WARNING: The video below features a fictional account of a shark attack (based off the Alex Kintner scene in “Jaws”).
TVSpotsTV recently posted this 2003 Victoria, Australia public service announcement. While the imagery is very much over-the-top and mimics a horrific shark attack scene from the movie “Jaws,” the message is strong and well-intended. The announcement attempts to emphasize that while hundreds of people die in traffic accidents on Victoria’s roads, little attention is given to those deaths, as is illustrated by the beachgoers going about their usual routine, despite the fact that a boy is being attacked.
While the point of the announcement is clearly to draw attention to a need for increased traffic safety, the advertisement also illustrates (perhaps unwittingly) how shark attacks receive more attention than a vast majority of more common tragedies, such as traffic fatalities. The intent here is not to diminish the tragic nature of shark attacks but rather to point out that lives are lost at a far greater rate due to events that are almost ignored due to them being considered “commonplace.”
There is a certain psychology associated with shark attacks that somehow makes them more newsworthy. While the loss of life is tragic, despite the circumstances behind the loss, it does seem that the general public’s attention is often directed toward certain types of tragic events more than others.