"31 May 2022, Largo Texas || This is one of those WTF strange stories, not really a Darwin Award but then again, not Not-A-Darwin. At the outset it sounds cut and dried Darwin dumb:
On a warm summer morning, Sean McGuinness (47) waded into Florida's Lake Taylor to retrieve errant discs from an adjacent disc-golf course. This was an unusual but profitable business for the man, who was described as 'transient.' A nearby store paid $5 - $10 each.
Sean was earning his living by wading in an off-limits lake in an area that alligators frequented. Although alligators are everywhere in Florida—sunning themselves near lakes, retention ponds, and golf greens—death by alligator is rare. No fatal alligator bites were documented in Florida from 2019—2021.
OTOH during May and June alligators do become aggressive during their mating season. Thus, wading into a posted lake in May does sound like a setup for a righteous Darwin Award.
At 8AM on May 31, 2022, Sean was found at the lake, dead and missing three limbs. Quite a shock. it was assumed he was killed by alligators.
But let us look further into the matter.
A close friend Sean said Sean had been doing this gig for a long time. He'd wade into the lake, feel for disks with his bare feet, and kick 'em up. He'd grab a floating 'five dollar bill' -- and another -- and another! It was a fun way to make a living, retrieving lost discs and selling them back to the local disc golf shop. He made $100, $150, each day he dredged for disks.
And to be clear, this man was NOT transient. That police description was incorrect. Sean had in fact lived with a local family for 7 years, and was a Florida resident. But Sean's worsening health issues, including epilepsy, caused problems with the family so the husband had reluctantly asked Sean to move on.
This man described Sean as his best friend. And he was not buying the 'killed by an alligator' allegation. He knew that Sean had situational awareness and was not likely to endanger himself while fishing frisbees out of Lake Taylor
OTOH Florida Fish and Wildlife estimates that 1.3 million alligators are loose in the Sunshine State, and Lake Taylor;was posted with warning signs, so the first thing that authorities did was kill two big 'gators and dredge their stomachs looking for evidence of Sean. No evidence was found. Those murdered alligators were not the culprits.
Sean's best friend was horrified by the alligator murders, saying that Sean would never want alligators killed. He said that Sean was respectful of the gators' rights, knowing he was entering their home when he waded into the lake to retrieve discs.
So what happened?
Sean McG had already been asked by the Blue to move along from Taylor Park, but kept coming back for the discs. A park visitor who snapped this photo (below) of Sean said he warned McGuinness, but McG said he knew what he was doing. Peronally I've known fellows like McG. Salt of the earth.
At 8AM McGuinness "
On the morning of March 31, 2022, Sean McGuinnis (age 43) waded into Taylor Lake in Largo, Florida to retrieve errant discs used used for playing disc (Frisbee) golf at a nearby course. His apparent intention was to resell the discs for a $5 to $10 profit. The lake is known for it's alligators and is clearly marked with many warning signs, which he ignored. Officials had warned him many times of the dangers of swimming in the well populated alligator habitat, and especially during mating season (which it was.) His body was found with one of his arms had been bitten off by an alligator, thus causing his death.
Submitted on 06/07/2022
Definitely Keep: Darwin Award
Yeah - it's really sad - but he knew the risks!
Definitely Keep: Darwin Award
For me, it's that he did this in the face of multiple warnings that he was being dumb that sells it.