Put do­mes­tic violence ahead of shark ma­nia

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - Lloyd Pow­ell, Mar­garet River

After fol­low­ing the opin­ions in the Times, I wish to wade into the de­bate.

Let’s all get some per­spec­tive here with this “prob­lem” of sharks.

Since the year 2000, there have been 15 fa­tal shark at­tacks in WA, so that’s less than one a year — all tragic events, and ter­ri­ble for the fam­i­lies in­volved.

As a con­trast, on av­er­age, a woman is killed once a week in Aus­tralia from do­mes­tic violence. I was dumb­founded at this statis­tic, which means since 2000, more than 900 women have died.

I think the me­dia, es­pe­cially com­mer­cial TV, needs to take some re­spon­si­bil­ity in reporting a shark in­ci­dent, but then not drag ev­ery pre­vi­ous tragic event back into the lime­light just to sen­sa­tion­alise the story.

Let’s not also for­get the last two men who de­cided to en­ter the wa­ter in Grace­town and were at­tacked were both made aware there was a big shark in the vicin­ity, and yet still de­cided to go out into the surf.

South West Safe Shark Group’s Keith Hal­nan sug­gested there was a lack of duty of care from a Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional Devel­op­ment ves­sel not to of­fer as­sis­tance to surfer Ja­son Lon­grass after he was at­tacked by a shark that he had been made aware of.

How much “help” can one of­fer to peo­ple who refuse to heed warn­ings? It is a choice to en­ter the wa­ter in this won­der­ful pocket of par­adise, but let’s not for­get that there are far more im­por­tant is­sues in WA that need to be pushed out into pub­lic fo­rums than safer surf­ing.

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