"Florida, over the years has become one of the worlds strongest tourist magnets, with sun soaked beaches and crystal springs. And with a little help from a mouse, Walt Disney World continues to lure more visitors than any other single attraction anywhere in the world. A word of caution, "Watch out for alligators." Once endangered, alligators have made a strong comeback and have become something of a nuisance. Hold onto your small pets." (from Netstate.com)
This quote is the epitome of understatement. Yesterday it was announced that a local woman was killed by an alligator, which brings the death toll to three people killed by alligators in this month alone.
As all of you know, Florida has never been known for it's wealth of intelligentsia. As we've grown and attracted educated people, we've gradually built a small pool of individuals that can walk and chew gum at the same time. (My own family was imported from New York when I was a baby).
So it's no wonder that when I was growing up, we saw a spate of alligator attacks due to moronic old women who would feed wild alligators marshmallows. They'd take jumbo marshmallows, impale them on the end of a stick, and tempt the alligator to come up and eat the marshmallow off the stick. Alligators began to add it up: people = food.
Alligators were everywhere, and no one was happy about it. So it was to everyone's surprise when the government declared the alligator an endangered species in the 70s. "Endangered?" my father, the Scientist, snorted. "They breed like rabbits and they have excellent survival skills. They've been around since the dinosaurs roamed the earth!"
"Well then, why don't you write and tell them, Dad?" I asked. I don't remember his exact reply, but basically he told me that politicians are a frightening lot which continually make terrible mistakes but refuse to be corrected by anyone with an informed opinion. Writing to them about this mistake would have been useless and simply a waste of time.
I thought that was a little harsh, but then we recently had chads, George Bush, and Katherine Harris and I was a political advisor for 5 years, so I stand corrected. Kidding! I do think we can make a difference, but it takes more than one person to do it.
In 1981, the government realized that alligators do, indeed, breed like rabbits. But being unwilling to appear entirely idiotic, the politicians downgraded the status to "protected." Meanwhile, we eat gator ribs, nuggets, and patties in our local restaurants. If you want to buy gator meat, you can go here.
We all remain confused.