you for setting the American standard.
Oh this isn’t supposed to be the American standard? Could’ve fooled me. It seems like everywhere you look in this country there’s either a crime or wrongdoing going on, and not far behind are people like you who encourage such rotten behavior
So in that case, thank you for shaping our country to care less. I hope your writing career ends soon
Ape lives matter stfo
Saying “It’s OK” supports the negligence.
It’s definitely parents’ fault! Everyone on the internet claims that it is hard to watch your kid all the time and when you don’t watch your kid for a second things happen. Well, kid needed more than 1-2 seconds to climb! I would still understand it though, but I don’t understand why parents don’t educate their kids about not climbing, not going closer to the enclosures etc. at a zoo. Most parents are lazy af. They feed, dress the kid and give it a smartphone where it gets the “education” on TikTok, that’s it!
Such people shouldn’t be allowed to have kids!
Another thing that bothers me is the fact how the mother later sued the zoo, when the zoo sacrificed/killed endangered AND INNOCENT species to save the kid’s life when it was parents’ fault! The damage was huge, yet she didn’t accept her fault in the slightest.
In my opinion, they shouldn’t have killed the gorilla. Look at the entitled and narcissistic parents. The son won’t be much different.
Harambe was a better mum than the biological one.
Harambe deserved to live!
Well, tranquilizing it would have set it into a rage for several minutes (the time it takes for the tranquilizer to put the gorilla to sleep), which could have gotten the boy killed. Harambe was already somewhat agitated. I would have moved everyone well away from the enclosure (at least 500 meters) and then had one of the trained zoo staff go in to try and calm the gorilla enough to get it to move away from the boy.
Alternatively, I would have moved everyone away from the enclosure and just waited the gorilla out. If the boy is killed in the process, well, too bad; mom should have had that boy on a leash.
It is a shame the mother was not charged with first degree Child Neglect.
Some people are too stupid and dangerous to raise children. Sterilization is needed for those fall in that boat!
What a long and boring article!
Dear dumb woman, if you want people to understand and listen to you, try practicing clarity and conciseness.
No wonder your kids have trouble understanding when you try to warn them of danger.
So good Anitra. May God bless her. Thankful her child was saved. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT PARENT.
Ape lives matter stfo
Krystin, That’s like saying there is no such thing as a perfect cop so that makes their behavior excusable and they should walk like Michelle after their doings caused the death of another. Remember what you wrote!!! You just condoned bad cops as okay because you know…..there is no such thing as a perfect cop.
No, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent, but there are plenty of negligent ones – which is why child harnesses and leashes have existed for decades.
Stop defending this piece of shit on welfare because she is black, you racist pig. It was more than losing sight of your kid for a few seconds, it is gross negligence. And now a gorilla was murdered. They should have left the kid to die. Natural selection and all that.
You are the one focused on race, not me. Your anger and assumptions about this woman’s life and what you believe to me my thoughts are evidence of your racism, not mine. But thanks for commenting.
You condone the murder of innocent animal kept in captivity do to no choice of its own. Then you defend a mother who caused the murder. You need to re-evaluate your life. My guess is you are making excuses for this mother because you neglected your own children and defending her makes you feel it’s not so bad. That poor animal was MURDERED because of her. PERIOD. Lemme guess if someone you know is murdered because of the negligence of someone else you would DEMAND justice, Harambe was murdered because of Michelle Gregg’s negligence and you defend it. Remember that if someone you know is ever murdered. Defend the murderer like your defending Michelle and your loved one deserves to be shrugged off like you are shrugging off Harambe. Remember that no matter if it’s a cop who does the wrong thing and someone you know gets murdered. Be sure to defend that cop like you are defending Michelle!!!!!! If not you are the biggest hypocrite on the planet.
I fully agree with KISSMYASS. I am sick and tired of people not watching their kids and expecting other people to pay the price for the parent’s lack of action. Parents like this blame other people’s children, blame the police or other authority figures, basically blame anyone but themselves. The race card is irrelevant. People like this come in all colors and they all suck. If the enclosures are not safe -then why take children there at all? Again blaming anyone or anything but the person actually at fault. And here is the sad part: Harambe was endangered and no one cared about him. Women and children like Michelle and her offspring are everywhere. I’m sure when her little angel runs out in front of a car and gets hit – it will be the driver’s fault. These are not feelings of racism -these are feelings of disgust for blameless parenting.
I agree with you 100 percent. People need to WATCH THEIR CHILDREN.
The Gorilla enclosure has been there for 37 years and Ms Gregg is the only parent to find her self in this situation! NO EXCUSE FOR NOT WATCHING YOUR CHILDREN!
Frankly, it doesn’t matter the parent’s skin color: she should have had that boy on a leash.
I do think that the enclosure should be higher and much more secure.
Many enclosures in the states need the be reevaluated. This accident should not be able to happen. Sure, the mother could have had a son a bit closer but where does the Zoo take responsibility. This is happening far too often and the issue with safety need to be address now!!
