I'm glad that no-one was eaten by a shark during the Peaceful Paddle on the weekend. (What a disaster that would have been, eh!) But I still think the whole exercize was pretty silly. While the participants who showed up are probably congratulating themselves for successfully making a political point, I think most Perth people who'd heard of the event would be shaking their heads in bemusement at its dippy incoherence.

Firstly, the original paddle was supposed to be from Cottesloe to Scarborough. But it just turned out to be a brief circle formation off Leighton Beach. The reason for that was the fact that so many people had said they were going on the group's Facebook page:
Hey guys, thanks to all who have supported us this far, currently 1,275 people are on our list for Sunday and that's amazing. As a few of you might have already figured out, this kind of number also presents a problem. To orchestrate an 11km paddle with anywhere this many people creates much greater concern for safety than the kind of numbers we originally anticipated. In order to avoid any unnecessary risk, yet still voice our concern over this issue, we plan to alter our plans as such:

On Sunday at 9am, instead of meeting in Cott and paddling to Scarborough, we will meet at Cable Stations reef, at the north end of Leighton beach. Our aim will simply be to peacefully and safely paddle out and form a (hopefully) huge ring of us sitting on our boards. This will be an effective way to show our combined feelings on the issue.

As it turned out, a mere fraction of that anticipated number actually showed up. Another tragic example of social media "slacktivism". As is the case with so many daffy deep green positions, most adherents just express their support because it's fashionable, but can't actually be arsed backing their word with deeds.

This summary of the event seems to encapsulate why it was so pointless and incoherent:

Surfing mates Rob Mayberry and Cam Avery attracted hundreds of people to their event to prove it was safe in the water.

Eh? No, it's not safe in the water. Several people have been killed by sharks, and the bloody great sea beasts are being spotted almost daily! It's not irrational for people to be concerned about the risk. Creating a formation fifty metres from the shore of a beach that probably had a shark patrol in place proved nothing.

Mr Mayberry said media coverage had created hysteria around the risk of shark attacks.

No, the shark attacks themselves created the "hysteria" around the risk of shark attacks. Media organizations just made a few more bucks out of it. (And I wouldn't even call it hysteria. It's justified trepidation. Quite sensible in my book.)

He believed some decisions after WA's fatal shark attacks were about appeasing people quickly rather than research.

Well, yeah, a policy like offing prowling noahs would certainly appease people quickly -- because it'd work!

He wanted the policy of killing sharks deemed an imminent threat scrapped.

Call me old fashioned, but I'd much prefer to see the sharks' policy of killing humans they deemed to be a potential meal scrapped instead. But of course that'd be impossible, so a bullet in the head would suffice.

"We could be using that money on research and finding different avenues of protecting people," Mr Mayberry said.

What, like giving the toothy predators crystal sound therapy so they can get in touch with their feminine sides?

Nah. Just break out the blunderbuss, load it up and let her rip, I reckon ...

PS: You've got to check out the photo on the Facebook page of the banner that reads "We heart sharks". Just think, all that gooey New Age sentiment originally directed at dolphins has now been transferred to white pointers. It's too tragic for words.

Get updates by e-mail!