What can we do?
So, if it's not the fault of aggressive attack sharks, and it's a little bit our fault, then what can we do?
At least one town has discussed killing sharks they deem aggressive, but Burgess said this approach is not just inhumane but also useless. "Nothing could be more archaic or reactionary than the concept of, 'Let's go out and kill the sharks,'" Burgess said.
Because sharks are fast swimmers and highly migratory, it would be all but impossible to track down an individual shark in the ocean. By the time humans responded to the incident, the shark would be miles away.
"Any talk of going out and killing sharks is nothing more than a retribution or revenge thing to make you feel better," Burgess added.
Instead, it's the responsibility of humans to recognize that the ocean will never be entirely safe. The risk of being killed by a shark is extraordinarily small; they only kill three people per year, making them far less dangerous than swimming, or even just driving to and from the shore. But there's still a small risk, and if we can't accept that, Burgess said, we have to stay on the beach.
"The sad part about all this is the expectation that it's the same as going into a pool," Burgess said of swimming in the ocean. "The reality is, it's a very different experience. The animals, that's their house. And since we're the ones that are blessed with the brain and they the teeth, it's incumbent on us to make the modifications."