Save the Manatees! Or my FB Following.

I’m going to rant now.  Something recently popped up on my Facebook feed as I follow the page for my local news station.

Someone posted this video to the page asserting that “these people” need to be arrested.  I’m going to assume that’s in reference to the woman seen shouting at the recorder and her family, but it could be argued to apply to everyone seen and heard.

(Be advised the video is NSFW due to the amount of profanity and possibly the woman in a bikini.  Also because it’s on FB.  Hey, I don’t know how strict your place of business is.  Viewer beware.)

In case you weren’t aware, manatees are endangered.  They are at great risk of being struck by passing boats and generally being harmed by our presence in the water.  As a result, you’re not allowed to touch a manatee or even get within ten feet of one.  What appears to have happened here was that a child wanted to see manatees, so the dad took him/her out in the water to swim near them and hold on to one.  Whether they meant harm or not, that’s a big no-no, so the woman recording the camera decided to stand next to the mother, comment on what idiots the two are, and record the whole thing.

Mama Bear was, predictably, not pleased.  During the video she alternates between “Go ahead and post, I dare you!” and “Turn off that camera or I will beat you down!”  The woman records that entire rant (and the image of ant-sized people swimming below with manatees not in view), posts it on the local news station, and comments that they need to be arrested.

Yeah.  Everyone involved here is an idiot.  With the exception of the child, who wouldn’t know better.

It’s been established that the family broke federal laws doing what they did.  Doesn’t matter what the kid wanted, doesn’t matter that they’re doing no harm.  Laws are still broken.  No more need be said on that.

But what about the woman recording?  She was just being a good samaritan and raising awareness for these horrible people further endangering the life of an animal, right?  WRONG.

If she really believed they should’ve been arrested, she should’ve done something to make it so.  Called the police.  Call animal control.  Do something.  But it’s apparently so much more productive to stand less than two feet from the mother and make insulting comments toward her partner and child.  Because now not only can she claim they broke federal laws, she has the mother threatening her on camera.  See?  They’re even more in the wrong!

But you still can’t go to the cops.  Much better to share the video on a popular FB page and alert thousands of users to your content.  It does nothing to aid a police investigation into what happened, but it does everything to drive regular people to investigate you and your daily drama-filled life.

So there you go.  The goal wasn’t to save animals or bring criminals to justice.  The goal was to make a controversial video and make it viral, claiming your 15 minutes in the process.

This is a ridiculous mentality and should stop.

And I realize I’m part of the problem by sharing this video with you.  But I think giving this kind of behavior negative attention, and encouraging more backlash, will be better than none at all.  With no attention people like this will move on to bigger and better targets.  With enough negative attention it could discourage the behavior.  Maybe. Possibly.  Consider it my own social experiment.

And if I’m wrong?  Well, we’ll have plenty of chances to try something new.

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One thought on “Save the Manatees! Or my FB Following.

  1. I’d take the video and send it to the authorities, both local (assuming the people lived in the area) and whoever is responsible for the protection of endangered species. Sure, I’d share it on Facebook, but since only my friends can see what I post, it would never go viral.

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