Two sides…

Remember the Kruger Park elephant attack video that went viral a couple of weeks ago? Here it is:

 The elephant was subsequently shot, making it very dead, and prompting comments like:

so they kill a poor elephant because he was horny as nature intended?? wouldnt common sense tell someone who’s DRIVING to keep..oh i dont know…..DRIVING ON?? was her car stalled?? no. she just sat her dumb ass there and got away with a few scrapes. what a dumb bitch.


They KILLED the ELEPHANT for being an animal, and what happened to the DUMBASS DRIVER? Then, you cry you want to protect a tree, a dog, an eagle, an elephant because of extinction? IMBECILS.

and the occasionally controversial viewpoint of the “Biological Entities Should Be Ranked In Importance To The Global Community Based Solely On Their Average Mass” Brigade:

They killed the elephant for this? I hate humanity, if fair was fair, you’d shoot the tourists too for being stupid and driving TOWARDS AN OBVIOUSLY DISTRESSED ELEPHANT! I love how the life of a 90kg human is worth so much more than a 5000kg elephant. How retarded is this world?!?!?!? I hate people.

All fair enough, right? Ha. Sure.

Except, now that she’s out of her critical condition in hospital, having been gored by the 6ft long tusk of the elephant which went through the side of the car she was in, and then waited for 25 minutes before anyone drove along the road they’d been attacked on, the couple involved can have their say.

It’s riveting stuff as teacher Sarah Brooks describes how she repeated thought she was going to die as the elephant charged repeatedly at the vehicle. This after she couldn’t find reverse in the rental car as she panicked – which in turn prompted this astounding comment:

you say you weren’t used to the car?LIAR,LIAR,LIAR… As EVERYBODY knows,in a VW,1st and reverse gear are TOTALLY on the opposite side to each other.

UPDATE: Actually, Paul is incorrect in this allegation.

Of course EVERYBODY knows that, Paul Murray. Of course.
But Pop Quiz, Hotshot – where are they on a Hyundai?

Nah. Just kidding, it’s just the transmission systems of Volkswagen vehicles that the entire world has intimate knowledge of, isn’t it? And, obviously, being a teacher, Ms Brooks should have been fully aware of that, because using the VW Polo gearbox, while 5 tonnes of angry elephant bears down on you is something that she deals with in the classroom on a daily basis. If I was her teacher, I’d probably put something like “Could Do Better” or “More Effort Required”, because this whole gearbox faux pas has really not ended well, now has it?

That said, Paul Murray, your presumably rhetorical “What were you doing so close to the Elephant in the first place?” question doesn’t exactly tally with what the Park Rangers have said:

“We were 30 metres away from the elephant before it turned on us,” says Sarah, and shows me the video they were taking at the time to verify this. “A park ranger came to see us the day after it happened. He said: ‘I’ve seen the video. You were unlucky. You didn’t do anything wrong.’ The elephant had a maggot-infested abscess and had wounds all over his chest from being in a fight with a bull earlier on in the day. He was a very angry elephant. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But what does that park ranger know, hey Paul Murray? He’s probably another gearbox ignoramus or just a LIAR,LIAR,LIAR.

Now, I do want to continue with my views on this whole incident, but I feel that I must share some more of Paul Murray’s comment, because… well… just read and enjoy:

Give the World and the Elephant ‘some’ credit of not being as Ignorant as you are.You want to come into a place where at least lots of somethings die and get killed by something bigger,stronger and smarter than you?

Paul Murray is right though: Kruger Park is “a place where at least lots of somethings die”, but having read the piece he commented on, I’m pretty much of the opinion that Ms Brooks didn’t want to get killed by something bigger,stronger and smarter than her. Or for that matter something smaller, weaker and dumber than her. I just think she got caught in a difficult position, panicked and couldn’t find reverse.

Paul Murray continues:

Know your place in the food chain,stay in your Country and leave us South Africans and our animals alone,you ignorant twat.

Which is a bit awkward, when, as a human, Ms Brooks occupies pretty much top spot in the food chain and the passenger in the car was her… er… South African boyfriend who is currently living in the UK.

But wait, there’s more!

At least you may suffer a rabid fox attack as a prize for you costing us such a magnificent animal.And remember,STUPIDITY is NOT AN EXCUSE.

It’s all gone a bit Monty Python now, hasn’t it? At least a rabid fox attack? What sort of a threat is that? Seriously, why would that happen to her? Because she inadvertently got too close to a rabid fox, panicked and couldn’t find reverse in a VW. Yes? THEN SHE FULLY DESERVES THAT VULPINE ASSAULT!!!!!1!

