by Dean Weingarten
Last week, a 15-year-old girl, Jordan Broderick, was floating on a raft in a creek in the Ocala National Forest north of Orlando, Florida when an alligator approached her. She quickly climbed a nearby tree to escape the critter.
“My daughter’s stuck in a frickin’ tree and there’s gators surrounding her!” the teenager’s mother said frantically to a 911 operator. “Oh my God! Please hurry! Please hurry!”
Jordan was floating on a raft in the creek near Forest Service Road near Alexander Springs park in the Ocala National Forest, 55 miles north of downtown Orlando, when the alligator quickly approached her, authorities said.
That’s when the girl grabbed a large branch hanging over the water and climbed into the tree, according to the report. The alligator then waited in the water at the base of the tree underneath the girl hanging from the branch.
When Deputy Mitch Blackmon arrived, he found the girl in the tree screaming that she was tired from hanging on to the branch, the report said.
“My presence failed to scare the alligator away, and it began encroaching on my area at which time I fired one single 223 round from my Bushmaster AR15 killing the alligator,” Blackmon wrote in his report.
Many of those who want a disarmed population claim there is no civilian purpose for AR-15-style rifles. This incident shows that claim is foolish. Modern sporting rifles, or sport utility rifles, are designed to be easy to use, accurate, and adequately powerful, without excessive recoil. They work equally well for deputies, police, or armed citizens. The rifle offers more accuracy, range, and magazine capacity than the commonly available shotgun, with less recoil.
A shotgun might have worked in this case. But the rifle showed how versatile a tool it is.
The photo above shows how big an 11-foot alligator is. One that size is about 800 pounds of very potent predator. Jordan Broderick was able to hold onto that branch for almost an hour waiting for the deputy to arrive. Not everyone will have that kind of time or ability. This is why we carry.