Those of us who watch the news on TV have been subjected to a prime example of media hype, with the death over the weekend of a Louisiana teenager and the subsequent attack on another teenager yesterday, both in Florida. As per usual, the television media is having a feeding frenzy of their own, making it seem as though we should be shocked and awed by the fact that sharks attack people who swim in their habitat.
I'm no marine biologist, and in fact, I've never even met a marine biologist, come to think of it. Despite that fact, it seems like common sense to me that if you swim in shark infested waters (or fish in the case of the second attack), you might expect to get attacked by a shark. I'm frankly surprised that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often. When did we forget that we're still part of the food chain?
The media apparently has. Check out this map, for example. Despite the fact that the caption of the map shows that Florida has only had one death from a shark attack since 2001 (4 years ago for you math majors out there), the seas of the Eastern coast run red with the blood of innocents. Do you know how red the map would be if we used the same coloring strategy for people killed by dogs? Or their husbands? Or their parents? Blood fucking red over the entire US.
And yet, here we are devoting hours of media coverage and at least a thousand words on this page to something tragic, yet not at all surprising. Forget the fact that crude oil prices have spiked the week before the biggest travel weekend of the summer. Ignore the actual problems in this country including a lack of health care, even for children. Sharks may have attacked two people in Florida, but the American people are the ones being eaten alive.