Author Topic: Gators!  (Read 1585 times)

TheDrake

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Gators!
« on: June 15, 2016, 05:06:52 PM »
So there's a story going around about a two year old who got killed by an alligator. It seems like everyone is trying to find someone to blame. The resort was negligent, they should have kept alligators off the property, or fenced off the area. The parents were negligent, they let the kid play in the water when there is a "no swimming" sign. So far, nobody blaming the kid or the alligator, but I probably just haven't looked enough.

Couldn't it just be a freak accident? Maybe the resort had no reason to believe there were likely to be gator attacks AND the parents had no reason to think that their kid was in mortal danger?

Does everyone have to find someone guilty, rather than just accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people who are not morons? I'm not really taking sides in resort v. family, rather I'm suggesting that it is extremely rare to see an online opinion that suggests that both the resort and the family acted pretty reasonably.

JoshuaD

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2016, 05:12:28 PM »
I agree with you. I think we need to relax on the blame-culture a good bit. Sometimes, bad stuff happens.

D.W.

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2016, 06:29:43 PM »
We NEED the illusion of safety.  If we can blame someone, the illusion remains intact. 

JoshCrow

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2016, 08:25:57 PM »
While I agree with the OP wholeheartedly, I would mention that most of the time people who come out swinging with "blame" are actually just virtue-signalling (i.e. proclaiming "that would never happen on MY watch"), which is more or less a knee-jerk reaction for people who have low esteem. What we don't "hear" on the Internet is all the non-reactions from people who know that this is a freak accident - mostly because there is little point in beating the bushes over freak events.
Take heart. I suspect most people aren't blame-mongering, they just aren't as loud.

jasonr

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2016, 09:44:06 PM »
From the facts that are known thus far, I suspect the resort is going to have some liability issues in this case. It sounds like the only warning they posted was a generic "no swimming" type, which obviously did not do much to bring this danger to the attention of patrons.

Most people are going to assume that a lagoon in a private resort is going to be free of alligators. If alligators are an issue, you had better post a better warning than "no swimming". Something along the lines of "No swimming, BEWARE OF MAN EATING ALLIGATORS!!" would be more like it.

Anyway, extremely sad case. As the father of a toddler this boy's age, I can't conceive of what they're going through.


scifibum

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 12:27:36 AM »
D.W. is right, I think. 

People who harshly blame the parents, though, I want to shake.  The loss is terrible, and they won't need help wondering if they should have done something differently. 

Pete at Home

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2016, 01:22:08 AM »
These things happen.  For every one American boy that dies eaten by gaters or falling out of a tree, there's a dozen who shoot up their schools because their parents kept them inside with nothing to do, because it wasn't safe outside.

msquared

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2016, 08:14:37 AM »
The problem with the sign is, were there gators there before?  I mean if a gator just moved in, how would they know?  I know, the gator would attack someone.  Like what happened?  I mean, gators are not rare in FL are they?  Wasn't there a video recently of a huge gator playing the back 9 at some golf course in FL?

This is tragic, and I think Disney will still pay out some, but to blame people, on either side, is stupid, in this case.

NobleHunter

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2016, 09:39:41 AM »
You saw the same thing in reaction to the gorilla getting shot. I think people criticize those parents as a talisman against misfortune. If they did something wrong then that means the unthinkable can be avoided by the right actions. Which is partially true but apparently small children are like natural disasters; no matter how much you try to prevent something from going wrong, sometimes *censored* happens (usually literally).

TheDrake

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2016, 10:41:52 AM »
I think part of it is a horrific event. I think the idea that Disney didn't do enough, eventually ends in a watered down world where nobody can have access to anything remotely dangerous. If the kid had drowned, it would have also been tragic, but not quite as horrific.

I also wonder if it might also be related to the fact that it was Disney, and people felt safer there. I know golf courses 

As for the signs being "non-specific" I wonder how explicit it needs to be. No swimming could mean gators, or poison water, or rip currents, or leeches. It could also be that you pose a danger to the wildlife in the water, or that you could contaminate it. If it comes down to the wording on the signs being the make-or-break on liability, then I wouldn't understand it.

