On June 7, a 2-year-old boy and his family were at a movie night outdoors at a Disney resort, named Grand Floridian. At around 9 p.m., the father and boy waded about a foot into the water of a lake right in the backyard of the resort (CNN.com). Suddenly, the boy was dragged underwater by an alligator and his parents were unable to pry open the mouth of the alligator.
The boy’s body was found several days later, still intact, close to only ten feet away from where the boy was taken. Therefore, the boy died from drowning by being pulled under the water, not from being eaten by the alligator.
When I first heard of this story, several feelings washed over me. First, sadness. Sadness for the boy’s life lost way too soon; while also for his mom, dad, and sister. Second, I felt anger. To me, it seems common knowledge that there is dangerous wildlife in Florida, specifically with creatures from the ocean. How could that boy’s parents be so irresponsible to allow their child to walk into a lagoon infested with alligators (and more) late at night?
Several people had common feelings as I, as expressed through Twitter.
However, while my feelings of sadness and anger remained after discovering more information on the situation, the direction of my anger shifted. It shifted towards the carelessness of the resort.
At Shades of Green, a nearby resort to the Grand Floridian, there are clear signs near bodies of water that state, “Florida is a natural wildlife habitat. Do not feed or go near the alligators.”
The only signs near the waters at the Grand Floridian state “No Swimming.”
With sand surrounding the perimeters of the lagoon, I can understand how the boy and his father thought it was okay to go wading into the water. One only needs to move a couple feet over to stick his feet in water while going for a nightly walk along the sand.
To me, swimming is being completely submerged in the water while wading is solely walking in the water, with the water not higher than one’s knees. Would the boy still have been alive today if the resort would have wrote one more cautious sentence on each of the signs near the lake?
"In every tragedy there's an opportunity to learn from it and to make modifications," Demings said.
Sheriff Jerry Demings replied with this after a CNN correspondent asked if alligator warning signs should be placed at the lake. While Demings dodged around this question, which indirectly asked if the resort was at fault for the attack, I believe the resort is completely at fault and that the opportunity from which to learn is clear.Alligator habitats needs to be boldly mentioned on all signs near the edge of every couple feet of lakes next to the resort, to mimic the appropriate signs in the nearby Shades of Green Resort.
The parents have gone through enough torture, do not add to it by calling them neglectful and blaming them for his death, as I initially thought.