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Cougar staff debates: 5 black mambas vs. 1 gorilla; which would you spend a night in a mall with?

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

A recent disagreement has gripped the staff of The Cougar, tearing our once-peaceful office into two deeply entrenched parties. 

As Americans, we are of course no strangers to partisan divide. But this is different. The subject of this conflict is one that assails the very foundations of personal belief and philosophy. 

Would you rather spend one night locked in a mall with five black mambas, or one silverback gorilla?

Keep reading to see where The Cougar staff lands on this divide, as well as the results from a poll of our audience. 

Team mambas: 8

Sure, gorillas are “docile” as far as great apes go — I won’t deny that. But a silverback? Alone, out of its element — in a mall? You may be comfortable trusting a gorilla in that situation, but I sure as hell am not. One wrong move — eye contact, a misinterpreted facial expression — and you’re getting tossed across the Galleria like an old hoodie.

When a gorilla is out of its element, it becomes unpredictable, erratic. A snake, on the other hand, would likely just find the darkest, warmest spot it could and curl up there. If you gave me a million dollars, I genuinely don’t think I could even find five snakes in a mall, let alone fear for my life over them.

John Lomax, editor in chief

Because it’s common sense and I am a sensible human that makes the right choices. Also, I don’t want to be killed this early in my life. 

Gauraangi Gupta, senior campus staff writer

One gorilla and you’re dead, why not take your chances with five small snakes?

Camryn Alberigo, assistant sports editor

As a woman, I feel like I could summon my inner Medusa and make all the snakes my slaves easily. A gorilla could take me down with ease and I’m not prepared to throw hands. 

Regan Grant, SGA assistant editor

I’m just a girl. 

Atirikta Kumar, community assistant editor

Just put me in a Macy’s and the snakes won’t get me.

Grace Rednoske, media production specialist

In a mall setting, there is little risk of coming across the snakes. If one were to come across one, it would be easy to avoid them. Though black mambas are known for being aggressive, they only go on the offensive if they feel threatened, so if one were to encounter the black mambas, all they have to do is walk in the opposite direction. If one were to come across a silverback gorilla however, one wrong move and the gorilla will turn you into a thick red paste.

— Jordan Navarijo, senior SGA staff writer

To fight five snakes, I would simply have to close the door. Snake cannot open door. Gorilla can. I rest my case.

Malachi Key, opinion editor

Team gorilla: 6

I can probably find a gun somewhere. It’s Texas! Also, I am small and can hide in tiny places. I can also just hide in the elevator and call for help.

Cindy Rivas Alfaro, managing editor

I feel more comfortable knowing that I can see and hear a gorilla nearby and when it is nearby, I can find a good, small spot that it won’t be able to get to. With snakes, if I or one of the snakes ventures into the wrong spot, I wouldn’t notice the snake until too late, where we would both likely panic, resulting in me being bitten and dying. I understand there is a very small margin for error with the gorilla considering its likely aggression being in a new environment, but again, for my peace of mind, I’d rather be able to know when the where gorilla is nearby and go from there than risk getting caught unexpectedly in a bad step (or slither) with a snake.

Starns Leland, sports editor

I can easily keep my eyes on the gorilla, but five black mambas? They could easily slither around the mall and sneak up on me, but I highly doubt a gorilla could quietly sneak around due to its massive size. Black mambas are some of the world’s deadliest snakes and there’s no way I’d be able to survive a black mamba bite. Granted, a silverback gorilla can also cause fatal wounds but I wouldn’t be provoking the gorilla and gorilla attacks are uncommon unless provoked. 

Also, I feel like applying pressure to an open wound would be easier than trying to get snake venom out of me. ALSO, there would be FIVE of the black mambas and only one gorilla.

Logan Linder, campus assistant editor

I feel as if evading and running from one gorilla in a mall is easier than running from five black mambas, and any one of the black mambas is lethal whereas I could reasonably survive a boxing match with a gorilla.

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo, creative director

It just makes more sense. Especially if you’re IN the mall, the mall is so huge.

Aleke Stoddart, The Cougar staff adviser

It’s pretty simple, snakes have venom and gorillas don’t. Considering gorillas are territorial, I feel confident the gorilla would make a comfy home inside one of the nearest cafes. I really think a gorilla would be big chillin’ while the snakes would be roaming around the mall. I have a higher chance of interacting with five snakes spread throughout a shopping center than one gorilla.

— Robert De La Garza, news editor

Abstentions: 1

I abstain. 

Emma Christensen, web editor

Audience vote: 55% gorilla, 45% black mambas

On Monday, The Cougar posted this question on our Instagram account in the form of an audience poll. The race was a nail-biter, with both options fluctuating as the top pick. After a total of 107 votes team gorilla emerged the victor. This result is almost the inverse of The Cougar’s staff vote, in which team black mambas edged out team gorilla with 57% and 43% of the vote, respectively.

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