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Crocodile Hunter killed

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The Wrath
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Talk about consistency: even in death he was teaching people about animals. All day Sunday the news networks were doing 3 minutes on Steve, and 5 more on stingrays. I learned more about stingrays this weekend than I ever had before!

How sad, though. I'll really miss that mad bloke.

Mercifully, his family is set for life. While I know it doesn't do much to soothe the pain of losing a husband/father, it's good to know that the financial burdens that come with the death of a family provider won't be felt along with the grief.

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Well, he did pull the barb from his chest, after it had pierced his heart, before he died.

On the subject of piercing objects, though it probably wouldn't have made much difference for him (because the barb is also poisonous), in many instances pulling the invading object out can do more harm than good. While still stuck in the body, the object may at least be stemming blood loss.

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I remain extremely ambivalent about the man and I'm not going to temper my judgment just because he's dead. He was a very extreme preservationist (along with his wife). Ever since I saw him on TV poking a snake with a stick and exclaiming about how mad it was like it was surprising (um, dude, you're poking it with a stick, if I were a snake I'd be p.o.'d too) it's been my general opinion that he was an idiot.

At least he had the grace not to die in a car crash, leaving us all with a very valuable lesson: quite apart from their other qualities, wild animals are DANGEROUS and getting rid of some of them is a good thing.

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We live in a world of probability not certainty, and the crocodile hunter knew he was in a high risk endevour, in fact it was his gimic like Elvis's pelvis. l dont mean to be insensitive but what he constantly did was dangerous, irrational and the outcome predictable. Something is not right in honoring without qualification, a man who acted so foolishly, and why is every one "shocked".

Regards

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a man who acted so foolishly,

I'm not convinced his actions were necessarily foolish. Many people in a variety of occupations expose themselves to calculated risks and some of those folks are killed while doing so. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Stingrays are not typically "killer" animals. If his head had been bitten off while sticking it into a unrestrained crocs mouth, I might go with foolish. But by several accounts so far, this was a highly unusual death; "freakish" being the word tossed about.

I'm not sure that I care much for animal conservationists, but I have some degree of admiration for the enthusiasm and committement he showed for his career.

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It was his life, he lived it his way, and died doing what he loved. That part is ok but to me it seemed that he believed he had some mystical shield that enabled him to remain safe while in close proximity to dangerous animals. Why else would he risk the life of his own baby by holding it while feeding raw meat to a huge, dangerously quick, and unpredictable crocodile? Luckily he only got himself killed by his irrational beliefs.

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I guess I'll have to see some Crocodile hunter episodes, to figure out what he was all about. I understand that the sting-rays are not usually dangerous; but, with crocodiles and so on, I'd like to ask: why did Irwin take the risks he did? What was the primary reason he used that style?

  • Was it to entertain, i.e. people will watch the like they do a circus where the man plays with lions? His program might have been educational, but was the risk-taking a way to entertain the audience during the educational process, and to get them to turn it on in the first place? ... or...
  • Did the apparent risk-taking have a message of its own: e.g. "Animals are not dangerous if you know how to behave around them", "Animals won't attack you if you don;t attack them", etc. ... or ...
  • Was that the best way to get really close to the animals? ... or ...
  • some other reason

In summary, compared to other educational animal programs, what end was acheived by the extra risk-taking (or apparent risk-taking)?

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but to me it seemed that he believed he had some mystical shield that enabled him to remain safe while in close proximity to dangerous animals. Why else would he risk the life of his own baby by holding it while feeding raw meat to a huge, dangerously quick, and unpredictable crocodile?
No one ever does anything like this without knowing the risks involved. Its about how you assess the risk and whether you feel you have the ability to lower it as much as humanly possible. With regards to the risk he put himself through, I don't think its any less "irrational" then people who trained to do an exceptionally extreme sport. I don't think he ever thought he had a "mystical shield" of invulnerability. He has handled many dangerous animals since he was a kid, and was taught early on that you have to be exceptionally careful when handling those animals. If he genuinely thought he was invincible, he would have taken risks that would have resulted in his death early on.

So why put his child in danger? I agree it was stupid, but it was probably more hubris on his part. Personally, I think that child was "safer" then if anyone else was doing that stunt, but I agree that it was stupid to do it. My understanding is that his childhood was one where he was surrounded by dangerous animals as a kid, and so feels his children can have a higher tolerance for dangerous situations based on his own expirence growing up.

In summary, compared to other educational animal programs, what end was acheived by the extra risk-taking (or apparent risk-taking)?

For me, the risk taking does two things, it acts to show that a well trained and practiced individual can indeed handle animals that are very dangerous. The second thing of course, is that risk also brings in viewers, people like seeing him get close and getting out alive. Yes we could see the same thing if we just stuck a camera by the animal and waited for it to do something after sifting through stock footage, but people like seeing someone take risks and come out alive.

Also, his stunts sometimes would involve taking a dangerous animal out of human territory so that people don't get bitten by poisonous snakes, or other nasty creatures. I have no problem with this, and its something of very good service since I doubt most people would know what to do if a deadly snake started living near your home where you kept your kids (in Australia, that does happen)

That he likes just seems to be part of his personality. I don't know if its really all that "irrational". Some people just really enjoy letting adrenaline flush through them and he clearly enjoyed being near animals. Simple pleasure maybe, but he loved it, and was good at it.

