THE BLOG
01/18/2008 05:36 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Stoned and Drunk and Messing with Tigers

I read the headline "Mauling Victim Taunted Tiger" and my first response was to check it off to one weird headline in the newspaper.

But then I read it because the picture of the victim made me realize he was very young. Not much older than my kids.

Young men at the San Francisco zoo on Christmas day, mauled, one killed by a tiger they were taunting.

I could only respond from my place in the world as a mother.

Did I have to tell you NOT to do that? What about getting high, drinking and driving was not enough of a blatant disrespect for rules? You had to go and taunt a tiger?

I'm not trying to be funny. It's a nightmare to me as a parent. What do I have to say, what have I missed and my god, when does common sense kick in?

I'm horrified to imagine one of my kids could do something so dangerous. And not have a clue how dangerous it was. Their friend is dead. The tiger is dead. The EMT's and Police that came were put at risk not to mention the countless people who witnessed the gruesome event.

It makes me scared. Scared as a parent of three boys. What do I have to say to them? What kind of culture continues to encourage the level of risk taking seen in these young men, continually, all over the country?

The blame, as it is being bantered across many blogs, misses the mark. The victims, regardless of their behavior, were still attacked by a wild animal. Stupid, irresponsible, no question. A wild animal did what it is meant to do. I'm not sure how a zoo could be prepared for someone standing on a railing, drunk, high and creating a kind of disturbance that would trigger a wild animal's instincts.

I'm stuck on the drinking, getting high and driving. The blood alcohol levels above legal limits. Pot in the car.

And the lying. Their friend was dead and they lied about what happened.

I know there is a dramatic rise in violence and outwardly destructive behavior in girls, and it's not all about gender roles, but it is about gender roles. What it means to be a "man."

Where does it start? Showing off, playing among friends, who can be bolder, crazier, sillier? For girls does it become a contest of who can get away with the most makeup, the shortest skirt while boys end up taking more physical risks?

I don't understand why anyone would stand on a railing of a tiger enclosure and shout.

When does the bravado become uncool? When someone is dead?

I hope someone has the answer because as a mother, I can only ask why?