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Monday, September 4, 2006

The croc guy bites it

"Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin's been killed by a stingray.

And of course, there's video. It's just a matter of time before the gruesome scene is viewable on YouTube.

Comments (14)

It's pretty sad and shocking to lose such an iconic figure so suddenly--and how horrible for his poor kids and wife. I definitely respect the work he did to try to convince people that even the most deadly and fearsome creatures deserve to be protected as much as the most loveable and cuddly.

I'm sure there were a lot of times he went to work wondering whether he woiuld be coming back. But I doubt anybody thought that a stingray would be the end of him. It was quite a remarkable shot.

I remember when my cousin's husband died, she was able to find some solace in the fact that he had had earlier brushes with death and so the timing must have been God's. Irwin seemed charming and quite a showman; it's sad to see him go. And he has really young kids which makes it sadder.

I do, however,wonder whether he really grappled with the "biggest issues of wildlife conservation" as the O editorial contends. I will have to look up his work; I don't know it. But what I do know about "conservation" in Australia is that there has been a drive to eradicate cats based on knee-jerk reaction rather than science. Two of my heros are Ian Steeps of the Cat Defence League in New South Wales, Australia and Louise Holton of Alley Cat Rescue in Maryland. Steeps organized a successful internet effort that persuaded the Australian Parliament not to enact rigid anti cat laws in NSW. And these two have brought out evidence that cats have never been the deciding factor in the demise of a species. Yet my sister tells me that in the south of Australia, cats are killed, their skins displayed in store windows, and that the people there are just too lazy to implement trap-neuter-return programs to remove cats from the environment through attrition. It seems like the worst sort of reactionary garbage.

You can't say this is off-topic, and I felt the need to get back in the saddle and risk attack for defending cats two days in a row.

Crikey, how ironic. After engaging in all those dangerous animal stunts, he was killed by a Corvette? At least it was good old classic American iron/fiberglass that did him in.

I must confess that I don't get it. The guy made a living provoking dangerous creatures. We're supposed to act shocked when one actually gets him? I feel for his family (as I do with any family that experiences the loss of a loved one) but - come on - it's not like this sort thing was unforseeable.

What's not to get? It was a freak accident. Considering the fact that stingrays are quite docile and death-by-stingray is very rare, yeah, it is pretty shocking.

I understand that particular aspect was unusual. What I was referring to was his line of work. It wasn't like he was a 40-hours-a-week-at-the-office kind of guy. He performed dumb and dangerous stunts for a living.

It's not unlike Roy Horn (of Siegfried & Roy fame) being attacked by a tiger. People acted all shocked by that too. These are wild creatures -- whether in a circus or supposedly docile in the wild -- and our interference can prove to be disastrous.

I'm not faulting the guy for what he did, but he had to know it was incredibly dangerous (in general -- not the stingray in particular). I just don't think that his death is in any way remotely shocking.

Hey Ellie, what's your real point? Of course it's shocking when a popular and celebrated figure dies suddenly. It would be shocking if your sky-diving aunt were to splat herself all over the landscape, wouldn't it? Despite her risky life style? Your point seems to be that Steve Irwin did stupid things and so what if he died? He asked for it, right?

My point? One, his death was neither a surprise nor a shock. My fictional sky-diving aunt splatting on the landscape? Neither a surprise nor shock. These things are forseeable.

Two, people are obsessed with celebrities. Witness this "news event" -- people are obsessing about this guy at the expense of educating themselves about real issues. (Save me the "he educated people" line. I've heard it. Not buying it.) Wanna freak out about some TV star? Go ahead. Wanna blather on about his poor family? Hey, I'll join you. I do pity his poor family. It is unfortunate that they lost a father/husband/etc. especially when his death was completely unnecessary. But, hey, celebritydom calls.

"He asked for it?" Scott, I'm cold, but I'm not that cold. Yes, he knew the risks and he gambled anyway. What you're inferring is that I think he deserved it. To that I respond: absolutely not.

My views may be offensive to you. Fine. Quite frankly, I think the obsessive coverage of this is borderline offensive.

Yeah, he did risky things, but he wasn't doing anything especially risky when he died. How many people have been snorkeling? How many people have petted a stingray at an aquarium? If a Nascar driver were in some kind of freak car accident, would it be any less shocking just because he drives at excessive speeds for a living?

Should be: "If a Nascar driver were to die in some kind of freak car accident..."

Although he is hard to miss as a sensation,I had never really had paid too much attention to this guy; my sister leaves Animal Planet on for her parrot while she is gone, and I have seen him a few times when I have checked in on her pets while she is out of town. But after reading the comments on this blog and Portland Freelancer, I checked out some of the coverage saturating the newsmedia. He did seem to be coveting the spotlight and goading creatures. Someone commented that his death was ironic; I can see that: Irwin was killed by a shy creature with a spot-on aim. Leads us to ponder the deeper mysteries of the Animal Kingdom.

Your Nascar example is perfect, raging red! Seriously, I thought about using Dale Earnhart as an example as well because it illustrates this whole shock-and-mourning-of-a-celebrity-with-a-dangerous-career perfectly.

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