I was reading this story about Stephen Schafer, that poor fellah killed by sharks while kiteboard surfing (whatever that is) down in Flahrduh when these lines caught my eye:

Schafer’s friends told TCPalm.com they are shocked by his death.

“I’ve never heard of multiple sharks in this area surrounding someone and fatally wounding him,” said the victim’s childhood friend, Teague Taylor, 36. “He was the nicest person ever.”

On Tuesday, the day before the fatal attack, Taylor told TCPalm.com he was surfing near where his friend was attacked and he saw several sharks.

“You always think in the back of your mind that they (sharks) are out there,” he said.

Jordan Schwartz, who has known Schafer for five years, told TCPalm.com that Schafer was a very experienced kiteboard surfer.

“He was a super nice guy. Always mellow. I don’t think he had any enemies,” he said.

I don’t want to seem unduly curmudgeonly here.  Obviously this was a horrid thing to have happened and I’m sure the poor man’s friends truly are in shock but………what possible difference does it make to the attack that he was a nice guy without any enemies?  Would it have been any less horrible if he was a right bastard who kicked dogs and stole children’s candy?  If the sharks had realized what they were about, would they have broken off and gone to find a less saintly sort?

I bring this up simply because I believe these people are actually reverting to the mass-media stereotypes that we have adopted in order to help ourselves deal with violence in our culchah.  All crazed gunmen and other perpetrators of such violence are remembered as being quiet and keeping to themselves, all victims as popular and outgoing.

The sharks, which could not be reached for comment, will of course be described by somebody as misunderstood.