COSTA MESA (CBSLA.com) — A local blogger and mother is speaking out, defending the parents whose 2-year-old son died after being attacked by an alligator at a Disney World resort.
Kristen Howerton, who runs the popular blog Rage Against the Minivan, visited the same resort two years ago with her children.
“They were putting their feet in the water. You can see it in the photo. There were lots of other kids,” she said.
As Howerton explains, they played in the sand at the manmade Seven Seas Lagoon, the same area where Lane Graves was snatched and dragged by an alligator.
“My first reaction was thinking of what that would feel like to watch your child be dragged off and what that would feel like to be looking and looking and looking and not being able to find them and just pure terror,” she said.
She posted photos to social media, along with a message of support to Lane’s parents who have been the target of parent-shaming on social media in the wake of their son’s gruesome death.
“I said that it was really disheartening to think that if something had happened to my kids that evening, that they were wading in the same lagoon, that instead of sympathy, I would be pulverized by a bunch of
sanctimommies,” she said.
Other moms have done the same.
One from Massachusetts, for instance, posted a photo of her son wading in the same water where Lane was grabbed by the alligator just hours earlier.
She writes: “I’ve already seen posts criticizing the parents. I can assure you alligators were not on my mind at all when Channing was in the water.”
Though Disney did have “no swimming” signs in the area, neither wading nor alligator warnings were posted.
“Disney wants to give the illusion that this is the happiest place on earth. They do not want to give a warning of, ‘Hey, be careful.’ They want you to be comfortable. They want you feel like it’s a happy place,” said Greg
Rizio, a personal injury attorney.
Rizio speculates this will be a multimillion dollar wrongful-death lawsuit and that the likely defense will be that Disney didn’t know alligators were a threat to guests.
“Or they are going to blame the parents, saying they should have been there, they should have known better: it’s Florida,” he said.
And that’s exactly why Howerton took to social media: to defend them.
“It creates a really harsh environment for parents, you know, to feel like you can never do anything right and to feel like if something bad happens that it’s your fault,” she said.