1 – Things die all the time. Things that are not cute or rare or slow or docile. Things that are ugly. Jawed. Drooling. Things that do not in the least resemble humans. These things die in the millions. One life is worth the same as any other. So why go to all this trouble? Acquiring the gun, hopping the fence of the zoo, dodging the security guards. You just as easily could have killed something without leaving your home.
2 – The panda cannot be coerced into breeding. Its species is endangered and it is too lazy to multiply. Its face is flat and slow. Its eyes rheumy. You do not respect it. Its mere existence makes you angry – the way the keepers fawn over it. The way that children paw at the glass. The way it sits there chewing its bamboo. You try so hard, and it tries not at all.
3 – You have never shot a living thing before. You’ve never shot anything. The panda watches you assembling the rifle without the slightest hint of alarm. The gun, to it, is the same as any other thing. You imagine that, once the bullet hits home, it might not even flinch. Might sit there, chewing its cud, its bland face slowly growing more distant as its blood spills out.
4 – You have decided already what you are going to say when they finally catch up with you, when they ask you why you did it. You’ll look them right in the camera lens and say it deadpan: “I was jealous.”