The Predictability of Shark Attack
If there is anything that is predictable about sharks, it is that every attack no matter how 'minor' will be reported in full and chilling detail (if detail is not available, supposition seems to sometimes be used by media outlets, observers, medical providers, etc...). The larger it is, not only will it be reported on in great detail, but the stories will become legend and the facts and gossip will continue on to be discussed, dissected and embellished until the attack itself seems to be something out of a nightmare and not what it most likely is... a human being who has entered another environment that is not his native environment and (in most cases) has broken some basic rules that make them a more likely accidental target.
Our planet has billions of people that thrive and move on its surface- the numbers who will ever be party to a shark attack are so small and the number of people that will die from such attacks are extremely rare. Unlike how the media tend to portray an attack, a shark rarely attacks a person because the shark has determined that that the prey is human, edible, and then it attacks for its dinner. Instead, a shark bites because it is curious, confused, or distressed. Like the small baby puppy you bring home who chews on everything (including you) to explore its world, a shark explores much of its world through its skin and mouth. It has no hands and does not breathe air. In most ways, a shark has not changed evolution-wise in millions of years. It swims and hunts for food as, like us, a shark cannot concentrate on leisure until its basic needs are met. And a shark has a very simply brain. It is a strong and powerful collective myth that teaches us to anthropomorphize sharks- to believe that they think like us and feel like us... and therefore since they bite and they attack out of nowhere and the dark depths of water that they are evil, angry beasts. This attitude allows us to feel adversarial towards them and also justify what we do to them in our fear.
1. In May, a man in Australia was knocked off of his board and bitten on his leg. The breed of shark is unknown and he (the victim, not the shark) is in good spirits.
2. On June 10th in Florida, a young women was bitten by a shark while playing on a boogie board- she received 29 stitches. The breed of the injurious shark is unknown and her bite appears to be 'exploratory' – an 'oops' as a shark showed interest and then realized that she was not anything that he had interest in.
3. On May 18th, two women were bitten by 'a fish' while swimming off a beach of Vietnam. They were led to shore and given medical care. Her injuries are similar to those previously inflicted by sharks.
4. In May, a man was surfing at Point Plomer and he was bitten by a bull shark on his leg. He was treated by a paramedic and he walked away with no major injuries. There was a lot of fishing going on and it is believed that the bull shark was chasing the fish.
5. On April 13th, a young boy was bitten on his leg in Port Alfred, South Africa while surfing. After some surgery he returned home.
So when you go to the beach this summer, and look down at the water, before you jump in.... take a moment to remember your place in this world. Remember that Heavenly Father has given us righteous dominion over the land and the animals, but righteous dominion is no guarantee. Remember that we are visitors here (especially in the ocean) and that our Father loves all of his creations and all of his creations have a place and a purpose. Just as we do.