The juxtaposition of two nightmarish incidents in Florida last week provide a harsh life lesson for all of us about how ugly the world can get. But the more I see the general reaction unfold, the more I think that maybe it wasn’t harsh enough.
A family, vacationing at Disney World, lost their toddler son to an alligator attack. They were wading in some water and watched it happen right in front of them. It’s hard to imagine anything more horrible.
Since the attack there has been much commentary — about what the parents should have done, what the resort should have done, and on and on. One of the points I’ve heard most often is that the water where the family was wading had “No Swimming” signs, but had no notice that there might be alligators. So naturally the “solutions” we’re going to get to this problem are more signs, bigger signs, maybe a pamphlet on alligator awareness included with the Gideon Bible in every hotel room.
After that’s done, everybody involved will wipe their hands and figure that they’ve done what they needed to do. Meanwhile, everyone who really wants to solve the problem, who really wants to make sure that no more kids get dragged off by alligators, knows that no one has even considered the only sensible solution: kill all the alligators.
Not all the alligators in the world, or even all the alligators in Florida. But within the perimeter of the resort, where the people are, they should kill every single alligator, destroy their eggs, and obliterate their nests. Any alligator that wanders onto the grounds should be shot on sight.
Could they ever bring themselves to do this? I doubt it, considering that when they were cutting open alligators to search for the boy’s remains, they couldn’t even use the word “killing,” saying instead that the gators were being “euthanized,” which is just precious. Did they play soothing music and hold the alligator’s head in their lap while they did it?
Likewise, after 49 people were mowed down in an Orlando gay bar, lots of people are screaming that we should do something in response, and they’re suggesting pretty much every possible solution except something that would actually do some good.
One suggestion that seems to be getting some traction is the idea to pass a law preventing people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. This is the equivalent of a law preventing Florida alligators from buying dentures.
It’s hard to know what gets someone added to a terrorist watch list (which is part of the problem with terrorist watch lists), but if they have any significance at all, why should people on that list be allowed to buy anything? Indeed, why should they be allowed to set foot in public without being smothered in a dog-pile of city, state, and federal law enforcement officers? If we’re not doing that, then what is the list for, anyway?
Anyone who has any ties to, or expresses support for, Al Queda or ISIS should be arrested and charged with treason, at least. That’s what would be happening if we were a serious country. Not waiting for a long-time supporter of our enemies to murder a bunch of people. Not waiting for another child to be dragged into the lagoon. We’d be going out and killing the alligators.
I’m afraid, though, that we’re just going to put up a few signs (“If you see something, say something about how you’re a bigoted Islamophobe!”), pass some meaningless laws, and congratulate ourselves about how smart and good we are. But we have enemies who are not impressed by our smartness or goodness. As a father of two, I hope that somewhere out there we’ll find enough common sense to do what has to be done: kill all the alligators.