Friday, April 25, 2008

My Sympathies

Man killed in shark attack at San Diego beach
Associated Press
April 25, 2008 at 1:00 PM EDT
SOLANA BEACH, Calif. — A shark attacked and killed a swimmer who was training in the ocean off San Diego County Friday with a group of local triathletes, authorities said.

To read more click here.

I don't usually comment on news items like this here but for some reason I feel the need to say a few words about this.

First off, I have to express my deepest sympathies to his friends and family. This is a terrible loss for them.

Secondly, his friends who pulled him to shore knowing there was a shark in the area are absolute heros.

Finally, shark attacks always receive vast amounts of sensational news coverage but they are remarkably rare. Your life is in far greater danger driving to the ocean than it is swimming it. And once you're in the ocean, motor boats are a far, far great greater threat to life and limb than creatures of the deep (I lived in the Okanagan and figured this out pretty quickly).

What makes these stories news worthy is that they are rare. Deaths per year from shark attacks worldwide are in the single digits. If triathlete had been hit by a car and killed on the road leading to the beach, it would not have garnered the same attention as, sadly, that kind of loss of life is far too common.

Again, I'm not sure why I feel the need to comment on this. Maybe because I know non-triathlete friends and colleagues will bring this up, "Hey, did you hear about the triathlete in California?" I guess they ask because I am a triathlete and have a connection to the sport and possibly an insight into what happened, but sometimes I detect a glint in their eye and intuit (rightly or wrongly) that they're trying to scare me or prove what I am doing is dangerous.

I'm also sad, I never met the man or the people he trains with but we're still part of the same community and I know how devasting such a loss would be for my club.

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