Then I went inside and it didn't take long before I got myself in a conversation. Shoulda just kept my mouth shut but we all know that's not gonna happen. So it started.
I made a random statement to no one in particular about how incredibly busy this place was. I was really just talking to myself but a nearby patron responded that the place was full of travelers and truck drivers. (Really? A truck stop full of travelers and truck drivers?! Astounding grasp of the obvious).
"I belong to the category of the latter." Hey, they wanted to chat, I'll chat.
'Oh really? Are you a long haul driver? Where are you from?'
"I live in Florida."
'Where that alligator ate that kid?'
"Well, that's Orlando. I live closer to Saint Augustine. But, yes, same state."
Then a lady joins in to let us know how horrible it was that the poor kid was eaten by an alligator. She went on to say that she hopes they kill all those horrible creatures and the family should "sue the daylights out of Disney for letting that happen."
Yep, you can probably guess my reaction to that. Things just turned bad from there when I rolled out the logic train. "All abooooard! Next stop, 'peoplepissedoffville' ".
So let's just jump right to it. First off, yes, it's tragic. The needless, senseless, avoidable death of anyone is tragic. I'm beginning to feel like a broken record here. I understand the father fought valiantly in an attempt to save his young but he's no real match for a gator.
However, killing so much as one alligator was stupid. Let's start there. See, I'm a bit of a nerd and animal lover. I've raised reptiles before and studied animals for a long time. So the first thing the Parks and Wildlife officers should've explained was that alligators generally don't eat anything that big right away. They take it under, drown it, then stuff it under rocks or structures for a few days or so so that the water tenderizes the meat. So the odds of finding the remains in a gator's stomach that soon were pretty much zilch. A week or so later? Maybe.
Even then... To just grab random alligators seems pretty stupid. People do the same shit with shark attacks. Like what are the odds you're going to find that EXACT animal? With sharks, they actually do this thing where they swim around. I know it's weird, fishing SWIMMING. With gators, yes, they're a bit more territorial and hang out but why kill a bunch?
If there's a hit and run accident we don't just start grabbing random drivers and killing them. "Humanitarians" would be all kinds of up in arms if random innocent people were just gassed down for looking similar to someone else. Plus, even the alligator that got that kid was innocent. It was doing what alligators do.
There are signs up telling people not to play in the water and that alligators may be present. THEY ignored the warnings, that's not the alligator's fault. If they want to blame the gators they should put up signs telling the gators to stay away. Apparently that'd be just as effective as expecting humans to follow the signs.
Nor is it Disney's fault. Which is my next issue with this. Should Disney be sued? Nope.
I know I'm gonna sound harsh here and I'd like to apologize but let's be fair. If you live in America and you don't know there are alligators in Florida then no amount of money will make you smarter.
Some people have argued that there should've been signs telling them there was a risk of alligator attack. Let's look at that logically.
There were signs up telling them not to swim there. Those warnings were ignored. So warning them the specific risk involved would be the game changer here? We really need to specify WHY you're supposed to follow rules?
Is it tragic that a child died? Yes. Of course I hate that it happened. However, that child counted on his parents to make good choices for him. They didn't. Financially rewarding them for their own negligence would seem to me to set a terrible precedent. Unfortunately, that's the America we are creating. The America where people lack accountability.
Me? I'm the asshole for not being more "compassionate and humanitarian". The rest of America is compassionate and humanitarian for applauding the senseless killing of innocent animals and caged gorillas because we humans can't take care of our offspring as well as most other animals on this planet.