Edited by Strangelove
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It was his life, he lived it his way, and died doing what he loved. That part is ok but to me it seemed that he believed he had some mystical shield that enabled him to remain safe while in close proximity to dangerous animals. Why else would he risk the life of his own baby by holding it while feeding raw meat to a huge, dangerously quick, and unpredictable crocodile? Luckily he only got himself killed by his irrational beliefs.

Personally I don't think there was anything mystical about his beliefs. While still unpredictable to some degree, I would suggest that they were a good bit less unpredictable to him than they would be to you or me. When you study or grow up around animals, you tend to observe and learn behavior patterns that make them more "predictable". Other factors make a difference in their dangerousness as well. The biggest two things I can think of are 1) is the beast hungry or not; and 2) is someone in any way threatening the beast or the young of the beast?

As Objectivist, I think it's fair to say that as much as anyone else we should know how important knowledge is in relation to the likelihood of survival. An increase in one's knowledge about something generally increases their ability to survive in relation to that something. For many of us our level of knowledge of wild animals tells us "I know just enough to stay away from them." Steve Erwin's knowledge of wild animals was significantly greater than that. I don't think he believed he had some mystical shield, I think he was armed with knowledge of animal behavior and that he thought he knew how he could be around these beasts at a greater level of safety than it appeared to others. But even the best or most knowledgeable people in their fields can still get killed. As an example I offer Dale Ernhardt, the NASCAR driver. There is some quality in the those folks who are the best in their field that causes them to push the envelope moreso than other folks would. I think there is a drive in them to dominate that which others think is indomitable. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't; an unescapable characteristic of risk.

I grew up around dogs (big dogs for that matter) so I'm generally far less fearful of them than many other folks I know that did not grow up with dogs as pets. Their body language tells a lot about their demeanor, and your body language tells them a lot about whether you are a threat to them, whether you are scared of them, if they perceive you as dominant, etc.

Edit: I see Strangelove echoed some of my thoughts as well, his post appearing while I typed mine. :dough:

Edited by RationalBiker
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Luckily he only got himself killed by his irrational beliefs.

I saw a documentary once where a croc expert puts his cane next to a croc and it does nothing. He says "watch this" and moves it half an inch closer and the croc lunges. I think they are almost as predictable as billiard balls. They don't believe they're magically protected, they just know the cause and effect.

Edited by ian
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It was his life, he lived it his way, and died doing what he loved. That part is ok but to me it seemed that he believed he had some mystical shield that enabled him to remain safe while in close proximity to dangerous animals. Why else would he risk the life of his own baby by holding it while feeding raw meat to a huge, dangerously quick, and unpredictable crocodile? Luckily he only got himself killed by his irrational beliefs.

If Irwin believed that "he had some mystical shield," then he would have been dead long ago. His vast knowledge of animal behavior and characteristics enabled him to do the show without killing himself. Also, I want to stress, his "irrational beliefs" did not kill him. What he was doing was NOT generally dangerous. It really was a freak accident.

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Some people in here are unfairly criticizing him. I'd like to echo the sentiment that he knew what he was doing with these animals. The stingray was a 1 in a million type thing. Even being stabbed with one is hardly ever fatal...it just happened to hit him at exactly the right spot. He wasn't irrational...he was passionate. He loved the animals he worked with, and he loved to educate his audience, while at the same time managing to be immensely entertaining.

Yes, he held a lot of environmental and preservationist beliefs, but that is pretty much to be expected from people in his line of work. That doesn't make him a bad person; it makes him wrong on that particular issue. If you condemn everyone that holds any irrational beliefs at all, good luck trying to find friends. Also, good luck trying to find historical figures to admire. Even Aristotle and Jefferson had their flaws.

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If Irwin believed that "he had some mystical shield," then he would have been dead long ago. His vast knowledge of animal behavior and characteristics enabled him to do the show without killing himself. Also, I want to stress, his "irrational beliefs" did not kill him. What he was doing was NOT generally dangerous. It really was a freak accident.

Consider what happened to Timothy Treadwell (the Grizzly Man) in the same context and let us know why you think he managed to live as long as he did.

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Consider what happened to Timothy Treadwell (the Grizzly Man) in the same context and let us know why you think he managed to live as long as he did.
It seems to me that Treadwell was engaged in something that closely resembled a game of Russian Roulette. At some point he was going to try and play house with a Grizzly that was either hungry and/or pissed off. At that time, the chances of his becoming the main course were pretty good.

On the other hand, the Croc guy at least seemed to have more of a fighting chance when he was dancing with a crocodile. I never would have taken the risks he did, but then again, I don't even like going to the zoo.

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I saw a documentary once where a croc expert puts his cane next to a croc and it does nothing. He says "watch this" and moves it half an inch closer and the croc lunges. I think they are almost as predictable as billiard balls. They don't believe they're magically protected, they just know the cause and effect.

Would it follow then that he should have known the cause and effect of the stingray's spike?

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