Because you deserve to see some bravery and joy

Politics today is unsettling and potentially grim.  Sometimes, you need an antidote to the kind of endless misery that's enveloping nervous Trump-supporters.  In this case, the antidote comes from watching a cigar-chomping man rescue his small, squealing puppy from an alligator's jaws.  It will make you feel better to watch this.

I live near alligators.  Indeed, there's an alligator in the pond just around the corner from my house.  I walk by it daily with my small dog, and when the weather is hot, everyone who passes the pond slows down to see if he can see the alligator sunning himself while hanging out with his turtle buddies.  On one occasion, a few months back, the alligator decided to switch things up and take a walk to my house.

He's not a very big alligator — only about four feet long, which means he's pretty young – but he's still an alligator.  A full-grown alligator has a bite force of almost 3,000 pounds per square inch, giving it one of the world's most powerful bites.  It's not just the bite force, though, that they bring to the hunt.  Alligators won't let go.

My little neighbor probably has a bite force of between 500 and 800 pounds per square inch.  By contrast, humans have a bite force that maxes out at about 200 pounds per square inch.  Given that alligators, even small ones, are ambush hunters who move fast and bite hard, I'm always careful to keep at least ten feet away from the water's edge when I'm out with my little dog.

Perhaps that's why I was so fascinated by the viral video out of Florida showing Richard Wilbanks, an older, cigar-chomping man, plunging into a pond, ducking his head underwater, and emerging holding in his hands an alligator-puppy duo.  This was not a happy, harmony-singing duo.  Instead, the alligator has his jaws firmly clamped down on the puppy, which squealed pitifully.

The miracle was Wilbank's wrestling that alligator's mouth open, allowing his puppy to leap away to safety:

Here's a close-up view of that daring rescue:

I hope Mr. Wilbanks had his bites carefully cleaned.  Alligator mouths can create terrible soft-tissue infections from whole colonies of dangerous bacteria.  Therefore, even small bites are treated as serious traumas.  

When you watch the news and worry about the future, remember that some Americans will leap into an alligator-infested pond to rescue their puppies from an alligator's relentless bite — all while hanging on to a cigar.  We Americans are made of strong stuff.

Image: Man saves puppy from an alligator.  Twitter screen grab.

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