Editorial: Attacks should spark awareness

Two-year-old Alexandria Murphy was found dead from an alligator attack in a Winter Haven lake Monday. The alligator killed the young girl after she wandered 700 feet from her home to the edge of Lake Cannon. Sad as this incident is, alligators are not to blame for these attacks, people are.

Officials said the alligator lost its fear of humans because people had been feeding it. People who feed alligators are encouraging their aggressive behavior. Not only is it dangerous, under Florida law it is illegal.

Though reports from residents of the Lake Cannon area are mixed, officials for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said this alligator, “showed no fear of man and probably saw the little girl as a food source.”

Maybe Murphy wouldn’t have been seen as a food source, had she not been at the side of the lake. Her parents are also to blame in this specific incident. Reports from neighbors in the Orlando Sentinel said Murphy was known in the neighborhood as a “wanderer.” Neighbors mentioned seeing her alone around the neighborhood.

Even though there was another attack occurred on Wednesday in Land O’ Lakes when an adult woman was bit on the leg and arms while swimming at a resort, the aggressiveness of alligators seems on the rise. Murphy’s death is the 12th death recorded from an alligator attack since 1948, including a death last month of a 71-year-old Sarasota man and out of approximately 1.5 million alligators only 248 attacks have been reported.

These recent incidents show that alligators are growing less afraid of humans because they are being fed. While feeding them is a felony, people should police themselves. Common sense should prevail thus preventing future incidents.