Now, the Hyatt local to the same area does in fact have Gator warning signs. Somebody ought to pass a law that every body of water in Florida should require a sign "Gators!", just like the idiotic signs mandated for swimming pools "Swim at own risk".


jasonr

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2016, 01:53:21 PM »
I think that occupiers who invite people on their property have a duty to warn of any special hazards and to be specific enough about those hazards that the warnings are useful. When tge hazard is man eating alligators and your property caters to families with young children, that duty increases exponentially.

If a warning says "swim at own risk" or "no swimming" most people are not going to understand "you might be eaten by an alligator if you do", especially outsiders who may not be familiar with the ecology of the area and may not realize how ubiquitous gators are or that gators could be living in a man made lagoon in a Disney resort.

My view is that if Disney knew that gators were likely present in their lagoon they had a greater duty to warn this family than just posting a useless "no swimming" sign. Putting myself in the family's position I can say definitely I would not have put my toddler within 100 feet of this lagoon, let alone at night, if I knew that gators could be in the area!

I don't know all the facts to be fair, but I suspect this is not going to go over well for Disney.

I disagree strongly with others who seem to be giving Disney a pass on this one.

scifibum

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2016, 02:25:11 PM »
Drake is right that we can't eliminate all risks without severely curtailing available experiences, but I also don't think resorts or other entertainment/tourism services should always get a pass when it comes to safety measures.  It's a tough problem.

NobleHunter

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2016, 02:37:23 PM »
On another board there's substantial debate if "no swimming" can be reasonably inferred to mean "don't go in the water at all." Though if going in the water was prohibited, then there should have been something stronger than signs. The Mil Standard is anything that could kill someone (and possibly just serious injure) must be mitigated by more than just warnings and instructions (exceptions get signed off by disconcertingly short path up the chain of command). So toxic amoebas or gators means there should probably be at least a short fence between tourists and the water; something to clearly demark the go and no-go areas.

People on the other board also pointed out that all bodies of freshwater in Florida are at risk of being inhabited by gators. Which suggests to me that Disney should monitor their freshwater for alligators.

jasonr

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2016, 11:54:21 PM »
The story indicated that they searched the bodies of four gators before finding the toddler's remains. They didn't say where they pulled these gators, but one presumes it was from the same body of water. This tells me that gators were not exactly a rare occurrence in this particular lagoon and thus Disney must have known that it was at least a risk.

That said you never know what niggling facts may emerge. The family may have taken a boat tour that morning where they were expressly told that alligators were endemic in every fresh body of water. Who knows.

But yeah, NH, exactly right.

Think of it in terms of a product warning. I don't need to warn you that the knife I'm selling you can cut flesh, just like I wouldn't need to warn you that you might drown in the lake at my resort. But if my knife is dipped in poison that could kill you instantly with a single nick, damned straight you need to be warned in much strong terms than "beware sharp knife", just as if my lake had man eating sharks, "keep out" or "no swimming" doesn't cut it!

DJQuag

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2016, 04:24:28 AM »
I think we all know what has to be done here.

Congress needs to get off their behinds and ban assault-water alligators.

Please, think of the children.

Pete at Home

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2016, 09:16:31 AM »
Drake is right that we can't eliminate all risks without severely curtailing available experiences, but I also don't think resorts or other entertainment/tourism services should always get a pass when it comes to safety measures.  It's a tough problem.

Agreed.  an amusement park provides (or SHOULD provide) a guarantee of reasonable safety in its amusements.  assuming that the patrons behave reasonably.

NobleHunter

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2016, 11:54:28 AM »
I think we all know what has to be done here.

Congress needs to get off their behinds and ban assault-water alligators.

Please, think of the children.
If the Navy didn't at least try for assault alligator (or crocs) I'm going to be very disappointed in them.

jasonr

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2017, 04:04:13 PM »
https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/11/03/disney-knew-its-park-was-full-of-alligators-it-caught-hundreds-before-a-boy-was-killed.html

There you have it. I do think the parents would have had a pretty good case given the facts.

