Shocking news reached the public on June 14, 2016, when an alligator snatched up a 2-year-old toddler at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa across from the Magic Kingdom Park, where the family was vacationing from Elkhorn, Nebraska. I cannot imagine the shock and the grief that this family must be going through during this time. This is one of the last things you would expect to happen on vacation, nevertheless at the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
I strongly believe that this tragic event could have been completely avoided. Let us just start off with the facts. According to CBS News, more than a million alligators live throughout Florida. They live in the Everglades, which is a “two-million-acre wetland ecosystem that reaches from central Florida, near Orlando, all the way south to Florida Bay.” Alligators, also do not even like to eat humans. They actually prefer easy prey and prey that does fight back is typically abandoned.
The toddler was attacked around 9 p.m. when he was wading in about a foot of water with his father. My question is why did the father think it was a good idea to take his 2-year-old son into a lagoon while it was dark out, especially when Florida is known for its alligators. According to CNN, Sheriff Jerry Demings said, “There are ‘No Swimming’ signs at the lagoon, and no one but the child was in the water at the time of the attack.”
Although, there were no signs that said there were alligators in the water, clearly, Walt Disney World put up those signs for a reason. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are about 1.3 million alligators that live in the Sunshine State, so chances are, there are probably one or two gators lurking around in that lagoon.
I asked my mother and my father the same question: As a parent would you have been wading in a lagoon at 9 p.m. with your 2-year-old child? Their answer… “Absolutely not.” I babysit from time to time and I would never even let it cross my mind to let a child go into a lagoon... especially when it has signs not to swim. I firmly believe that the parents should be charged with negligence and even murder because of their irresponsible actions.
A couple of weeks ago a child fell into a gorilla pit at the Cincinnati Zoo. The parent failed to vigilantly watch the child, which ultimately resulted in the death of an innocent gorilla. Do not get me wrong; if it were my child I would have wanted all precautions taken, too. But, if the parent was being more responsible then the whole situation could have been avoided.
I firmly believe that parents need to be more watchful over their children. Yes, children can be mischievous, but that is why you cannot take your eyes off of them. Parents need to be more aggressive when it comes to taking their children out in public, especially when around wildlife.