One of the most remarkable public image turnarounds in my lifetime has been the one that has been pulled off by sharks. Not even Mike Tyson, who went from misogynistic monster who went to jail for domestic violence, to America's beloved wacky uncle with his own show on Cartoon Network, reinvented himself to the extent sharks have.
In the first couple of decades after Jaws, sharks were nothing but apex predators. Remorseless, unfeeling murder torpedoes, hellbent eating your whole family. It was us or them. Kill or be killed.
Then everything changed. We did too good a job of the killing things. The author of Jaws, Peter Benchley, said he regretted ever writing the book because of the effect it had on the perception of these majestic creatures. Given that he said if from a throne made out of gold in the palace his royalties paid for, it's fair to question how much he meant it. But the guilt he felt at all the hunting and killing was probably genuine. And before you knew it, sharks were starring in their own books with them as the heroes:
Which brings us to today. As every single shark program on cable loves to remind us, these noble beasts are no threat to humans. Why, they're nothing but harmless wanderers, happily sharing their ecosystem with us and all manners of aquatic life. More like the sharks in Finding Nemo in the 12-Step program where they kept repeating "Fish are friends, not food" to help them kick the seafood habit than the one in Benchley's book/film. If anything, they clean up the sea. They're the underwater version of the people in safety vests along the highway doing community service. Only they weren't ordered by the court; they do it out of the goodness of their little fishy hearts.
Yeah, about that:
Source - As great white sharks make their way back north to Cape Cod for the summer and fall, shark researchers have released “shocking” results from a 2-year drone study — showing that apex predators came very close to people, but simply moved around them or ignored them completely. …
The researchers from Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab revealed that at juvenile white shark aggregation sites, people were near sharks on 97% of the days surveyed. And during the two-year drone study, there were no reported shark bites in any of the surveyed locations.
“Frankly, we were shocked,” Christopher Lowe, professor of marine biology and director of CSULB Shark Lab, told the Herald on Monday. “Sharks would interact with people every single day, multiple times a day, and they would just swim by.
“It was shocking that these occurrences were happening so often,” Lowe added. “And the fact that no one was being bitten smacks in the face of the misconception that if there’s a white shark nearby, you’ll be attacked. This shows that’s not the case.”
Oh, this proves you won't be attacked, does it, Professor Lowe? They're just ignoring us, are they? So we should just go about our business, like they're just bunnies and squirrels frolicking in our back yards? Yeah, right. After you, egghead.
Look, I don't know where these CSULB clowns are getting their conclusions from. For all I know, they're getting their funding from some pro-eating people group. Or they're in the pocket of Big Shark. But these perfect eating machines aren't hanging out around people like pigeons in the park, hoping someone will drop food down to them. They know what they're food supply is. And it's got no scales, no stingers, very little fur, no tail and can't swim as fast as literally any other creature out there. We're just steak tips on the Old Country Buffet they live in. They've got Home Habitat advantage, they're laying the points, and have every expectation of covering the spread. If they're swimming around people without eating them, it's not because they don't intend to. They just have such an edge they can pick and choose when the time is right to strike.
So you can listen to these academics if you want. But I'll be making sure there are plenty of people between me and the open ocean all summer. The only good news of this study is realizing if sharks are swimming next to people 97% of the time, they're NOT swimming near us 3% of the time. (Science.) And I'm going to be in the 1st percentile of that 3% until autumn. Best of luck to the rest of you suckers.