Disney should be paying through the nose on this one.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 04:06:33 PM by jasonr »

TheDrake

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2017, 05:56:05 PM »
The same article indicates that nearly 16,000 gators were trapped and removed in 2 years, so there's a whole lot more lawsuits to be had, yeah?

I don't care if they pulled out 100 alligators a week, made them into boots and handbags, and fed all the park actors on fried gator.

But then I also don't think homeowners should have to put a locked gate on their pool area, so I know I'm outgunned.

Missed this one before:

Quote
Think of it in terms of a product warning. I don't need to warn you that the knife I'm selling you can cut flesh, just like I wouldn't need to warn you that you might drown in the lake at my resort. But if my knife is dipped in poison that could kill you instantly with a single nick, damned straight you need to be warned in much strong terms than "beware sharp knife", just as if my lake had man eating sharks, "keep out" or "no swimming" doesn't cut it!

If the knife had a label on it that said "do not use" I wouldn't feel bad for anyone who poisoned themselves messing with it, excepting people who couldn't read the note or were developmentally disabled.

Wayward Son

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2017, 11:14:11 AM »
Quote
If the knife had a label on it that said "do not use" I wouldn't feel bad for anyone who poisoned themselves messing with it, excepting people who couldn't read the note or were developmentally disabled.

In order to gauge a danger, you need to have some idea of what the danger is, and whether it is extraordinary or not.

All that "Do not use" on a knife is tell someone a knife is dangerous.  But we all know knives are dangerous, and practically all of us know how to handle a knife safely.  And more importantly, we all know what to do if we are injured by a knife (stop the bleeding, disinfect, get stitches if the cut is too deep, etc.)

But no one would know that he should go to poison control if he cuts himself with a knife labeled "Do not use."  ::)

If something is unusually dangerous and there is a possibility that someone doesn't know what the danger is, you need to give an indication of what that unusual danger is, just in case someone doesn't obey the sign, for whatever reason.  For instance, if a knife was needed to cut a seat belt because of a car crash, or if needed to perform an emergency tracheotomy, it would be important to know the knife was poisoned to save a life.  "Do not use" just doesn't cut it.

Similarly, if coffee is unusually hot, people need to know that.

And if the waters are filled with alligators, people need to know that, too. :(

NobleHunter

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2017, 11:26:27 AM »
In warnings for manuals for the Navy, you can't just say something risks injury or death, you have to explain how and what can be done to prevent it. "Do not use" wouldn't, ahem, cut it.

TheDrake

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2017, 04:18:58 PM »
We'll have to agree to disagree, I guess. Do not enter, Don't walk, No trespassing, Keep out. Those are all sufficient to keep me away, so the danger becomes irrelevant at that point as far as I'm concerned.

I don't need an additional boost of Beware of dog, Caution dangerous cliff, or Watch out there are llamas.

I have often seen people doing stupid things and then acting surprised when they get hurt climbing into a zoo enclosure, incinerated by hot springs, or falling into a canyon. If there's a rudimentary barrier and a sign, that would be sufficient in my mind.





Wayward Son

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2017, 06:18:16 PM »
Quote
I don't need an additional boost of Beware of dog, Caution dangerous cliff, or Watch out there are llamas.

Obviously you've never experienced a face full of llama spit!  ;D

TheDrake

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2017, 12:28:07 PM »
I have to walk my position back a bit. I spent the past few days really paying attention to how many warning signs there are in my life. Right near my office is "do not drive on shoulder". It is regularly disobeyed and used as a right hand turning lane for a few hundred meters.

Do I expect that a sinkhole will open up, swallowing my car whole? No, not really. Would I be pissed if it did, and I found out that the highway department had some concerns about the soil stability? Yes, I guess I would.

There were a couple of other instances, but I felt like that was the best one.

So it comes back to "how likely did Disney really think it was that a gator could injure someone?". While gators being removed is a data point, it really matters what the size of the property is, and the proximity of the gators to this particular accessible area. I'd change my tune if photos had surfaced of a gator ever appearing in the shallows of that lagoon prior to the incident, or if one of the captures were made within a stones throw of that area. And, how likely was it really?

