Let’s give authorities in Collier County, Florida, a hand for filing charges against a guy with (deservedly) only one. I’m talking, of course, about Wallace Weatherholt, who lost a hand to an alligator back in June.
Mr. Weatherholt, an airboat captain working for the Everglades City, Florida-based Captain Doug’s Everglades Tours, was “essentially baiting the alligator into a photo-op,” as I wrote at the time, when the creature bit the hand that fed him and was executed for doing so.
I opined in my June 14 commentary that “Florida wildlife officials should be ashamed of their punitive reaction to (the) incident. Claims that the alligator had to die for his or her transgression — and in the interest of public safety — or because wildlife officials were desperate to recover Mr. Weatherholt’s appendage are as convenient as they are unsophisticated.”
The alligator, of course, was just being an alligator. And unfortunately, Mr. Weatherholt was just being his usual, reckless self.
If convicted of what amounts to a second-degree misdemeanor, Mr. Weatherholt could be sentenced to serve up to 60 days in prison and fined up to $500 — a slap on the (other) hand, as far as I’m concerned, given that the alligator he baited was summarily executed.
This is not the first time Mr. Weatherholt’s recklessness has landed him in a courtroom.
Court records indicate that Mr. Weatherholt was charged in October 2011 with causing some sort of boating accident. In November 1995, he was charged with using a gun while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In both cases, Mr. Weatherholt received little more punishment for his reckless behavior than a slap on the wrist (of which he had two).
Clearly, Mr. Weatherholt is a danger to himself, to society, and to all the species who could potentially come into contact with him. He’s already caused the death of one alligator, and as long as he’s still got one good hand, no creature great or small is safe.
Mr. Weatherholt needs to be thrown in some dank dungeon somewhere deep in the Florida Everglades and left there for all eternity to count (on one hand, anyway) his blessings. One-handed or not, the bastard is alive. And for that he should be forever grateful.
It was he who bit the hand that fed him. And that’s bad fucking karma.