Why, then, do those same reasonable and rational gun folks so often act just like the panty-wetting hoplophobes where snakes are concerned?
I see it on blog after blog, forum after forum. People who decry the closed-minded screeds of those who do not or will not learn the truth about guns cheerfully talk about killing snakes on sight simply because they are snakes. A few distinguish between venomous and non-venomous species, allowing the former to live but slaughtering the latter. All express a deep-seated loathing of suborder Ophidia. I find none of these attitudes defensible. The overwhelming majority of snakes are harmless, incapable of inflicting injury on a human more severe than a paper cut.
I don't fear guns, I respect them. I strictly observe the protocols necessary for handling and using them safely. I don't fear dangerous snakes, I respect them. And just as with guns, strictly adhering to safety protocols in their presence prevents serious injury or death. When out in venomous snake country, wear proper clothing. Watch where you walk, sit, and put your hands. Maintain good situational awareness. Sound familiar?
Recently, a fool in Papillion, Nebraska, died after his red-tailed boa constricted around his neck. That incident was just as preventable as the "accidents" that happen when idiots disregard Col. Cooper's Four Rules.
Just as with guns, ignoring the basic safety rules around dangerous snakes can lead to serious injury or death. Large constrictors must never be handled alone. Putting one around your neck is as stupid and dangerous as pointing a loaded gun at your face. Anyone familiar with the "rear naked choke" knows how little it takes to incapacitate or kill a person by applying pressure to certain areas of the neck. The snake lacks the anatomical features we exploit when learning counters to chokeholds. Unwinding a constrictor must be done starting from the tail and working forward. It's impossible to remove one from your body starting from the snake's head.
The current python problem in Florida is not the snakes' fault, but just as with green iguanas, was caused by irresponsible people failing to keep their exotic pets confined or deliberately dumping them into the wild. Unfortunately, the climate there is ideally suited for both of these creatures, and that combined with no natural predators have made them victims of their own success.
I've heard people claim that hatred of snakes is genetic in humans, but in the absence of hysterical adults, babies show no fear or aversion. Just as with guns, hatred of snakes is societally conditioned. Education, not extermination, is the solution for both problems.