Ideas

Snapshot

Readers react: ‘Last year’s death has fundamentally changed something very important to many thousands of people — the ability to swim in the ocean’

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
The waters off Gansbaai. South Africa, offer close, intense encounters with great whites.

Last week, William McKeever argued that, while we have to be careful about the sharks off Cape Cod, it may be time to think of them in a different way.

In other parts of the world, he wrote, beach communities have embraced these majestic creatures — turning cage-diving into a significant industry that offers everyday people a life-changing close-up with one of our greatest apex predators.

If enough people got that opportunity, he wrote, it could draw much-needed public attention to the ocean.

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But an online commenter who goes by the name “johnsmith11111111111111” says a fatal attack off the coast of Wellfleet last fall changed everything:

I don’t propose an answer, but ...

The shark lobby needs to realize that last year’s death has fundamentally changed something very important to many thousands of people — the ability to swim in the ocean.

Last year you could. Now you can’t.

That’s a big deal.

For many, this is some of the little contact they ever get with nature. Losing that is not just a question of finding another activity — it’s a basic loss, a further disconnect, that will only damage environmental causes.