In order to understand this saying, you have to first know who Harambe is and why people are so interested in him. In May 2016, a young boy crawled into the gorilla habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo. the gorilla habitat had been home to Harambe, a 17 year old western lowland gorilla for the past two years. There were also two female gorillas who called the habitat home. In response, the zoo keepers signalled for the gorillas to come inside. However, after hearing and seeing the child in its home, Harambe proceeded to approach the young toddler. In response to the intruder, he became increasingly agitated, and the gorilla wash shot and killed in order to protect the young child.
How did the Boy Get in the Habitat?
In order for the young boy to get into the habitat, he had to overcome a number of obstacles before falling 15 feet into a moat filled with shallow water. The first obstacle was a 3 foot tall fence, which the boy had to climb over. Once over the fence, the habitat had 4 feet of shrubs and bushes, which the toddler then crawled through before coming to the edge, where he fell. According to witnesses, the boy had been overheard stating his intentions of climbing into the habitat just before doing so.
How did Harambe respond?
Harambe first responded with curiosity and made his way to the toddler to see who had entered into his home. After a few minutes though he became increasingly more agitated. He would prop up the boy and knock him down. He drug him out of the moat and onto the dry land. He strutted around showing aggressive behaviors common for male gorillas protecting their territory. At over 400 lbs, such behaviors could have easily harmed the young boy, or even caused fatal injuries, causing the zoo officials to become increasingly concerned as Harambe’s behavior began to escalate.
How did Zookeepers Respond?
The first response by zookeepers was to try to call the gorillas to come inside. The two female gorillas came, but Harambe was already engaging with the boy. As his behaviors escalated, the decision was made by zoo officials to take the life of the male gorilla in order to prevent any further injuries from happening to the toddler. A single rifle shot hit the gorilla directly, and ended his life, allowing for the boy to be rescued. The public responded in outrage to the actions of the zookeepers, stating the gorilla had not yet seriously harmed the boy, and the decision to shoot and kill the gorilla was made too quickly.
So what does “Dicks out for Harambe” mean then?
In an outrage for the killing of the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla, a bunch of meme’s began to circulate showing a sense of solidarity and support for Harambe. One of the catch phrases coined was “Dicks out for Harambe” on many of the facebook and twitter posts. Some have taken this saying to simply mean show your support and solidarity for the gorilla. However, there is also another meaning which some understand this phrase to mean. The term “dicks” is also street slang for a concealed handgun. By pulling the handgun out, you are showing your support and being moved to action on behalf of the 17 year old gorilla to avenge his wrongful death.