I'm not a native Floridian, much less someone who has ever spent significant time in central Florida. Still, I have opinions -- and express them quite openly -- about all sorts of things about which I know little. Why should this topic be any different?
Some people like to experience nature in its purest forms. Some of us are content to watch the Discovery Channel, or perhaps see what may very well be alligator-infested waters from the safety of a boat. Others of us must actually immerse our bodies in the rivers and lakes from which alligator sightings have been reported. Some of us even leave the utterly relative safety of a group with which we were formerly traveling and venture off into more secluded (and reputedly more gator-infested) areas of the bodies of water.
In a very recent case, the last scenario led to a woman losing her forearm and suffering abdominal bites at the mouth of an alligator inhabiting the waters of the Wekiva River in central Florida. The woman is currently hospitalized. Her condition has not been released. The alligator has been caught and euthanized.
I'm not going to start an argument here about the value of an alligator's life versus the rights of humans to enjoy nature in its relatively remote settings. Perhaps alligators are like some other animals of prey that, once they taste human flesh, will seek it with a level of aggression that renders the particular alligator's continued existence a danger. I really don't know enough about alligators, the Wekiva River, or that region of our nation enough to make an intelligent argument one way or another about the situation. (I know; what's stood in my way in the past?)
All I can say is that, when many accidents befall others, I look at their situations and say to myself, "There but for the grace of God go I." I look at this particular situation and say, "There's no way in hell that could have happened to me." One look at a picture of that river, without even knowing its location of central Florida, causes me to fear to enter the river even in the sturdiest of watercraft, as boats have been known to capsize, and people have been known to fall or be thrown overboard, or, for that water, even walking atop its surface while holding hands with our Lord and Savior.
I hope the woman recovers as well as one can recover after losing half an arm, and goes on to lead a fulfilling life. I hope something good, whatever that might be, comes of the alligator's death. And while desiring not to sound overly judgmental in saying this, especially since I really don't know what I'm talking about in terms of what is customary and acceptable in the part of the Wekiva River where all of this went down, yet knowing that I probably do come across as every bit as judgmental as I'm trying not to be, I hope we as humans can learn to stay where we belong so that alligators do not need to lose their lives for doing what it is they do naturally.