Pfft. It seems with internet commenting, STUPIDITY is AN EXCUSE.
On with the rest of the post. And back to Ms Brooks’ story.

The people that shot the video. Where were they?

We thought the car that was behind us would still be there, but it was gone… That’s the thing that’s upset me more than anything. They said they thought we were dead, and told us later they didn’t have any space in the car.

Two of them visited Sarah in hospital. She pleaded with them not to publish the video. As it was, they did. The heavily-edited version, which made them look at best daft, and at worst deliberately foolhardy, went viral within hours.

Nice. Stay classy.

Look, it may seem that I’m just taking Sarah Brooks’ side in all of this, but I’m really not. In fact, I really don’t care. I’m glad that the couple survived and I’m sorry and a little sad that because of her injuries, she will never be able to bear children naturally. It irritates me that suddenly, everyone is an expert at everything and had made their minds up before knowing both sides of the story, though.
Bandwagon-jumping, kneejerk, herd-like behaviour. On the internet.
Who knew?

There are a lot of things to learn from this incident, though: that elephants can be dangerous, that some people have very little conscience or compassion when posting video footage on the web, that internet commenters don’t read (or maybe do read but just ignore?) the pieces that they comment on, that occasional CAPITAL LETTERS are a sure sign of outrage, but most of all, that in a VW, 1st and reverse gear are TOTALLY on the opposite side to each other.


15 thoughts on “Two sides…

  1. I’m afraid you had this coming, Paul. Remember, people other than your drinking buddies also read stuff on the interweb. Next time, perhaps you should save your comments for the braai.

  2. I thought about taking sides but isn’t this one of those sad stories where absolutely everybody loses. BAD tourists antagonizes elephant by driving insensitively close, BAD elephant smashes car, BAD locals giggle and run away, than post their fun on the internet, BAD national park authorities kill elephant, BAD internet users overreact in a predictably hysterical fashion. GOOD blog though….

  3. This is not funny.At least people should be able to express their opinions without Ridicule.Perhaps you are a friend or family member of this Stupid ‘woman”?Why do you not tell us this in your Blog post?I see that you are British as well why don’t you stay where you came from?Please REMOVE this offensive article immediately or I will be forced to contact my Lawyers.Which would not be good for you.

  4. Just commenting to subscribe, in order that I can read all the unfathomably stupid things that Paul Murray will most likely be saying here. And to pick up tips for gear-changes and avoiding rabid foxes, of course.

  5. Paul, I’m assuming that as a Murray you just magically sprung from African soil, eh? Your family might have been here a bit longer than a few others, but that doesn’t give you license to be the doorman.

    And to be honest, it IS funny, because you come across as a hysterical person with terrible typing skills. Do you seriously believe that everyone knows where a VW 1st & reverse gears are? Do you really think she came off with a couple of ‘scrapes’? She can no longer have children? Or is that just a scrape? Nothing serious?

    I had a close encounter with a rhino in Kruger years ago. We did everything as well as we could, but animals are still unpredictable and damn fast. I still believe we were lucky to get out of there alive.

    Should you not be condemning our countrymen for not even trying to help a couple who THEY thought would be dead? I’m sad for the elephant, I really, really am, but what I’m most sad about is people like you and the car full of cowards who drove away. Those who screech and whine but don’t actually do anything…

  6. Deon de Lange > Hi Deon. Thanks for the comment, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. Braais everywhere would be much happier places if Paul didn’t share his “wisdom”.

    itsstillayoba > EXCELLENT comment. GREAT spelling in the blog too, apparently. 😉

    Paul Murray > Is this really you? That’s fantastic.
    Let me get one thing clear from the off though: I’m not removing this post. I thought about reversing my stance on this, but I simply couldn’t find the gear in my blind panic. I hope that this decision will be good for me, but obviously, I will now constantly be looking over my shoulder, awaiting the call from your Lawyers.

    You are, of course, more than welcome to at least express your opinion (as you did), but equally, that opinion is open to Ridicule. In fact, every opinion is open to Ridicule, but strangely, only the more ridiculous ones seem to attract it.

    For the record, I’m not a friend, nor a relation of Ms Brooks (I presume that’s the Stupid ‘woman”, you are referring to it your delightful outburst?). Not that it would really matter if I was. Your comment on the AG site remains utterly hilarious on many levels.
    Have a great Day.

