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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Eight Deaths By Gator In Three Years

Florida Cracker has May's running death-by-gator count. So far this month, three women in Florida have been killed by gators. Some people believe that's not a problem:
Trappers are hanging bait in an attempt to catch the aggressive gator.

Some of the neighbors are concerned about the gator being trapped and killed, and suggest people just use common sense to avoid them.
Common sense, such as moving out of Florida? Look, a gator is a predator and it sees people as food. The only reason that they don't eat more people is that people look too large and they want easy prey. But gators get quite large themselves, and the bigger they are the more a small woman looks like a tasty snack. When they get really, really big, a large man looks like a tasty snack.

Call it a sign of our times - many people are fonder of gators than their victims and don't recognize a carnivore when they see one. Presumably they would revisit that conclusion if they had their arm torn off by a gator, but the odds are still against that happening. By the way, the stats given in the articles are wrong. Before this May, there had been seventeen confirmed deaths by gator since 1973 and five had occurred since the beginning of 2003. Since 1948, there had been 25 and 9 in which people might have been chomped after death. There have been over 360 attacks on people since 1948.

Now there are twenty fatalities since 1973 and eight have occurred since June of 2003. So in about 30 years there were 12 deaths, and in the last three years, there have been eight deaths. At some point, one would think that people would grasp the trend. The gators are growing larger and winning. The larger the gator, the less likely you are to survive an attack. The smaller you are, the less likely you are to survive an attack.

Gators have no fear of humans unless they have been attacked by humans. They have no natural fear of humans. Large gators do eat small gators, but the thing is that small gators fight back. So the human looks like safer prey....

Most alligator attacks aren't fatal, although the wounds can be extremely severe. Here is a list of some non-fatal attacks this year in Florida:
April 22 - told to find the gator himself:
"I was swimming and out of nowhere he grabbed me on the shoulder," Noling said. "I have six or seven puncture wounds on one side and four or five on the other."

Noling, a professor at the University of Florida's Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, has lived alongside the lake for eight years.
...
Noling called the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and was told someone in the area must have been feeding the alligator -- which is against the law.

Gary Morse, spokesman for Fish and Wildlife, said he thinks this is the first alligator attack in Polk County this year.

A permit has been issued to trap the alligator that bit Noling. Noling will have to contact Fish and Wildlife when he sees the alligator again so the trapper can catch it, Morse said.
April 25 (he stabbed it with his diving knife):
A man diving for golf balls inside a lake at a city-owned golf course was attacked by a nine-foot alligator this afternoon and suffered several puncture wounds to his lower arm.
April 26 (he punched it out):
Crutchfield, 67, was wade fishing the lake in waist-deep water with longtime friend David Putnam of Sarasota for over three hours when he was suddenly grabbed on his right hip by a submerged alligator.

"It's all a blur," said Crutchfield. "The absolute second I was grabbed, I balled my fist and swung down hitting the gator about in the eye, I think."
...
"I've spent my entire life fishing, hunting and frog gigging on lakes in Central Florida and have only had a few close encounters with gators," he said. "There are so many gators out there right now that people better really be careful. There is a clear and present danger."
There's a pattern here. Large gators win, men have a better chance, although losing an arm to a large gator can really ruin your day, and small women are gator chomp, even while they are in their own back yards. Where's NOW when you need it? What about disparate effect, huh?

Speaking of disparate effect, you are a total fool if you let your children go near many natural bodies of water in Florida. They look like snackpacks to gators. Keep that in mind as you make your vacation plans.

Update: In case you aren't getting the "sign of our times" comment, see Shrinkwrapped's excellent post regarding the latest NSA flap. If there are gators, one must deal with them. To deal with them, one must find them. Dr. Sanity's post about the beast of narcissism is also extremely relevant:
It has been said that the 20th century was the “century of the narcissist”, but the 21st is well on its way to outdoing the horrors of the past, as a seemingly never-ending epidemic of malignant narcissistic rage and idealism--both caused by a defect in narcissism and both in turn combining to crush the human spirit--all for the purpose of serving the self-aggrandizing vision of the few.

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