Whenever things like this come up, I am often flattered because people say things like “I wonder what SharkWeekTFM will have to say about this?” or “SharkWeekTFM is very smart and cool, I want to get his take on this,” or “Has there ever been anything as cool as SharkWeekTFM to come out of this website?” or, “SharkWeekTFM is probably the greatest cultural icon of this age.” I decided I would go ahead and preemptively give you my take on this seemingly simple story because it is actually demonstrative of something very important.
The story is simple enough: On Thursday off the coast of Madeira Beach, Florida, a private charter boat run by Hubbard’s Marina, took some Canadian tourists out to go shark fishing. The Canadians ultimately caught and killed a 10.5-foot long, 6-foot wide 500-pound bull shark.
I’m not mad about this. It is perfectly legal to hunt this species of shark, as they are very common, as I have explained before (see my previous article). It might come as no surprise, but I am very supportive of hunting. I’d be a hypocrite to be upset. Heck, it’s illegal for humans to hunt humans, but sharks are legally allowed to hunt both humans and sharks. Technically, sharks get the better deal.
What really caught my attention was the way many sources worded their coverage. Many would go out of their way to mention that the charter is a small business spanning five generations of the same family. They go on to quote the business owners about how they tried to convince the Canadians to catch and release the shark. The Canucks wouldn’t have it. The business’s policy dictates that before being allowed kill a shark, the customers had to acknowledge that they were taking home some of the meat, jaws, fins, etc.
The owners further explain that the rest of the meat is given to another employee for use in his local homeless ministry and outreach. After that, the carcass is given to science for advancement in the understanding of sharks. That sounds awesome and indeed is. How much more responsible could these American small business owners be!? But why go into all that detail? Isn’t this just a “Damn that’s a big ass fish!” type story? Technically yes, and it’s really beside the point to mention all that.
But the news sources sense the audience’s need to justify the kill. If they didn’t do so, this would be received as a tragic story. And THAT’S the point I want to make. It wasn’t so long ago that this type of thing would be celebrated, and we would be thanking a bunch of Canadians for their help in protecting this great country. No one would care that this shark has never attacked anyone and has never been seen cruising within a particularly dangerous proximity to people. That change is a big deal.
People are coming to better understand and appreciate sharks and their place in this world. Although my primary calling is to help the Greek world, it certainly feels like a win to see this change in the collective minds of America. Now we just need that change to happen for fraternities.
What can we as the Greek community do to change the cultural perception as the sharks have done for themselves? Get Discovery to do a Frat Week? They could do worse..
[via Bay News 9]
Image via Facebook/Anthony Belmonte