September 5, 2006

The last thing he did...

... was yank a stingray barb out of his heart. Is there a more dramatic last act in the history of mankind?

24 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

One has to ask if he would have lived to make it to surgery, absent that?

likely not, but possible

David Wharton said...

Well, I'd vote for the doomed Spartan soldiers calmly combing their hair before the battle of Thermopylae.

But I guess it was a rhetorical question.

sonicfrog said...

I guess squirrels are less deadly than sting rays, but, none-the-less, still dangerous!

The Drill SGT said...

The Spartans weren't PC, but they had some class:

On the grave of the 300 at Thermopylae

Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,

That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

mcg said...

I wonder, actually, if that didn't hasten his demise. Apparently those barbs do far more damage coming out than going in.

Not that I blame him, though---if I had half the testicular fortitude he did, I would instinctively do the same thing. Since I do not, I probably would have been paralyzed in fear (assuming the toxins didn't do it).

XWL said...

Taking the barb out might have been what killed him. with many puncture wounds, leaving the implement in is the best course.

In this case it might not have made a difference if the stingray's toxin destroyed his heart.

I'm sure there are many more dramatic moments out there, but few will be broadcast worldwide (as was his expressed wish)

Will broadcasters here show the footage?

(I personally have no interest in watching)

Revenant said...

I've lost the link, but I read earlier today that Irwin's manager is saying he was misquoted -- that he hadn't watched the video footage and hadn't seen Irwin yank out the barb.

So, dramatic as the story may be, it seems that it might not be true after all.

One has to ask if he would have lived to make it to surgery, absent that?

Doubtful, since the stingray would have yanked the barb out itself unless someone quickly killed it or cut off its tail. Stingrays can generate a lot of pull with those "wings" of theirs.

Daryl Herbert said...

Stingrays can generate a lot of pull with those "wings" of theirs.

Especially if each wing weighs 100lbs.

hdhouse said...

yes. i think there are a number of more drammatic exits.

AlaskaJack said...

Those Spartans, you gotta hand it to them. When told that the Persian archers were so numerous that when they fired their arrows they blocked out the sun, a Spartan replied with a laugh, "Good, then we'll have our battle in the shade".

Brendan said...

Spock's death in WOK?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

My vote: Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." Later: Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

Ann Althouse said...

Remember to picture what he did. He yanked that out that barb that was stuck in his heart, which I think must mean that he pulled out his own heart or at least part of it.

Madison Guy said...

That's funny -- I thought from the headline and the post that you were going to link to the story of the poor male praying mantis in the Times today. Hyper-castrating female insects: New York Times, what's your problem? You're creeping me out. Why? (Personally, I'm not too worried about my head being bitten off by a predatory female, but maybe the New York Times editors were more deeply traumatized by their encounter with Judith Miller than we realized.)

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I think that mediating the rift between Fallen Man and Heaven, while still forgiving those who executed your sinless self, is more dramatic. Sacred Heart trumps stingray'd heart.

The Drill SGT said...

AJ,

I'm going to butcher the quote from memory but it went something like:

Of the enemy, Spartan does not ask, "how many?", only "where?".

peter hoh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
peter hoh said...

How about Fabrizio Quattrocchi? He was the Italian hostage in Iraq who, facing his execution, shouted "now I'll show you how an Italian dies."

Not epic, perhaps, but I think his last action ranks up there with the best last acts captured on video (not that I want to see it).

HaloJonesFan said...

Well, it would have been really great if the second to last thing he did was say "hey y'all, check this out!"

Also: "then up spoke brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate/'To every man upon this Earth, death comest soon or late/and what better way for man to die than facing fearful odds/for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?'"

Revenant said...

How about Fabrizio Quattrocchi?

Thanks for reminding me about him. I'd forgotten his name, and he deserves to be remembered by every enemy of terrorism.

Tristram said...

There are any number of Martyrs that did greater deeds. Stephen in particlar.

See also just about any act of someone awarded a Medal of Honor, Posthumusly.

None of this is to discount what happened, or how he lived his life. I saw his show a couple of times, and while I did not care for it, I never questioned his enthusiasism or personal committment to what he did. I am saddened by his passing, not in a personal way, but rather that he was a character that added much needed color and humor to the all to humorless time.

yetanotherjohn said...

Is there a more dramatic last act in the history of mankind?

How about an innocent man being cruicifed on a cross, asking forgiveness for those who are cruicifying him, then rising from the dead after three days and ascending to heaven. Of course pulling a barb out of your body is a close second.

Goesh said...

I needed to get my two-bits in on this too. I have no respect for people who challenge and willfully confront the instincts of animals for showmanship, daring and commercial gain. Environmentalists don't pull the tails of crocs, they don't sit on crocs, they don't hold an infant near the gaping jaws of a large predator that can quickly rush forward if so inclined and they don't encroach on the space of whales and penguins for mere sport. May he rest in peace with that fellow who thought he was a brother to the bears and was subsequently killed by his 'brothers'.

lucas m. said...

Ann, more than likely he didn't actually pull out part of his heart. The barb penetrated his chest, and more than likely hit one of the 'Great Vessels' (The inferior vena cave, superior vena cave, the aorta, or the pulmonary arteries) or punctured one of the four chambers of the heart. Damage on the left side would have made death swift( The right side would have done it too, but the left would have been a little worse, as it is the bigger and more muscular of the two.) either via exsanguination or by a process called cardiac tamponade, where the blood goes into the sack around the heart and squeezes it untill it cannot pump effiencetly. Talking with other professionals, and the statements that Erwin did not collapse untill the barb was removed, We suspect that the barb had in fact penetrated the heart, and was plugging the hole. In my opinion it was cardiac tamponade that killed Erwin. Had the barb not been removed, and there had been rapid access to a emergency thoracic surgical team, he might have had a chance. It would have been a long shot as he was way out in the middle of nowhere, and we get people stabbed and shot right outside of our trauma center and they don't survive.