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Your Emotions Are Not The Victim’s Emotions in Disney Alligator Accident

Posted on - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 under General

Children versus wildlife.  The gorilla named Harambe was killed to save a 4-year-old child from his grasp at the Cincinnati Zoo.  Now, sadly, a 2-year-old boy was pulled into Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World by an alligator.

The Walt Disney World Resort & The Grand Floridian Hotel

For those unfamiliar with Walt Disney World resort near Orlando. Florida, Seven Seas Lagoon is the iconic lake in front of the Magic Kingdom (think Cinderella’s castle) theme park.  In addition to the theme park, three upscale resort hotels surround the lagoon all connected by Disney’s monorail train.

The accident happened at Disney’s five-star resort named the Grand Floridian.  It is a massive family paradise built to mirror an uber-exclusive Victorian beach resort of Florida’s yesteryear.  The resort has a beach on Seven Seas Lagoon.

According to reports, the toddler was splashing around in the water while his parents sat nearby.  The alligator attacked the small child pulling him in to the water.  The child’s father attempted to save the child to no avail.  As of writing this post, authorities are still searching for the child.

With ruthless media outlets comes ruthless commentaries.  Scores of what I will call “super-parents” come out of the woodwork placing blame on the child’s parents.  Others blame Disney lifeguards for not keeping vigilant of the gator’s whereabouts.  Still others blame the entire Disney enterprise for allowing alligators to be in their lakes.  Stop It!!!!!!!!!

Empathy Wins the Day

Are you shocked?  It isn’t common to hear an injury lawyer tell people to stop placing blame.  After all, I represent personal injury clients every day that have been affected by someone else’s recklessness.  But along with representing every one of my clients comes an emotion so strong that it has become my being.  Empathy.

What is empathy?  Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.  Too often human nature leads others to assume that their own feelings are what the affected person is feeling.  With the rampant use of social media, etc., people’s ability to share what they are feeling with the rest of the world is easy.  One viral post can cause an intense emotion to spread like wildfire.  These wildfires need to be put out.  The victims have their own emotions.  They don’t need yours.

Every person is their own being.  It is okay to feel sympathy for the family at Walt Disney World.  After all, sympathy is totally different from empathy.  Sympathy is YOUR feeling of sadness for someone else’s misfortune.  Empathy is your ability to share the feelings of others.

Other than the coldest hearted of souls, everyone has sympathy for the heartbreak the family is going through.  However, in my view, in order to be empathetic, you have to caste your feelings aside and take on the feelings of the victims.  It is not easy nor is it healthy in a lot of circumstances.

Yet, when something happens to someone you do not know, empathy is the best course of action.  Keep your mouth shut.  Keep your head down.  Respect what others are going through.  For God’s sake, let their feelings enter your body.

Only then will you begin to understand the level of pain the victims are going through.  You will never match their pain, but you will be able to internalize it briefly so that you can empathize.

Cade Parian is a metro Atlanta based personal injury attorney who represents people injured in catastrophic car accidents, trucking accidents, and defective products cases.