Monday, September 04, 2006

R.I.P. Steve Irwin

The Crocodile Hunter, dead at 44. Sad news today.

Condolences from around the world.


Twiggy said...

oh and the way he died..crazy! Bet you they got that on film.
Good ol'Dundee...will be very missed.

Newsguy Bob said...

Before anyone gets offended at what I'm going to write here, you have to understand the sick humour that permeates every newsroom (at least, every newsroom I've ever worked in, from a broom closet in Sault Ste. Marie to the CTV national newsroom).

Anyhoo, every story has a "slug" -- a title that the viewer or listener never sees or hears -- and I couldn't resist using "IRWIN BITES IT". I mean, crikey! -- the guy played with dangerous animals for a living. Is it any surprise how he died? And don't forget that little stunt with his weeks-old son at New Year's 2004, when he tantalized a croc with the chewy little morsel. "I was in total control, Mate," he said later, in damage-control mode. Yeah, right. Just like Michael Jackson was in control, when he dangled his son over the balcony.

Now, I'm just wondering when the fatal stingray barb-shot video makes it to the Internet. Any bets it gets so many hits, it crashes a server or two?

Pardon the poor choice of words, but later, gator.

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic, N@, but check out this website if you haven't already.

It's Canadian Chihuahua Rescue and Transport, a fostering program for chihuahuas and chi-mixes. I figured you might be interested.

N@ Lauzon said...

Hey Anonymous!

Thanks for the link! I've actually seen that site before...think it's a great organization. Actually, I have nothing but praise for grassroots charity-driven places that re-home animals. It takes a special kinda people.

How did you know abut it?

Newsguy Bob said...

Sorry. It was really me who sent you that chihuahua link.

There's an animal sanctuary near Ottawa that takes special-needs animals (mostly dogs and cats), nurses them back to health, then puts them up for adoption. It's called the Westminster Animal Sanctuary, and it's great people doing great work.

I was producing our 11pm newscast on Friday, and we did a story about Sierra, a year-old husky who has seven young pups. The sanctuary got them from Belleville, where Sierra had been under-nourished and otherwise abused, to the point that one of her legs has to be amputated -- once she's healthy and recovered from infections, etc.

It breaks my heart to think of the inhumanity of humans who commit such atrocities to helpless animals.

JB said...

I think the saddest part of this story is that he's left behind an 8-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. The son will never remember him, and the daughter is now heartbroken. As a Dad, I can tell you that this is a tragedy. As a boy who lost his Mom when he was thirteen, I can tell you that it changes your life forever, and not for the better. I think it's irresponsible of him to have continued taking big life-threatening risks after having children in his life. I think it shows he put too much more importance on his work than he did on his family.

Newsguy Bob said...

Well put, JB.
Irwin had his zoo to support his family. His continued daredevil foolishness was a total disregard to his family.

N@ Lauzon said...

Well, I don't have kids. Maybe I would feel differently if I did - but one could argue this: should you stop doing what you love because you do? Okay - maybe if what you do is crack. But this is different. Irwin had a unique understanding of and passion for wildlife. Through his TV show he helped a generation of kids appreciate nature. And through it all, Irwin respected that these were wild, unpredictable creatures and imparted this to his fans as well. He wasn't some dimwitted daredevil poking crocodiles with sticks (though, I have to say, the feeding of the croc with baby-in-hand was questionable which he later semi-admitted). He was a devout conservationalist. He himself had parents who rescued and rehabilited animals...and while passing down these teachings to his own kids - he taught children the world over to love animals as well. It's not something he could have done with a zoo alone.

Should he have stopped? In my opinion, no. Should he have toned DOWN what he did? Maybe? But it's all about what you consider 'daredevil' ish. I would say your average joe trying to catch a croc would be a daredevil. But a man with 30 years' experience and understanding and love of the animal, would not. I think the sometimes goofball exterior made us feel he was less experienced than he was..but he was not. I think to say it was disrespectful to his family to do what he loved, isn't fair. When he died, it wasn't because he was sticking his head in a gator's chops or trying to kiss a rattlesnake on the lips. He was swimming near a docile creature....not provoking it or intimidating it. Thousands of less experienced people have done the same thing. Based on the very strange way in which he died, I think it's unfair to condemn the way he lived. Had he died in a car accident like his own mother - would we be having this conversation? What about firefighters or pilots or marine biologists or anyone who drives a car or skiis or goes outside? Should they stop doing what they love, too - just in case?

It is without a doubt TRAGIC that he leaves behind such young children. That is the cold, hard undeniable truth. They will grow up without their dad and it breaks MY heart. I can't imagine how anyone with ties to them must feel.
But I honestly believe Irwin was smart about what he was doing, believed in what he was doing and wanted to teach his kids the same.

Had he known what fate had in store for him that day, of course he would have changed the game plan. But none of us know. Which is why we need to look to Irwin's life as an example of following your passion and making a difference - because you just never know.

Twiggy said...

ok, so I confused the Croc hunter and Crod dundee. I'm still young. When I realised who it really was...well, i erase my first post.
HOWEVER, and to add to the tragedy, I've heard (on The View, of all places) that the stingray segment was being filmed for his daughter's nature show for kids. Now imagine the guilt she'll be feeling the rest of her life, even though it's absolutely not her fault (or anyones, one might argue)? Terrible terrible terrible..even worse when you consider that you can survive stingray attacks... he got in the one place that matters (but then again, his heart was so big, it's hard to miss ).

(newsroom bob...did the term :"sleep with the fishes" ever come up?)