Every once in a while, a news report appears which is frightening, given the sheer level of stupidity shown by some corners in this land of ours, supposedly a first world country.
I am not talking about the latest Lindsey Lohan run with the law or Tom Cruise's Scientology travails. I am taking about something indicative of a danger in our society.
The story is this. A boat operator in the Everglades had his hand eaten by an alligator, while taking some tourists on a tour. For some reason, his hand was in the water and the gator gobbled it up. Literally adding insult to injury, he was arrested, charged with feeding the gator (a misdemeanor) and had to pay $1,000 bail and is going to Court.
A few years ago, I was astounded that the city of Naples, Florida, has an ordinance (another word for law, btw), prohibiting feeding ducks, or other "nuisance animals". So, I suppose that feeding of wild animals is basically forbidden in Florida.
Well, let us suppose I am eating a sandwich, and a duck grabs it from my hand and walks away happy. Or comes next to me to eat falling crumbs. That means the duck was fed.
I suppose only a very narrow minded (or plain stupid) individual would consider this voluntary feeding of the ducks. Thus, no violation of the Naples ordinance would have taken place.
Just how well trained are individuals who charge others for crimes or violations is beyond me. For there is an obvious distinction between voluntary and involuntary feeding. I do not think I have ever met anybody in their right mind who willingly wants to lose his hand. My hands are very useful to me, and everybody who has fully working hands concurs with that statement. The hand is not an unloved part of the human body.
Thus, it seems obvious to me that the man was not giving his hand to the reptile for a yummy meal. If the gator was fed, it was obviously involuntary.
There are two plausible options. The person who charged the unlucky boat captain is utterly unqualified to discern the difference between voluntary and involuntary, in which case he should be fired, or the law is flawed, making no such distinction, or worse yet, considering both voluntary and involuntary to be the same thing, in which case the legislators who created such law should be brought into scrutiny.
Either way, it is scary, for we are often in the hands of people who interpret such laws (no voluntary pun intended), and can cause us great loss of reputation, money, time, etc, etc. While they spend years and years messing up, with a warning here and there, if at all.
So now I know. I really had in my list of ten things to do before dying feeding one my hands to an alligator, now I know it is against the law...