A Shocking Loss... and a Shocking Reaction....
...as many of you know already Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter", passed away unexpectedly.
Aw hell, I won't sugar coat it - he died. In a most unexpected and shocking way. In a tragic accident, although some think that it "was only a matter of time". I can't subscribe to that line of thinking based on what I've heard come down the wire since it happened (which is why I waited to write and publish this until now).
It was a freaky freak accident that took his life - he didn't provoke the stingray, he wasn't poking it with a stick or kicking it. He was swimming with it, the cameraman was in front of him, and the stingray somehow felt threatened. In the last 150 years, only 17 people have died from stingray attacks (according to what I heard on the radio the other day). It's an extremely rare thing to have happen. The last thing I expected that would kill a man like that would be a stingray. Crocodile, maybe, but not a stingray. But I can't agree with anyone who thinks that he was playing with fire, or that it was only a matter of time until something happened. The man was a rabid conservationist, he was an educator, and he lived life on his terms.
And he died while living his life the way he wanted to live it. For those who want to continue with the 'it was only a matter of time' argument, I have this to say: it's only a matter of time for any of us. After all, we could be hit by a bus tomorrow and our time will be up. And for those who think he 'took unnecessary risks' - we do that every time we get in our cars. It's not necessary to drive, and you don't know what awaits you out there on the road. Just ask anyone who has ever been in an accident that they're completely surprised by.
I totally did not expect to see people on message boards, and commenting on the news articles stating that he brought this upon himself. Only overdoses and suicides bring death upon themselves and this man fell into neither category.
Yes, Steve Irwin made some mis-steps, most notably when he was feeding a croc with his one month old son in his arms. Some forget that he's got an 8 year old daughter who has grown up at Australia Zoo and he probably did the same thing with her - he just wasn't famous then so no one noticed or cared. No, I'm not condoning it, I'm just saying it wasn't a big deal once and then when he became famous it was a big deal. I personally don't care either way what he did with his kids and the crocs, as long as he wasn't feeding the kid to the croc or teasing the croc (which he would never do with his children). What's done is done.
He's done a lot of good things with his relocations of crocodiles and making the Australia Zoo what it is. He's educated scores of people through that zoo and through the show 'Crocodile Hunter' on Animal Planet. I wish I could say that I loved watching him as I grew up, but I can't. My kids can - they loved his show and were sad to hear that he died. And sadder to hear that it was such a strange accident. And even more so that he's left behind an 8 year old daughter, a 3 year old son, and a wife and parents who loved him dearly.
No matter what anyone else thinks of the man, you cannot deny that. Steve, may you rest in peace and may your children grow up to be as rabid about animal preservation as you were. I only hope that the film of his death never ever makes it to any form of broadcast air. *THAT* would be a real tragedy....
...but sadly I suspect that "it's only a matter of time"...