Maybe the Dolphin Should File a Lawsuit

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Maybe the Dolphin Should File a Lawsuit
By Ray Hanania
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Friday, December 07, 2012

The most disturbing video I saw recently is the one where the dolphin at Sea World in Orlando, Fla., lunges up and bites the hand of an 8-year-old who was participating in the feeding of the animals.

A dolphin snapping its long snout on a little girl’s hand is disturbing. But worse is the fact that the girl’s parents are so stupid. The father filmed the entire incident and posted it on YouTube. It’s all over the news, because the news loves violence.

Although the parents say they are not planning to file a lawsuit against Sea World — right! — you have to wonder about who is responsible for the accident?

The father says Sea World employees didn’t seem that concerned about the incident even though the daughter’s hand had two punctures from the animal bite.

Sea World hasn’t said much, probably fearing a lawsuit.

My concern is with the parents. Clearly, they are to blame.

Sea World allows visitors to feed the dolphins but have certain rules. One of the rules is that you not move the plate of fish food off of the edge of the pool under any circumstances.

In this case, the girl fed the dolphins the food. But when she ran out, she lifted the plate off the ledge in the air. The dolphin thought it was being fed and bit the plate, and the girl’s hand.

The father says he didn’t understand why they should lift the plate off of the ledge. Really? Are you that stupid? What do you think might happen when your little girl holds the plate up in the air in front of the animal, while she is not paying attention by the way and is talking to another child?

Being a parent means you should have some commonsense. It means you can’t be an idiot. It means that when you are video-taping you daughter and you see her break a rule, you put the freaking camera down and immediately tell her to 1) put the plate down and 2) pay attention.

The little girl wasn’t paying attention. But neither were the parents.

The father says he didn’t know why they told them not to lift the plates off of the ledge.


No one wants to see a little girl hurt at a tourist attraction, especially one whose parents are such idiots.

Where is the parental responsibility?

When dealing with animals you follow directions. And when you see your daughter not paying attention, the parent in you should tell you to act, not keep filming.

It is amazing to me how so many people in our world see tragedy as a lottery ticket. It’s so easy for the people who are injured to suddenly portray themselves as the victims, when in fact maybe they were injured because they didn’t do what they were supposed to do? Or maybe because they weren’t paying attention.

It’s always someone else’s responsibility to be responsible.

Dolphins are pretty smart mammals. You can’t say the same about people, though. Some of them are pretty dumb.

But in a lawsuit between a little girl who had her hand bitten on YouTube and a Dolphin that can’t defend itself, you know who is going to win.

Do the right thing, and you enjoy an animal attraction. Do the wrong thing and you suddenly win the lottery.

Too bad the dolphin can’t file a lawsuit.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at  — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania