Dear President Trump,
I learned about protection circles today at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. On the ride around the park the guide pointed out several groups of animals laying down or standing in loose circles, all looking out in different directions. The park is set up so the predators aren’t able to get to the antelopes and gerenuks (and the rest of the prey animals) so really, they are safe and don’t need to be on the look out, but apparently they can’t not do it. Moreover, the animal groups kept their smallest, youngest looking members on the insides of the circles, keeping them from wandering and better insuring their protection. Most mammalian parents and elders across the animal kingdom keep their offspring and charges close and look out for them (plus lots of birds do this – I’ve seen crows go after eagles that were messing with their crow babies so many times).
So what happens when violence is done to this deeply ingrained instinct to protect one’s young and to be under one’s parents’ proverbial wing? As numerous people have pointed out, your cruel practice of separating children from their parents at the border is profoundly traumatic for the young and will likely set them on shitty courses that will be hard, if not impossible, to correct later. Critical neural wiring that should happen won’t happen and other wiring (having to do with jacked up fight/flight/freeze reactions) will be laid down. These young beings are also much more likely to be picked off by predators; antelope babies will be eaten by cheetahs and human babies are at risk of being abused by whomever assumes custody of them, compounding the separation trauma. And the animal parent(s) (including human parents) basically go pretty crazy when they are forcibly kept from their children, when they don’t know where they are and whether they are safe. Something gets broken. Sometimes parents kill themselves over the loss of their children. Always, they despair.
There is no law in the history of the world that could ever justify the irrevocable harm you are perpetrating. Ever.
May we form circles of protection to keep our most vulnerable safe.
May we consider how we are systematically robbing countless children and parents of happiness.
May we consider how we are systematically robbing countless children and parents of health.
May we not be at peace as long as this is happening to anyone.