When news of the toddler, Lane Graves, who was killed by an alligator at a Disney resort broke, prayers and condolences were offered to the Graves family. But in the same amount of time that the support rushed in, so did the comments from every amateur pundit with an internet connection. So many folks with a bulls*** agenda felt the need to chime in on parental responsibility, race relations and politics.
A few cornballs created memes using images of animated gators from Disney movies that made light of the toddler’s demise. On the other end of the spectrum, people were boo-hooing over the alligators that were rounded up and euthanized during the search for the child’s remains. We the people are speaking out and showing the world that we are nothing but a nation of Eric Cartmans bickering with each other over a new social justice axe to grind.
Like I said in my previous post about the death of Harambee the gorilla, toddlers are like ninjas when it comes to breaking free from parental grasp. It only takes a few seconds for tragedy to happen and unless you’ve invested in a shock necklace, it’s nearly impossible to keep a kid that age out of trouble.
From the latest news reports, the Graves baby waded into about a foot of water when the alligator snatched him. All of those “No Swimming” signs posted at the Disney resort were likely ignored as no one was actually swimming. Does that mean the burden of blame rests on the shoulders of the parents? In a knee-jerk judgement call it does, but let’s take another factor into consideration.
Disney World is marketed to the public as a magical place where you can let go of all your real-world paranoia and be free to play like a child. With that in mind, anyone could lower their guard and fail to consider that a hungry alligator might waltz up to the edge of a river and try to eat their child. It would be one thing if the family was out swimming in deep water, but how many of you, outside of longtime Florida residents, can honestly say that you would have seen that coming? The Graves family was from Nebraska, not much of an alligator habitat as far as I know.
As much money as it costs to go to Disney World and book a stay at the Grand Floridian hotel–one of the most expensive on the entire property–one would assume that a fraction of that cost would go to keeping the area secure. But I’m not putting all of the blame on Disney as this is the first time an incident like this has ever happened on their grounds.
I’m just showing you how easy it is for a parent to underestimate the dangers of nature in such a designed and controlled environment. It’s not like a kid getting mauled by a pit bull on an urban street, where it’s already understood that constant diligence is necessary. Can any parent really consider every possible way that tragedy could strike all of the time?
Regardless of who shares the blame, two-year-old Lane Graves is dead. In the grand scheme of things, all of the shoulda-coulda-woulda jazz is worthless. Losing a child they loved is punishment enough for his parents.
The racial dynamics of the family in the Cincinnati zoo incident and the Disney gator attack are an entirely different conversation. As many have pointed out, while the Black boy’s parents were exposed, harassed, demonized and threatened with charges, it’s been mostly sympathy for the Graves family, who is white.
Social media has been rife with comparisons of the treatment of the two families. What’s sad about that is that for many, the near miss of one situation and the horrific outcome of the other have little to do with concern for either child. Instead, the goal is to be the first to create the most shareworthy comment on social media. In my view, there are no ‘likes’ for that.