We've all been there... well, sort of. In the flurry of excitement, your toddler—a writhing critter in his own right—is pointing and madly clambering to look at the zoo animals in the enclosure.
You may hoist him into your arms to get a better view of the world's fastest land mammals. What you don't do is dangle him over the edge of the exhibit where he slips 10, 12 feet down, into the lair of cheetahs.
By some miracle someone clambered into the enclosure and your boy found his way back into your arms, shaken and a bit hurt. Still, it could have been worse, so much worse.
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Except now it is. The cats, mercifully, were not interested. Yet now there's talk of endangerment. The Cleveland authorities may press charges against you, the boy's parents.
You should have known better. You weren't thinking straight. You are nothing if not human. And heaven knows, humans sometimes make dumbass choices, but not the kind that put their children's lives at risk.
Are you a criminal? Do you not love your child? Such questions sound pointless to ask now that your son is safe in your arms...
Should law makers use you to send out a strong message to others: Don't do what these parents did? Or was your close call at the zoo that day punishment enough to last you a lifetime?
That's not for me to decide. No matter what happens, and no matter how I wish it were otherwise, I know your story isn't the first of its kind, and it won't be the last.