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Steve Irwin

As most have heard by now, Steve Irwin, aka the Crocodile Hunter, is dead. I first heard it over the radio on my car ride in to work on Monday. It was a very sad day. The world has lost a great animal lover, and his family has lost a father.

I'll be honest. I wasn't a huge fan of his shows. I did enjoy them somewhat, enough to watch them occasionally, especially considering what else is on T.V. But if it came down to a choice between Crocodile Hunter or Wild Kingdom, I'd have chosen Wild Kingdom. That was just my personal taste - I'd rather see just the animals themselves than see the host interacting with the animals. On the other hand, my daughter loved his shows, as did many others, so he definitely got people interested in wild life, which is a good thing.

But the main reason I'm writing this blog entry, is in response to all I've seen and heard since his death about how this wasn't so unexpected. Bah. He was killed in a freak accident by a sting ray. That would be almost like a NASCAR driver getting killed while changing the oil in his car at home after the jack broke and the car crushed him, and saying, "Well, look at all the chances he took driving in NASCAR, it's no surprise a car killed him."

Steve Irwin wasn't dumb. He may have taken a few more chances than some, but he knew a lot about the animals he was interacting with. How many other herpetologists handle dangerous snakes on a regular basis for research or for milking them to make antivenom? Why is it any worse to pick up a few here and there outside of that to educate people? And how many animal control people have to catch and relocate crocodiles or alligators? What was so different about Irwin doing it? Yes, what he did was riskier than laying on your couch watching T.V., but with the knowledge he had, the risks weren't as great as some people would believe. And the fact that he was killed by a sting ray (an animal I've swum with personally and can attest to how docile they are), was just a freak, tragic accident.

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