Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Crocodile Hunter dies in freak accident

Today a great man died. He was one of the most, if not the most, successful responsible conservationists to have ever lived. I feel great sorrow at this event. There was a great misunderstanding of this man IMHO. He did not put his child in great danger. He had an understanding of crocodiles that you or I cannot possibly fathom. I have always had a way with dogs. I believe this came from the first dog I had who was "Lassie" in real life who wandered into my parents' yard flea bitten and starving when I was a couple months old. She showed me her world out of a sense of gratitude and loyalty that is uncommon if not unknown in the human world. I am scared to death of crocodiles but I can understand from the experiences I had with wild dogs with my first dog how Steve Erwin could have learned to be safe with an animal set that I don't understand to the point that he did not see his "antics" with his young son as dangerous.

His death appears to be a completely freak accident. My wife and I fed young sting rays in the Caribbean in a tank and I have swum with large adults in the Pacific Ocean. They are very passive animals as a rule. I have taken rides on large manta rays but would have never attempted such an aggressive move with sting rays but more experienced or courageous divers than I do so every day.

I had what I am told is not an unusual mishap on a dive off the coast of California while fishing on scuba. I mistook a spiked fish with a protein based poison for an "indefensible" fish. I won't make that mistake ever again! I was spiked in the hand and the pain for the first few hours was highly unpleasant. The remedy proposed by the dive master on the boat was soaking in very warm water with meat tenderizer in it. The cable news coverage is talking about the warm water part but I personally believe the meat tenderizer which breaks down proteins is a benefit for us schmucks that get hit by protein poisons. Steve Erwin had no ability to recover because of the nature of his freak accident. The barb hit his heart. I got barbed by a smaller but similar animal and missed one dive on a trip through my own stupidity. He got hit by a freak accident and died almost immediately.

My prayers go out to his family and friends but in the same breath I will say that I hope his legacy is that more people with his skill set will step forward and promote responsible ecology protection and an understanding of the wild animals that we as a species must coexist with.