Saturday, July 14, 2012

Questioning the 'Protected' Status of Great Whites?

First, let me say that I am deeply saddened by the death of the 24 year old man in Western Australia who was bitten in half by a 16 foot long Great White shark on Saturday. The incident is ghastly, terrible, tragic and whatever other adjective you want to put on it. A young man's life was cut short, and no matter how that may occur, it is always tragic.

However, (you knew this was coming) now the news is that some people are questioning whether the Great White should still have 'protected' status. This latest attack was the fifth fatal shark assault since last September in Western Australia. I have an idea. Stay out of the freakin' water. Or, stay out of water so deep that a 16 foot predator can have easy access to you for lunch.

Why is it that an animal who lives in the ocean and eats living things in said ocean for its survival has to be hunted down so people can surf and swim in the ocean? Since when is surfing or swimming in the ocean a 'need'? The ocean is full of creepy crawly swimmy things that will bite you, sting you, eat you, poison you and generally ruin your whole blessed day if you happen to be unlucky enough to come into contact with it.

I love the way the articles describe this incident. They call it a 'savage' attack. Of course it was. Great White sharks have a brain mass that is 238 times less than we humans. In other words, it's a freakin' dinosaur that only does certain things. It swims, it eats, and it makes baby sharks. The Great White has no soul, no morals, no reasoning capacity, and obviously no mercy when it comes to feeding time.

The articles go on to quote that local marine scientists say Western Australia's coast is the most deadly shark attack zone in the world. Now, since we humans have the capacity to think and reason and discern, who's fault do you think it truly is when someone gets bitten in half by a Great White shark? The only time I've ever heard of anyone being eaten by a shark while on land was on one of Saturday Night Live's skits where a fictional land shark would knock on an apartment door and eat the person that answered it. It was funny, but not realistic. Just as nobody has ever had enough bottles of whiskey attack them and have their contents forcibly poured down their throats to cause them to be an alcoholic, neither has anyone ever been attacked by a shark while not near or on an ocean beach. When you go to the beach and get in the water, you are on the sea creatures' home turf and you are subject to their rules and their way of life. And, if you weren't aware, their way of life is pretty violent and brutal. They have no conscience, no pity, no remorse and do not have the ability to say, "I'm sorry for taking off your leg." Plus, since they are only doing what comes naturally, they shouldn't HAVE to apologize for ripping  you in two. Not only that, they especially shouldn't have to die because of it.

The girlfriend of the young man is understandably distraught. She put a tribute to him on Facebook that I would like to share with you. It says, "Let's remember that he was doing something that meant the world to him. Surfing was his soul, his life, his culture and his passion." I think that's nice. Therefore, he should have been aware...and probably was...that his soul, his life, his culture and his passion came with risks. Just as we take risks by simply getting in our car and driving down the road. Thousands upon thousands of people die every year in traffic accidents, but do you see our governments killing all the cars? Of course not. But, when it comes to a creature that is only doing what it does in its own home by its own rules of engagement, then it's okay to think about removing 'protected' status from it so we can feel better about ourselves by exacting some kind of perverted revenge for people who knew the risks of the activity before they entertained them.

Now, I have no fondness for sharks, or jellyfish, or barracuda or anything else that might want to hurt me for some inexplicable reason I can't understand. Therefore, I stay away from the beach. I work offshore and develop equipment that goes to the bottom of the ocean. I like the ocean. But, I like the ocean while I'm on a boat or a platform. I don't go in the water. There are things in there that might think I taste good. So, keep that in mind the next time you go swimming at the beach. You don't own it. The sea creatures do. Most of the time they leave you alone. But, when they don't, refrain from crying out for justice. In the sea, there is none.

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