Article

AN OPINION: Quint with a Tri-fin

| posted on July 22, 2010

Check your PC at the door.

“I think the authorities should hunt down the shark and kill it,” said one caller to my Sunday morning talk radio show (Down The Line – XTRA Sports 1360AM). “If this was a mountain lion, there would be sheriffs deputies and animal control people hunting the cat down, so it doesn’t kill again.”

An interesting point.

If a shark kills someone, shouldn’t we be allowed to take it out? Doesn’t it qualify, like the killer mountain lion, as a social nuisance? Why is it okay to kill a mountain lion but not a shark?

The gut response: when we enter the ocean we’ve effectively agreed to waive our right to safety. If you want to play, you MAY have to pay. You have now entered the shark’s territory. This is not human territory. But, are we not entering the mountain lion’s territory when we take off into the hills on a bike ride? Of course we are. Yet a bullet to the head of the mountain lion is welcome news to most.

Another caller chimed in, “it’s not okay to hunt and kill this shark because when we go in the ocean we have left our natural environment and have entered the sharks. It’s his world, we are only guests.”

I’m here to tell you that the ocean is a big part of mankind’s natural environment. Mankind has been interacting with the oceans since the beginning of time. Sure, we can’t live it in 24/7. But neither can seagulls or polar bears or penguins or sea lions. The entire earth is mankind’s natural environment. If humans can gain sustenance and interact socially in the ocean it qualifies as part of our natural environment.

“Great White sharks are federally protected,” explained another caller.

I’ve got news for you, last time I checked, humans are federally protected too.

“Mountain lions are regional and territorial,” explained another caller.

Well so are sharks. Aren’t they?

The nature of this question is at the root of our problem. We don’t know. The scientific community doesn’t know. Very little is known about the habits of the Great White shark.

Enter F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real.

How do we know that a rogue shark might like it down here in San Diego? How many are out there? And why is a 100 square mile ‘territory’ for the mountain lion a small enough region for us to kill it, but the 1000 square mile ‘territory’ of the Great White Shark too big? When does a ‘territory’ become a ‘migration?’

Even though it’s not PC to say this, and even though it doesn’t make any scientific sense, and in our sensitive ‘environment first’ surfing world you could quite effectively label me a whacko, in my heart of hearts, if that shark was hanging from it’s tail in Oceanside harbor, and some fragments of the victims wetsuit were found inside of its digestive tract, I’d feel a little safer. I know… I know. It ain’t right. I’m a bad man. I’m naive. I’m a fear-based shoot-first-ask-questions-later ignoramus. I’m Quint with a tri-fin. Guilty as charged. But I think deep down in my gut, as I’m paddling out on a cold, gray dawn patrol morning, I’d feel a little safer. Just being fearful, errrr…I mean honest.

How do you feel about this subject? Comment below.