Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Toddler Snatched By An Alligator - Was the "Jaws" Scenario In Place at Walt Disney World Resorts? Did Commerce Override Public Safety

AP: Commentary - No Warning Signs?

In Steven Spielberg's 1975 thriller "Jaws" Roy Scheider plays police chief Martin Brody in the sleepy seaside village of Amity Island. After a swimmer perishes during a late night beach swim the evidence poinst to a shark attack. Police chief Brody wants to close the beaches and warn the public that there is a man eating shark in the waters but the Mayor Larry Vaughn  of the town overrides him fearing it will ruin the town's summer economy. As a result the signs warning of sharks in the water do not go up on the beaches, that is until a child is killed.

I thought of that movie and the way that money and commerce override public safety when I heard about the tragic story of 2 year old Lane Graves who was snatched by an alligator at the Disney Grand Floridian resort while wading (with his family) in waters in the Seven Seas Lagoon only 1 foot from the shore. It must be noted that there are signs posted that say "No Swimming" but absolutely no signs whatsoever warning that there are alligators in the waters which is stunning to me. I remember hiking at Griffith Park in LA and other areas where you routinely see signs warning of predators in the area.

Now while many of you reading this will undoubtedly think or say that anyone who is in Florida should be well aware that alligators are potentially in any waters but remember that Disney World caters to people from all over the world who aren't accustomed to these predators.

Even more importantly, Disney World bills itself as a family friendly safe environment. The area where the child was killed had a playground on the beach. What would be the harm in signs warning of alligators in the water? Seeing this warning will surely impact a father and mother more than a "No Swimming" sign. I would even go farther and say that besides posted signs warning of alligators that warning info should be handed to those checking into the resort.

A friend of mine was surprised that there is not a fence present at this Lagoon seeing you shouldn't swim anyway. A fence would prevent people from entering the water and I would suspect it would hinder an alligator from exiting the water as well. Of course, a fence would make for a less idyllic setting. It would ruin the postcard perfect scene.

So I have to ask, is the corporate decision to not post warning signs for alligators because it could (in a sense) ruin the towns economy? In the movie "Jaws" Mayor Larry Vaughn finally allows signs to come up after blood is spilled. Will Walt Disney World Resorts do the same thing? It is the right thing to do. Commerce should not override public safety. The Disney World Resorts already have an extensive alligator abatement program in place, warning signs and barrier fencing should be part of this program and should of been all along.

My deepest condolences to Lane Graves' parents and anyone who was graced by his presence.
Robb Donker


  1. It was definitely a horrific accident and Disney should look over it and concern the threats about public safety. they need to make the park more safe for the visitors. Thanks for posting it.

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