On Saturday, it was reported that a 37-year-old woman swimming in the Wekiva River was dismembered by an alligator. The alligator bit the woman’s arm off and then fled after being attacked by nearby kayakers and canoers who responded to the nearby screams and tantrum.
Now, in a situation such as this, the first response would generally be the concern of the woman’s well-being.
Many would argue that nature is taking its course and such horrors as this, are only part of the relentless cycle that natures goes by. By this merit, the alligator attacked because it felt threatened, which could be well founded as alligators are generally known to be shy animals.
Others would say that human beings should not be threatened by creatures of carnage, such as sharks or alligators. By that merit, the alligator attacked the woman because it is a vicious animal with no intention but to unleash brutal deficit.
The dispute between who is right and who is wrong and what is to blame is not only idle speculation, but pointless in its retrieval for answers or justification.
Thus, the focus shifts to the aftermath of this event.
The alligator believed to have eaten the woman’s arm was captured and “euthanized” the following day. The term euthanasia loosely derives from the Greeks, meaning “good death," insinuating that the alligator was killed for its own benefit, which based on the facts provided, would appear untrue. Therefore, since the alligator wasn’t euthanized, it was killed.
With good reason, you could come to the conclusion that this alligator was killed as an act of justice, or punishment, for biting off the woman’s arm. Without venturing into the arguments of humans destroying nature, killing livestock, the equal grounds of all living things and the general inequality demonstrated by the fellow man, the question that befalls this situation is: why?
Well, some humans kill for sport, while almost every other animal (us still included) kill for food. The alligator wasn’t killed for its nutritious meat, nor was it killed as game. But, without turning this into a legal dispute, the attention should not be focused on these much discussed matters, but on the simple logistics of it all.
If a human being was to have walked on the street and cut off a woman’s arm, they would be punished because the law states as such. But in a general view, the law only applies to human beings. When an animal is ran over to become road kill, there is no judgement made upon the committer. Now, the notion of inter-species law comes into play. But to conform to a law would require you to choose a citizenship, and I don’t think that any alligator will be applying for citizenship any time in the near, or even distant, future.
That being said, a public display of punishment, based on circumstances, to those outside of the law, whether it be an alligator, a bird, or an extra-terrestrial being, is unjust and out of the law's bounds. This would lead to the equivalent, or reversed, situation justly bringing upon the same result.
So, ye beware, the next time someone runs over a squirrel or steps on an ant, ready the gavel, for the death penalty awaits!
Daniel Ceruti is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.