Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances

It’s that toothy time of year again

It is with a somber mind that I approach Shark Week this year.

While I typically anticipate it gleefully, there have been so many shark attacks of late it’s difficult to be really excited about this celebrating of all things shark when the toothy predators are the very thing drumming up a whole lot of fear at the moment.

It was just about this time last year that I last wrote on sharks, recalling my unexplainable love affair with not only Shark Week (which begins Sunday on The Discovery Channel, by the way), but also “Jaws.”

It was in that column that I discussed the persistent image of the shark, as seen on the old “Jaws” movie posters, that refuses to leave my mind, not just when I am in the ocean, but when I am in any body of water (even if it is a safe, shark-free backyard pool). It just doesn’t matter, the images are too powerful.

And one cannot deny that the recent spate of attacks so near to beaches in the Carolinas do not help mitigate the fear factor at all.

Though, it certainly helps to be able to put some things in perspective, especially for those of us who are planning to be near those waters in the very near future.

According to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File, fatal attacks appear to be minimal, no matter what “Jaws” or “Sharknado” would have you believe.

The most active area in the world, according to that data chart, is Florida, with 219 attacks from 2005 to 2014. Two of those attacks were fatal. In that same time span, North Carolina and South Carolina combined had 63 total attacks with none fatal.

While those numbers should be reassuring, knowing that six attacks have occurred in the Carolina waters in June alone is not.

When shark attacks start becoming a news item, Australia always comes to mind. The chart lists the southern hemisphere country second to Florida on attacks with 123 from 2005 to 2014. Fifteen of those were fatal.

Perhaps that has everything to do with the types of sharks lurking off certain shores. I don’t know for sure. But as a side note, I made my mind up a long time ago that I never intend to go frolicking in the waters off Australia. This chart has served to underline that mental declaration.

A recent article in The Washington Post said that this summer there are more tourists in the water, and more sharks, too.

The article quoted George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, as saying that “it is important to have this perspective so people don’t get ahead of themselves and fear a ‘Jaws-like’ scenario.”

I get it, and I’m sure you do, too.

It’s just not possible to have a vengeful, thinking machine of a shark out there methodically killing humans because it has a score to settle. Sharks are machines, sure, but I think we can all agree they are the eating variety rather than the rational, thinking variety.

When we swim in the ocean, we’re on their turf, in their home, in their yard. And with something as big and diverse as the ocean, there are always risks. The recent attacks just kind of reinforce that notion.

Be alert. That is one of the messages experts are putting out there. The sharks are always there. Really, they are. Being aware of one’s surroundings is always a good idea, whether it’s an ocean shark or a land shark you’re looking out for.

There is nothing wrong at all with keeping the swimming to the heavily-chlorinated waters of a nearby pool with nothing toothy looking for a meal therein. And there’s no shame at all in parking your rear end on the beach and just taking in all the sensory gloriousness from your dry, sandy perch.

Plus, you’ve got the advantage over the sharks when you’re on dry land. Personally, I’m a whole lot more prone to enjoy my vacation when I can keep the upper hand over the one with all the teeth.

Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2016 News Democrat