FT Journo Paul McClean Killed by Crocodile: It Should Have Been a Defensive Gun Use?

A gun isn’t the answer to every violent threat. And being armed is no guarantee of success; you can do everything right in a gunfight and still die. So when I flag an incident It Should Have Been A Defensive Gun Use, sometimes I’m simply pointing out that a firearm would have increased the victim’s chances of avoiding or reducing injury or death. Here’s an example . . .

A “talented and dedicated” journalist with the Financial Times is being mourned by friends and colleagues after he was pulled underwater and killed by a crocodile in Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Paul McClean, 24, had wandered away from his friends to locate a toilet and was reportedly seen waving his hands in the air when he was attacked at a lagoon called Crocodile Rock near Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka.

The owner of a surf school in the area told The Sun that a local fisherman had witnessed a man being dragged into the river by a crocodile.

The aforementioned Sun reports that “The lagoon, known to be crawling with crocodiles, is yards away from popular surf spot Elephant Rock near Arugam Bay on the southeast coast” (as above).

Neither news org reveals the reason Mr. McClean was at Elephant Rock; he may have been riding the waves. So . . . surfer carry? In a foreign country? By a Brit?

Yeah, this one’s a stretch. The idea of shooting and killing a hungry reptile that’s busy dragging you to your death is wishful thinking. Still, they shoot crocs, don’t they?


  1. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    “. . . lagoon called Crocodile Rock ”

    Pro tip: stay the hell away from places like Crocodile Rock, Bear Mesa, Guy Wearing a Hockey Mask Camp, etc.

    1. avatar Gilbert says:

      Free clown hugs (especially deep in the woods)

      1. avatar Richard Kennedy says:

        Hahaha….that’s awesome!

    2. avatar JTPhilly says:

      We kayak down a river that has a prominent spot called “Moccassin Gap”. I’ve never once seen a snake there, although it’s probably due to the fact that the spot has become a popular hang out place for paddlers to play in the rapids. But as a general rule, yeah places with crazy names usually got those names for a reason. Personally, I’d add anything called “The Devil’s _____” to the list of places to stay away from.

      1. avatar Scoutino says:

        Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin is realy nice place.

        1. avatar What about Bob says:

          I was about to say this. Jewel of our state parks…

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Pro tip: stay the hell away from places like Crocodile Rock, Bear Mesa, Guy Wearing a Hockey Mask Camp, etc.”

      I had a “Camp Crystal Lake” T-shirt in the 80’s.

      Along with a “24 empty missile tubes, a mushroom cloud, and now it’s ‘Miller Time’ T-shirt.

      I called that one my “Earth Day” shirt. I guy I worked with told me “You’re sick!”

      I looked right at him and asked – “And?”…

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        Buddy of mine had a t shirt with a mushroom cloud behind a bomber and the caption was
        Made in America, tested in Japan.

        Yeah he didn’t give a damn what anyone thought.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          There’s one out there of a B-52 as a ‘Peace’ symbol:



          The 24 empty missile tubes shirt looked exactly like this –


        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Made in America, tested in Japan.”

          “Twice”… 🙂

    4. avatar Rokurota says:

      Shark’s Cove, Oahu’s North Shore, is very popular with the kids.

    5. avatar Sid says:

      I remember when rock was young
      Me and Suzie had so much fun
      Holding hands and skimming stones
      Had an old gold Chevy and a place of my own
      But the biggest kick I ever got
      Was doing a thing called the Crocodile Rock
      While the other kids were Rocking Round the Clock
      We were hopping and bopping to the Crocodile Rock

      1. avatar Desert Dave says:


        Don’t do the Crocodile Rock anywhere near Crocodile Rock!

  2. avatar Darkman says:

    Darwin Award in it’s truest form.

  3. avatar Geoff PR says:

    A croc is a different critter than a ‘gator.

    A substantially less-pleasant of a critter.

    You had better know where to shoot the damn thing before you start launching lead at it. And ‘between the eyes’ aint it.

    Geeze, I think I’d rather just avoid needing to shoot a croc in the first place, if I can help it.

    As for a gun, Glock 20 in 10 mm or a Ruger Alaskan in .44 mag or higher…

    1. avatar Frank in VA says:

      Since I wouldn’t know where to shoot it, other than the general head and torso areas, I guess the Glock would be the better option for me. A mag dump of 10mm would give me a lot more chances to find the sweet spot.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Around 8 inches *behind* the eyes.

