In the comments to my previous post, [ profile] soaring_phoenix asks if I think all people in dangerous professions should give up their jobs if they have children.

As has been widely reported, Steve Irwin died yesterday. It turns out he was swimming above the ray, not engaging it, in which case his death really was a very freak accident -- stingray barbs to the chest are rare, and almost always fatal. (The one case I found online was listed as the only known case of a cardiac sting that survived, and that was someone who staggered right onto the beach and was rushed to the hospital.) In which case I was wrong in assuming that he was trying to bother the ray. [Edit: apparently, Irwin was swimming over the ray, with the cameraman in front, and the ray was effectively cornered. Not really smart.]

I thought Irwin was very charismatic. I also came to hate what he did. I remember watching his show once when he picked up a pregnant rattlesnake saying "Go ahead, bite him, he deserves it!" [Edit: No, I don't think he "deserved" to die anymore than anybody else deserves to die. I was just annoyed at the way he was manhandling the snake.] I stopped letting my children watch his show out of concern that it did not foster properly respectful attitudes towards wildlife.

I am the last person to argue that someone who is in a dangerous profession should give that up. People who are cops, firefighters, and who serve in the military have my profound respect, and their families my sympathy: there is always the danger of something bad happening. (I do understand it a bit: [ profile] brian1789's sister is a firefighter.)

So maybe it wasn't just the "he died doing something dangerous" as "he died doing something dangerous and unnecessary."


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