Jason's article says there were 40 removals in a year. It also mentions that in the state 8,000 were removed statewide. And yet all those other places didn't have a fatal attack. I'd be curious to know what all those other places do to warn people.

It's still a fluke, in my opinion, not some kind of reckless uncaring behavior.

This law firm talks about this generally, though posted in response to the Disney event.

Quote
Legal experts have commented that the association, as land owner, could be held liable and negligent for allowing licensees and invitees to enter an area where risk of injury by a dangerous condition is foreseeable and not warning those individuals of that danger.

If your association knows of alligators on the premises, reasonable precautions should be taken in concert with advice from the association’s legal counsel and its insurers. Reasonable precautions might include, among other things, the posting of signs warning of the possible presence of alligators. Consideration might also be given to addressing other dangerous animals that might inhabit the property, such as poisonous snakes. In light of recent tragic events involving gators, preventative actions could not only prove to be vital in the control of the risk, but also a prudent measure in public opinion. There is no current mandate for signage nor do liability policies currently contain a condition that would exclude coverage should a claim of this nature occur

I like the associated photo, which appears to show a sign about the size of a no-parking sign but shorter right on the bank of a water hazard. Is that really doing anything to increase safety, or just a CYA for liability?

Wayward Son

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2017, 01:36:38 PM »
Quote
So it comes back to "how likely did Disney really think it was that a gator could injure someone?". While gators being removed is a data point, it really matters what the size of the property is, and the proximity of the gators to this particular accessible area.

I would add that the size of the alligators themselves would matter, too.  If they were all under a foot or two, that would not have altered Disney that they were a serious threat.

jasonr

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2017, 07:09:19 PM »
Quote
I have to walk my position back a bit. I spent the past few days really paying attention to how many warning signs there are in my life. Right near my office is "do not drive on shoulder". It is regularly disobeyed and used as a right hand turning lane for a few hundred meters.

There's almost nobody, anywhere, in my experience, who does not break 1,001 little rules daily.

Context is everything, isn't it?

I had a case a while back where someone used a product and got badly burned by it. The only warning label on the product was "caution, avoid contact with skin and eyes" or something to that effect. Apparently, someone thought that was good enough for a product that can cause major burns to human skin. It's the same warning that I see on some kitchen spray cleaner I use to wipe up my counters. The same you see on any number of common household cleaners and products. Except those products don't burn a hole in you if you get them on your skin, lol. Sure, in a perfect world, everyone would take such warning literally and treat Lysol spray with the same care and caution as they treat sulphuric acid, so it wouldn't matter. But that's not the real world, is it? One might give you a rash, while the other might lead to your hand being amputated.

On a total tangent, anyone ever notice those "caution, men working above" signs you see on the street from time to time when they are doing construction?

I always have a bit of a laugh when I see a sign like that. What good is such as a sign? Other than simply not walking down that particular stretch (despite it being an open public sidewalk), what could one possibly do to mitigate such a hazard as men working 50 feet above your head? Use a steel umbrella? And if someone drops a brick on your head, does anyone seriously think that this "caution" sign is a defence for the company that put an innocent passerby in a coma? Just cracks me up.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 07:19:27 PM by jasonr »

TheDrake

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2017, 01:00:07 PM »
I haven't seen any of those signs recently. Most construction uses scaffold or even more substantial covered walkways, depending on the height of the building. And yeah, when they say "sidewalk closed, use other side" I generally do. But not always. The difference is, if I walked on a closed sidewalk and fell into a pit or got struck by a brick, I'd pretty much just figure it serves me right.


jasonr

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2017, 05:38:07 PM »
I'm not talking about closed sidewalks - I'm talking about fully open ones that have construction going above with warning signs.

TheDrake

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Re: Gators!
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2017, 05:56:05 PM »
I've never seen that in any recent years. They close whenever there's overhead work. I'm sure it varies by city or region.