I have 3 kids so I understand how they can get away in a flash!
Great letter to Michelle Gregg! I’m not a mother yet, but I definitely know that being a mother is hard work, and that these things can happen. I really hate that so many people our attacking her character and competency as a mother because this happened. It’s very sad and unfortunate that Harambe had to die, but ultimately the child had to be saved, and people should put themselves in her shoes, especially mothers, like you said.
No, the child did not have to be saved. Someone invented harnesses and leashes for young children to prevent this kind of thing from happening. Sorry, I have no sympathy for the negligent mother.
I don’t have kids but I’ve babysat enough to know those little angels are acrobatic. They will slip away in a blink of an eye. It can happen to anyone. A coworker corded his kid when they went to Disney to keep from losing him. He was too afraid the kid would dot off in the crowd. That cord held him close and allowed the parents to stay calm and at ease.
Child harnesses and leashes were great inventions! Every parent of young children should have some.
Kids move so quick in a blink of an eye! I feel so sorry for everyone involved in this.
As a parent that railing would make me nervous. Kids are quick and accidents happen. Nobody regrets this as much as that child’s mother.
Exactly. I’m so glad they opted for no charges. No other punishment could hurt as much as her guilt.
You condone the murder of innocent animal kept in captivity do to no choice of its own. Then you defend a mother who caused the murder. You need to re-evaluate your life. My guess is you are making excuses for this mother because you neglected your own children and defending her makes you feel it’s not so bad. That poor animal was MURDERED because of her. PERIOD. Lemme guess if someone you know is murdered because of the negligence of someone else you would DEMAND justice, Harambe was murdered because of Michelle Gregg’s negligence and you defend it. Remember that if someone you know is ever murdered. Defend the murderer like your defending Michelle and your loved one deserves to be shrugged off like you are shrugging off Harambe. Remember that no matter if it’s a cop who does the wrong thing and someone you know gets murdered. Be sure to defend that cop like you are defending Michelle!!!!!! If not you are the biggest hypocrite on the planet. Also…if kids slip away so easily why is she the only parent in 37 years that happened to…it’s because she’s neglectful!!! And guilt…that woman has already forgotten Harambe. She cares nothing about that animal. I hope she is haunted every night!! My bet is that’s not the first time or the last she didn’t watch her kid! You too! We are sorry Harambe that people like this are defending the person that caused your murder. God will handle all of them!!!
Hi Deondra (or whatever your real name is). Thanks for reading.
But, apparently, the mom doesn’t feel guilt for her negligence. She should have been charged.
I’ve actually stopped and started an open letter to Michelle Gregg a couple of times. I needed to release the emotions behind it from some of the ridiculous comments I’ve seen on social media. It sucks that this happened, but I believe the zoo made the right choice.
The social media fury over this incident has made me question my faith in humanity. I too had to take a step back and regroup before posting.
Since your cool with neglectful incompetent people who have no regard for the life of another living being causing the murder of another living being…then you must be a big fan of Derek Chauvin and feel so bad for him for all the hate he received. What did you write in your open letter to Derek Chauvin? You defend this lady who caused the murder of another living being…you surely must apply that same mindset to Derek Chauvin. George Floyd was murdered and so was Harambe, they were both living creatures who did not deserve to be murdered!! The actions of this woman caused Harambe’s death…the actions of Derek Chauvin caused Floyd’s death. You clearly are making excuses for her. Unless you are a hypocrite..the same applies for all murderers!!
This was a beautiful, compassionate post. Moms are under so much pressure to be perfect. I hope that she knows that there are moms in her corner who know what it is like to have one of the hardest jobs on earth.
As if parenting in 2016 isn’t pressure enough.
Parenting in 2016 was no different from parenting in 2006 or even 1996.
No one is perfect, but the child harness and leash were invented just for public outings like a trip to the zoo. She should have had that boy on a leash. Sorry, I have no sympathy for her.
Beautiful post. My heart goes out to her because the backlash and negativity towards her has been unbelievable.
I’m very empathetic to the mom in this situation. It only takes a minute for something to go really wrong yet people forget the errors of their own human experience. May all the perfect people out there find a heart and get a life!
Beautifully written. I honestly am sorry this happened to her, the gorilla… but, I’m also tired of hearing about it. Mistakes happen. People act like 4 year olds aren’t stubborn, adventurous, and fearless… The boy wanted to play in the water, and regardless of what his mother said, he did it when her back was turned. Kids that age are QUICK. They’re like ninjas. It seems like everyone seems to forget those things when it came to this situation.
I agree. I’m just glad there will be no charges so we can all move on.
Anitra…Remember that the next time a cop gets away with causing the death of another living being. Remember your words were: I’m just glad there will be no charges so we can all move on.
It seems this piece really moved you. Have a great day!
Someone invented child harnesses and leashes exactly because the inventor understood what young children are like. That boy should have been on a leash.
The hell with her lazy fat ass free day care getting self. She caused a beloved Gorilla to be murdered. People defending this woman should get exactly what Harambe did.