Lyra McKee from Belfast thinks comments about the death of Steve Urwin are unfair.

The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, has barely been in his grave a week, and already someone has suggested that his tragic death was an inevitable end.

Amidst assertions that his encounter with the stingray was “extremely unlucky” - in other words, he must have been asking for it - author and leading feminist Germaine Greer has spoken out. The woman with an opinion on everything said, “The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin”. Not a fan then, eh Germaine?

I don’t know whether to tell her to shut up or to applaud her for saying what everyone else was thinking but too frightened to say. Personally, I loved Steve Irwin. After seeing his wildlife show for the first time I would spontaneously shout “Crikey!” whenever I heard what I was getting for dinner.

I am uncomfortable with the thought that it could all have been avoided if we didn’t have such an insatiable appetite for "real" entertainment

That probably proves Germaine’s theory that, “a whole generation of kids in shorts, seven sizes too small, will learn to shout in the ears of animals with hearing ten times more acute than theirs, determined to become millionaire animal-loving zoo-owners in their turn”.

Despite being a lifelong fan, I cannot stifle the thought at the back of my mind which asks, did Steve go too far this time? If he did, perhaps we, as his audience, should not have egged him on.

It never occurred to me, as I watched him grapple with alligators and bounce his baby son up and down in the croc pit, that what he was doing was wrong. It was all in the name of entertainment. But how far should you go for entertainment?

God only knows why Steve decided to get up so close and personal with a stingray. Perhaps he’d done it so many times before that he had grown complacent. Or maybe he was thinking of those who would be watching the documentary a few months later?

Whatever it was it cost him his life and caused untold pain and anguish for his wife and two young children. It is a tragedy and I am uncomfortable with the thought that it could all have been avoided if we didn’t have such an insatiable appetite for "real" entertainment.

About this team

This article was written by Lyra McKee, 16, from our Belfast newsroom. It was published on the Reach for the Sky website in 2006.

We are reposting Lyra's stories as a small tribute to her. Lyra was killed in Derry/Londonderry on the 18th April 2019. She was a previous participant of Headliners in Belfast (formerly known as Children's Express) and more recently a trustee of Headliners (UK). You can read the statement from Headliners (UK) here.