Last weekend there was a shark attack at our town beach, and a young man is recovering in the hospital. Now, as terrifying as this event may be, as the mayor, I need to remind you that shark attacks are actually incredibly rare.
Before you give in to irrational fear and haul your big metal shark cages to the beach to protect yourself from sharks, it’s important to put shark attacks into perspective:
- You are far more likely to get hit by a car on the way to the beach than be attacked by a shark at our beach.
- You are more likely to be hit by a car on our beach than attacked by a shark because the beach is used as a traffic shortcut.
- You are more likely to have a heart attack at our beach.
- You are more likely to have a fatal heart attack on our beach due to the slow response time of our first responders.
- You are more likely to be blown up by abandoned dynamite buried at our beach.
- You are more likely to accidentally lock yourself in your shark cage on our beach, spending days there with little food or drink.
But will the media tell you any of this? No. Instead, it’s headlines like “Swimmers Beware: Brutal Shark Attack at That Beach Where the Sand Explodes.”
Stoking a panic about shark attacks is irresponsible. In fact, we haven’t had a shark attack in over thirty years. Meanwhile, a beached shark rolling over and crushing a beachgoer is an everyday occurrence at our beach and is far more common than any shark in the ocean doing you harm.
But if you still don’t feel safe from shark attacks, also consider that at our beach:
- You are more likely to have a lifeguard tower collapse on you than be attacked by a shark.
- You are more likely to get punched by the mayor (I have punched twelve beachgoers already this year).
- You are more likely to get harpooned by someone hunting sharks from the beach.
- You are more likely to have a lifeguard fall on you as their lifeguard tower collapses than be attacked by a shark.
- You are more likely to get rolled over by the amusement park’s Ferris wheel that’s come off its axle.
- You are more likely to be buried alive at our beach.
- You are more likely to be pulled into the ground by the hand of someone buried alive at our beach.
- You are more likely to be assaulted with a metal detector by a beachcomber who’s angry that she can’t find anything of value on our beach.
- You are more likely to be struck by lightning at the beach because you are trapped in a metal shark cage that you brought to the beach.
- You are more likely to be attacked by one of the chimpanzees who escaped from the zoo and now hide under the docks.
- You are more likely to get stuck in a second shark cage because you dug a hole in the ground under your shark cage and emerged from it into another cage. (Now’s as good of a time as any to remind you that shark cages aren’t effective on land, so please stop bringing them to the beach.)
And the list goes on, proving that it’s just not realistic to be afraid of a shark attack at the beach, particularly when there are far more common dangers one faces at an average beach like ours.
No matter what, a shark attack is rarer on our beach than:
- Getting hit by a boat in the water.
- Getting hit by a boat on the beach.
- Getting hit by a boat dropped from a helicopter.
- Being crushed by a boat in the weekly boat-tipping contest.
- Falling off a boat onto another boat really hard.
- Falling through the poorly installed glass-bottom of a glass-bottom boat.
- Getting “boated” (when you get smushed between two boats and they keep driving with you in-between).
- Being driven out to sea and stranded on a boat commandeered by a dock-chimp.
Sounds to me like boats are a little scarier than sharks, doesn’t it?
Frankly, I’ve had enough of people drumming up fear of sharks, whether from a nosey reporter or someone yelling to be fed in the sixth rusted-shut shark cage they’ve dug into.
Where do we get off demonizing these relatively peaceful creatures? Sharks cause far fewer injuries than rotting lifeguard towers, which take more lives than they save.
It’s summer, everyone! It is not the time to cower in fear. So come down to the shore, get punched by your mayor, and enjoy a shark attack-less time at the beach.