Crocodiles, crocodile tears, and fishing for men

By Curtis K. Shelburne: Religion columnist

I have just been doing a web search. A friend told my wife that Internet news yesterday mentioned demonstrations in Uganda. Since we have two sons and other dear friends and family there, I thought I’d see what I could find.
I Googled “Uganda demonstrations.” Since somebody somewhere is always demonstrating about something — I wonder what that demonstrates — I thought I’d get a bunch of hits.
Sure enough. Looks like you can take your pick. In the last few years, demonstrations in Uganda have centered on elections, peace, AIDS policy, farm policy, homosexual rights, etc. But nothing much was recent.
I went on to search for “Uganda news.” Nothing much demonstrated there either. But I did find one bit of interesting and recent news. Here’s the headline: “Ugandan Conservationists Saddened As 62-year-old Crocodile Passes: ‘The Man Eater’ Ate Over 80 Fishermen.’”
It seems that the one-ton reptile had himself been fishing in Uganda’s Bugiri district for years, and then in 1983 found that fishermen were more plentiful than fish and, pound per pound, easier to catch. In March of 2005, the croc was captured (that must have been fun) by Ugandan Wildlife Authority officials assisted by local fishermen. He was then relocated to a crocodile farm in the Mpigi district.
One reader commented on the web that it’s “amazing and inspirational that these people had enough respect for a wild animal to move it to a new habitat that was safe and not a threat to humans.”
My comment? Yeah, it’s a good deal more inspirational if you’re not a Ugandan fisherman. Did anybody ever stop to do an autopsy on whatever was left of any of the 80 eaten fishermen? Or maybe, if you get eaten by a crocodile, there’s no need for an autopsy.
We’re told that the old reptile passed. Pardon me for asking, but I assume that’s a euphemism for died and has nothing to do with 80 fishermen and the workings of the croc’s lower GI tract?
Authorities believe that the cause of death was stress-related. Indeed. Looks like conservationists would know how dangerous it is to mess with an animal’s diet.
The crocodile was popular with tourists, the article said. Given a lower fence and a bit of time to get over his taste for fishermen, I imagine tourists might have been popular with the croc, too.
He was buried on Saturday. No word as to whether or not the remaining fishermen from the Bugiri district sent flowers.
Jesus is right. Wisdom is justified by all of her many children, and maybe it’s a matter of perspective whether crocodile tears are more appropriate for crocs or fishermen.