Gotta watch out for those ‘killer coconuts’ while walking, parking

July 3, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

BY OLIVIA CAMERON- From the scent of blooming jasmine to the taste of salt in the air, Gasparilla Island is home to many classic tropical tropes. However, some things may be beautiful from the outside but dangerous within. Take, for example, our multitude of coconut palms.
Coconuts may be a staple to seaside towns like this one, but they are not permanently bound to the trees. Anyone could be the victim of a falling coconut: Coconuts do not discriminate. 
Sam Murphy Park, for instance, is a coconut haven. The trees span stories into the sky, where bunches of coconuts await a naïve passerby who neglects to look up.
Many residents on the island have had the coconuts removed from their trees in fear of a smashed windshield. During one particularly bad storm, even our publisher was not exempt. He had a large (and lovely) bunch of coconuts fall from a tree and smash his privacy fence to smithereens. Their weight multiplied by their airspeed velocity is exemplary.
Death from a coconut is a worst-case scenario, yet they could also cause serious injuries as well. Statistics of coconut fatalities seem to remain unpublished, but are often assumed to be more frequent than shark attacks. In the early 2000s, studies regarding the dangers of coconuts began to highlight the concern. George Burgess, Director of the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, stated the deaths caused by coconuts were 15 times the number of fatalities from shark attacks. 
While this figure may have put shark attack danger into perspective, it does mean coconut attacks are technically plausible. Despite consistent changes in data, the danger of coconuts may not be a subject to take lightly.
Should we lose sleep over the unknown dangers of coconuts? No, but it’s important to know just where your laying your beach towel to tan. Next time you seek shade from the scorching sun, you may want to look up first.
After all, this is 2020. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen this year.