February’s killer whale attack at SeaWorld, which claimed the life of trainer Dawn Brancheau, seemed like a straightforward case of an animal gone bad—the gory sequel to the chimpanzee horror show. But Tim Zimmermann’s sober, deeplyreported, and very well-told Outside magazine story will convince you there were two victims, and only one of them was human. The whale, Tilikum, is a tragic character. He was captured at sea; stuck in a dismal sea park in Canada, where he was penned in a tiny pool at night and harassed by other whales; then he was shipped to Orlando to become a performer. The three human deaths he was involved in are heartrending, but it’s Zimmermann’s feat here to make them, to some extent, understandable. Print and read it before your July 4 swim.