    Jacques Rousseau > It’s knee-deep in helpful – and potentially lifesaving – information, this blog.

    Cindy > Thanks for your contribution. We’re working on making that rhino danger less of an issue. Should have it completely sorted by 2016.

    Nicole von St Ange > The 25 minute wait for a chance passer-by would seem to suggest not. Maybe they headed for the nearest 3G signal to upload it to YouTube?

  7. You and your friends might like to laugh but this is not in any way funny.A Magnificent and noble beast has died because of the Stupids and Ignorant woman.She deserves everything she gets.Back home, she is treated like some kind of Celebrity.You are sick if you support her.She should just stay where she comes from and leave this Country alone.I will also give you one last chance to remove this article and apologise to me before I will take Legal action.

  8. Paul Murray > I can’t speak for my friends, but yes, I like to laugh. It’s the best medicine.
    As for this “Magnificent and noble beast” we have lost, would it be the same one that the park ranger said:

    “…had a maggot-infested abscess and had wounds all over his chest from being in a fight with a bull earlier on in the day.”

    and was found:

    “…just yards from another car when they found him”?

    Some might argue that he deserved everything he got.

    Your continual xenophobia regarding tourists entering SA is of obvious concern. Tourism contributes almost 10% of our GDP (can I say “our”? I have lived here and paid taxes for more than a decade now…?) and accounts for one in every 12 jobs in SA. If you’re planning to manage without that, I hope you have a damn good alternative plan in place, because I’m not sure that we can manage without that money and those jobs right now. It’s simply not enough to get visitors to wreck locally made vehicles in an effort to boost manufacturing.

    P.S. No apology. No retraction. Your move.

  9. Meh. Poor excuse for being caught up in that situation. Find it odd that she didnt know where reverse was/ She just get into the car? Being a rented (and new) car, on the gear knob you can find the layout of the gears. At 30m, when you see the elephant walking toward you, try not to wait till its 30cm from your car, then panic, sit still and hope it goes away. Unfortunate yes, but totally avoidable

  10. There are many ‘Paul Murray’s’ out there. Quick to judge, always think they are right, superiority complex etc… A mistake happened, the lady paid a steep price (several weeks recovery & inability to bear a child) and so did the Elephant (with its life)
    And then comes along almighty Paul Murray with his xenophobic comments and blatant hate. Even one of the best conservationists ever, the late Steve Irwin aka Crocodile hunter lost his life to a wild animal (Rest in Peace good sir). Wild animals are unpredictable and shit happens in the wild. Lets learn from this and come up with solutions that work and not hateful comments… nice blog by the way

  11. Looti >I wouldn’t be looking at the top of the gear lever, I’d have my eyes on the big grey thing approaching. Adrenaline does funny things to you.
    Unfortunate? Yep.
    Avoidable? Hmm (see my comment to Ed).
    Worth death threats and Paul Murray’s nonsense? Nah.

    Ed > Totally agree on the wild animals thing. And yes, better education would have helped, but this sort of thing is always going to happen from time to time. As the ranger – the guy who is in the know – said, it was just that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time – it could have happened to anybody.

  12. Having visited the Kruger Park on many occasions it never ceases to amaze how close people think they can get to large wildlife – it’s not a Disney movie FFS. I had a close call with three bull elephants along the Olifants River on one visit. I had stopped along the river bank to take some sunset shots and then head back to camp just before closing. I was completely engrossed in my camera and hadn’t noticed the 3 elephants that had “snuck” up behind. Very slowly I hauled the tripod back into the car, started the engine and hot-footed it down the road. On another occasion my wife and I had stopped at a lookout koppie where it was safe to get out but as the sign said “a your own risk”. When we got back into the car the large rock some 25 metres away got up – it was a buffalo.

    People do need to realise that the Kruger Park is not Whipsnade and following a bull elephant down a road is never a good idea.

    That said, Paul Murray is, in my opinion, a twat of the first highest order and if he is too thin skinned or precious to accept it, he can sue me.

  13. 6000 – wonderful response! I get myself in haranguing posts with myopic idiots on far too many occasions – I really need to learn that once an idiot (Paul) always an idiot (again Paul) 🙂 I try to live by the creed of tolerance but sometimes the intolerable (oh dear Paul once more) does need some of their c–p thrown back at them and I applaud the way you did it. Thanks for wonderful writing and a giggle!

  14. Kim Phillips > Thank you. Most of the time, I avoid getting into arguments about stupid comments by not reading stupid comments. In this case, temptation got the better of me. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

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