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Posted by W von Papinešu on March 31, 2003 at 20:11:01:
THE LEDGER (Lakeland, Florida) 31 March 03 Letter: Teach Alligator Safety
In regard to "The Only Good Gator . . ." by Art Schneider [letter, March 24], I guess common sense is not too common anymore.
People can teach their children not to eat dirt or plants or touch things that are "hot," whether it's the stove or Aunt Nellie's crystal figure, then why can't people teach them that the gators will bite or are "hot" as well?
I don't see kids sitting in the middle of the road eating poisonous plants, because they've been taught that they will hurt them as well as the big, bad cars just might run them over. Same with gators.
Yes, they were here first, just as the roach was. But, if a roach crawls across my foot, it will leave it where it found it. Maybe feeling a bit yucky, but still there. A gator will assume that that same foot is its afternoon snack and take it home to the bottom of the lake to eat.
Why, oh why, are stupid people allowed to have and raise children?
Please, people. Teach your children right from wrong. Teach them that an alligator is, as is a tiger to a kid in India or a polar bear is to a kid in in Alaska, dangerous. Say it with me now: "Stay away from the edge of the lakes. Mr. Gator lives there and he doesn't like company."
Kathleen Root, Winter Haven
THE LEDGER (Lakeland, Florida) 24 March 03 Letter: The Only Good Gator . . .
The only good gators are those in Gainesville who wear orange and blue (or University of Florida alumni).
We almost lost another child to one of the four-legged varieties recently, but for the desperate intervention of an uncle.
Of course, the gator huggers ("they were here first") don't care how many arms are ripped off nor how many children are killed by these menaces. We are told we should not disturb them or clear them out.
Meanwhile, our beautiful lakes are useless for swimming or skiing, and we await the next horror story about a gator attack. I still shudder when I think about that dear little girl in Winter Haven savaged by one of these beasts.
By the way, roaches were "here first" too. Any roach advocates out there?
Art Schneider, Lakeland
THE LEDGER (Lakeland, Florida) 18 February 03 Letter: Give Gators a Chance
When I first came to Florida in 1986, there were alligators around and in all lakes, rivers and ponds. Now, a person is lucky to even see one, and, as soon as it's spotted, it's deemed a nuisance and is trapped and killed.
Thousands of alligators in Florida are trapped and killed each year.
I spoke with the Reptile and Fish Department at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, and was told that an alligator doesn't reproduce until it is at least 5 feet to 6 feet long, but an alligator can be considered a nuisance if it is 4 feet long or longer.
By taking alligators out of their territory before they are of breeding capability, we are eradicating them, and, soon, they will only exist in zoos.
Alligators can live 50 years to 70 years, and they should have this right as well as all of God's creatures. They were in Florida long before humans, and why should we have the right to take away their habitat?
People should have the sense to stay out of areas where they know there are gators, and no one would be harmed.
Lin Holland, Haines City