I think there are false expectations that people have for safety. The zoo should have controls in place to make it difficult for some to wander next to a gorilla, but patrons should also recognize the hazards associated with visiting a zoo, especially when they bring young children who understand those hazards even less. I think this is comparable to being near a busy road and losing track of your kid as he wanders out onto the street. Yes, these things happen, but every accident is preventable (this may be the oil refinery employee in me talking).
I’m not saying that these particular people are bad parents, but ultimately they are the ones responsible for watching where their kids go. As an outsider to this event, but as someone who works in a potentially dangerous environment on a daily basis, losing touch with the hazards around you and/or expecting someone else to keep you safe is a surefire way to get yourself or someone else hurt or killed.
If you want all of the responsibility for safety to be placed on the zoo, which of course means they would be open to lawsuits when something goes wrong, be prepared for your zoo experience to suffer greatly. We will all be treated as though we are the three-year-old boy who decides he wants to jump into the cage with a gorilla.
Use common sense and don’t take shortcuts.
So many people today are completely ignorant of even the most basic personal safety measures. I cannot tell you how often I see someone mowing the lawn in shorts and flip flops and wearing neither eye nor ear protection. If a stone jumps up and catches you in the eye, you now only have one eye left. On the other hand, I would be fine since I would have protected my eyes with safety glasses. But taking those small extras steps is an inconvenience for most people, so they take shortcuts because “Probably nothing will happen.”
Nothing usually does happen, but when it does, you cannot just chalk it up to “accidents happen.” You also have no business saying, “They should have made it safer.” At the end of the day, you chose to visit the zoo or you chose to use a lawnmower. There are ways to keep yourself safe from harm, but just because something is not made impossible to do does not make it wise to do.
Be responsible for your own safety because you cannot control what others do.