A terrible tragic incident happened at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Tuesday night. A 2-year-old boy, reportedly at the edge of a lagoon outside the Grand Floridian Hotel, was snatched and dragged away in the water by an alligator. Rescue efforts for the toddler continued into Wednesday morning. As the boy's family and concerned readers grapple with the horrifying news, it's important to remember why you shouldn't judge the parents in the Disney alligator attack. It's a devastating incident that doesn't need anyone's judgment.
According to CNN, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the toddler was "wading ... along the lake's edge at the time that the alligator attacked." CNN reported that the boy was in less than a foot of water when the attack happened at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday. According to witnesses, the 2-year-old's parents were nearby and both ran into the water to try and save their son.
"The father did his best — he tried to rescue the child, however, to no avail," Jeff Williamson of the Orange County Sheriff's Office said at a press conference, according to NPR. He continued, "The gator swam away with the child." The lifeguard was possibly too far away, so therefore unable to help, NPR reported.
Rescue efforts as of Wednesday morning were ongoing.
But in less than 24 hours since the horrifying news spread, many have taken to social media to immediately condemn the parents in what has recently become somewhat of a custom response to these tragedies.
Last month when a young boy fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo —resulting in the zoo using fatal force on Harambe the gorilla in order to save the boy's life — many were quick to point fingers and call the boy's mother negligent and unfit. Many of these attacks on the boy's mother (and father who reportedly wasn't even at the zoo at the time) came immediately, and viciously after the news broke, and without further details on the incident.
It seems the Disney alligator incident, a parents' unspeakable nightmare, has swiftly evoked similar rhetoric, and it's problematic.
But witness accounts show the parents, hailing from Nebraska, were nearby with their son's 4-year-old sister. Both parents tried to rescue their child from the alligator reported to be between 4 and 6 feet long, but were unsuccessful. According to the Washington Post, signs along the lake warned against, swimming, but TMZ reported that the Disney resort reportedly had no warning signs mentioning alligators. Romper has reached out to Disney for comment regarding the lack of signs and what it is doing to keep guests safe from alligators.
At a news conference, Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said no "nuisance alligators” had been recently reported in the area, according to the New York Times.
Horrible, horrific incidents happen with children in the blink of an eye. The parents are living through their worst nightmare and a 2-year-old boy has been attacked by an alligator. With so much tragedy, there should be no room for judgment.