Comments on the kid “surfin’ the gator” photo today are expected. But think about it. Offer your thoughts on how the kid on the gator is different than your Uncle Hank holding a big mouth bass by the lip for the camera?Weegee-like moment and newsworthy. Running it doesn’t mean we promote the behavior. Just because we run a photo of an abandoned building in flames doesn't mean we promote fire as a solution to urban blight.
It is what it is: a jarring and conversation-starting image.
As Times writer Alexandyr Kent puts it, "The dead gator offered them a chance to play the brave dragon slayer, and what is more fundamental to our attitudes about the “demons of nature” than that? That the kids celebrate the death, however inadvertently, is to be expected." (Read his blog notes on the same item.)
If the kids playing on the gator bothers you, consider the community values on display ...and don't blame the messenger.
Uncle Hank would have this gator over the mantle and the clipping from the paper framed.