I don't wish people dead. Really. But anyone who has spent much time talking with me probably won't be surprised at my stance here.
Steve Irwin is dead. My heart goes out to his children. I feel sympathy for his wife. But I am not sorry that he is gone. Especially considering the manner/circumstances in which he purportedly passed.
I have maintained for years now that this man lacked the fundamental respect necessary for relating to animals. Wild animals, in particular. He may have loved animals (I'm not sure one way or another on that). Certainly he educated people about them, and developed some good methods for dealing with them in captivity. But I have been predicting (hoping? such an awful thing to consider, but probably true if I'm honest with myself) that his lack of respect for animals in their own habitat would get him killed, and apparently that it the case.
Anyone who has watched any show of his on tv is familiar with his exclamation of, "Crikey!" But many people ignored or didn't consider the way he treated the wild animals his show often featured. Don't get me wrong - I am all for relocating animals (such as the crocs he often dealt with) rather than killing or capturing them. But plunging into the brush, grabbing unsuspecting denizens, pulling them away from home and family, and putting them on camera unwilling and unprepared? Disgraceful. Deplorable. Despicable. No living individual deserves that kind of treatment. And he did it on a regular basis. And there is no forgetting the infamous baby incident. If such shenanigans don't demonstrate a basic lack of respect for the other (non-human) animal involved in the scenario, I don't know what does.
I always thought it would be a snake or croc or poisonous insect that did him in, but I was obviously mistaken. All the standby medical assistance and antivenom caches in the world won't guard against a stingray barb to the chest.
The lesson here: all our human abilities to plan and prepare and reason are not enough to protect us from the world. Nothing is. And fucking with the other inhabitants of said world, even in the name of education and science, is a stupid undertaking if you don't properly respect their sovereign rights as individuals that may or may not act in predictable ways.
Goodbye, Steve. May your passing be a lesson to the current bunch of imitators you have spawned on Animal Planet and God knows where else.