I’ve studied shark attacks over 40 years but this attack on a child surfer in October of 2003 in Hawaii caused me to pay close attention to this courageous victim. Bethany Hamilton returned to her passion of surfing after she lost her arm in a nearly fatal encounter with the deadliest predator Mother Nature has to offer.  This wasn’t Jaws fiction but a swimmer’s worst nightmare: an attack from a wild animal intent on her death.

Recently my son and I watched the movie about this young victim’s life. I found her story a testament to her faith in human kind as well as her own inner strength. It was refreshing in light of the Eco-Lunacy I’ve dealt with in the past 2 decades.  Born of the 60’s and 70’s hippie movement, present-day extreme environmentalism has opened the world to animal protection fanaticism. — not to be confused with legitimate conservation. Check out any of the slew of Eco websites on shark protection imploring you to send letters complaining to book or magazine or film producers to stop portraying these wild predators as killers. (They sure work hard to keep people from calling a spade a spade and people are gullible enough to follow along…)

I’m amazed how these eco-loons insist on promoting propaganda that predators are misunderstood and harmless and that “encounters” with them are “accidental.” Even movie reviews of Soul Surfer refer to the shark attack as “an unfortunate marine accident”!  Kind of like minimizing a fall into the Grand Canyon as a slip on the kitchen floor. These reviews I find insulting to my intelligence! Like the shark attack that killed 13 year old Jamie Daigle off a Destin Florida beach in which experts claimed she swam out too far, ignoring the fact that she was bitten in half by a bull shark.

One must consider the motivation behind eco groups who claim that the destruction and death from the recent tsunami in Japan as retribution for Japan’s consuming shark fin soup. Oh please! Even PETA and the Humane Society asked for donations to save the ANIMALS left homeless by this disaster! Reality is stranger than fiction.

 Thank God for stories like Bethany’s where she holds faith in human kind above her own tragedy.

Captain Bill Goldschmitt

Co-author, Sharkman of Cortez

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