It’s Jaws all over again
Scared by sharks, how will we respond this time?
THE FATAL SHARK ATTACK on 26-year-old boogie border Arthur Medici Saturday at Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet scared the hell out of me. Reading about the terrible incident, I could hear the John Williams theme to Jaws in my head.
“Don’t go in the water.”
The 1975 Steven Spielberg movie, based on the book by Peter Benchley, scared the hell out of America. Beach attendance plummeted that summer and the movie transformed great white sharks from fairly obscure creatures into deadly predators capable of tracking individual human beings. It was all hogwash, of course, but people were so scared that shark-fishing tournaments became all the rage. Just as in the movie, the answer to shark attacks was to kill the sharks, and that may be urge this time around.
In an editorial, the Boston Herald demanded a response to the attack on Medici. “Whatever measures are necessary to keep the beaches safe must be taken despite the squeamishness those actions might provoke in some,” the Herald said. “Whether the solution is to cull the seal population, the shark population, or both, we must not hesitate to do it. Perhaps there’s a third way, but action must be taken swiftly to assure Cape residents and tourists that they will not be preyed upon if they enter the waters off Cape Cod.”
Officials are now trying to decide what to do, and lots of options are on the table. So many incidents in such a short period of time suggest caution is definitely warranted. Whether it’s time to call in the cavalry is another matter. This ain’t Hollywood, after all.