        There’s pictures floating around online showing the ‘special place’…

        1. avatar bryan1980 says:

          Yup, that’s where the gator hunters do it; point-blank and usually with a .22 of some sort.

  4. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    The crocs in Nuevo Vallarta scared the shit out of me. When I first got there I thought they were exaggerating and I did work on the bottom of my boat in the marina. Once a friend showed the crocs to me I never went in the river or marina water again. Terrifying creatures. If one ambushed you as they are like to do, I doubt you’d get a chance to take a shot.

  5. avatar jwm says:

    A knife. Spear. Rock. Broken beer bottle. Gun. Anything beats harsh language when you’re being dragged to dinner by any animal.

    The human race struggled, bled and died for generation after generation to be at the top of the food chain. Only to give away our advantages and allow ourselves to be demoted to the bottom of the food chain in basically one generation. Voluntarily.

    1. avatar Jeffro says:

      There really does need to be a like button for posts here. Absent that, ^^^^^^^ What he said.

      1. avatar Joe says:

        +1 for a ‘like’ button

  6. avatar the wanderer says:

    Crikey mate! Such a shame! A bloak can’t drop a deuce without a crockigator goin for his bum!

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    Man it’s almost predictable…rest in pieces😫😫😫😫😫😫

  8. avatar Mr Lizard says:

    My cousin Chompy dindu nuffin, he inosent. He was fixin to go back to skool to get his sertifikate

  9. avatar Kaban says:

    There are dispositions that might have been improved, and there are hopeless ones. This case is the latter. Sri-Lanka, with it wondrous, Brit-like gun laws, is not easiest country to get licensed, and a tourist should just forget about it.

    That said, taking a piss around wild fauna in condition white is probably not smartest thing to do.

    1. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

      I DON’T know about given locals firearms. But, I believe they can own single, and double barreled shotguns. My bro had recently came across a graphic YouTube vid. Some village in India. Bunch of locals dancing round with shotguns celebrating something. All firing live rounds in the air, or off to the sides with reckless abandon. And you just know what’s going to happen next. Someone walks by to close to one of the uneducated locals, and the next thing you know …Is some guy is shot in the head by some belligerent native. This poor guy folds up like a lawn chair with a small part of his skull and brain missing…So no, 3rd world, firearms and,uneducated peasants DON’T mix !!!

  10. avatar RCC says:

    Ambush by hungry crocodile is almost impossible to avoid if your near the water. Probably the worlds best ambush predator. Eye gouging maybe but once grabbed mostly no chance.

    Avoiding the wrong place is a good start. I’ve seen backpackers tie their tent rope to the no camping crocodile warning signs. Printed in 15 languages!!!

    Having said that my mother hunted crocodiles back in the 1950’s with professional hunters in northern Australia. Usually at night in boat with spotlight. No locals swam in the area.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      This right here. If a crocodile has decided you’re on the menu, it’s very unlikely he’s going to give you a chance to take a shot at him. They are patient, silent, and very camouflaged in their environment. And they can bite down on you like a hydraulic press. And then they drag you underwater. In cases like this one, you’re most likely dead before you know what hit you.

      We all like to think we’re cool under pressure, and many of us are, but the explosive violence of a crocodile attack is like a bomb going off. I doubt there are many people whose brains won’t just lock up for those critical first seconds, when a gun could possibly do some good.

      Don’t go in or near the water where crocodiles are around. This should be categorized as “Should have been a common sense use”.

  11. avatar TwoJohnsonsAreBetterThanOne says:

    This confirms my hypothesis that crocodiles can be dangerous.

  12. avatar The Rookie says:

    This is why I always carry a jaguar whenever I’m in croc country.

    1. avatar Terclinger says:

      Balls of that feline.

    2. avatar jwtalor says:

      Fascinating animals. Jaguar, from Huaguiere, or “kills with a pounce”. Other cats kill by suffocation, the jaguar has an extremely strong bite, and, like the brown bear, instead of suffocation and evisceration, it kills by severing the spine or simply crushing the skull. Those in Central America are particularly known for their ability to crush turtle shells.

  13. avatar samuraichatter says:

    I gained even more fear of the ocean when I learned that some crocodilian species, including “salties”, can and do go out into open ocean. So yeah, you could be ate by a croc (or killed by any number of fauna) while surfing.

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