Its very good to see your input about this issue. You are right that non-hot herpers and general very hard to understand why people keep hot. Seems like both sides have their points, as I said only people with experience, responsible and proper housing can keep hots. For example, in Florida, if you have 1000 logged hrs of practice, proper housing...etc, you can have a licence to keep hots. That means the government do allow individual to keep hots for whatever reason once they fulfill this requirement. The public know about this too, although this is not 100% fool proof and accident may still happen. Will any accident happen affect the herp community? I don't think so, since all requirement has satisfy according to the law; VS e.g. a space shuttle accident, you do all the things you have to do with state of art technology, but sometimes accident just happen. Will people stop doing that, they won't since they tried everything for maximum safety nad those people willing to take the risk. In my opinion, those who affect the herp community are those non-responsible keepers.
For the potential lethal snake issue, I still stand my point. I think a big boa or python deserve the same respect as a hot snake and should only leave for advance keepers. I can imagine a 10ft giant snake in one's backyard will impress the neighbours as same as a hot snake. I am not sure if anyone will like to test if a giant snake is going to bite/constrict vs a hot snake is giving a dry/wet bite. That's why some states/provinces has restrictions of certain species which will grow beyond a certain length. That means the law and general public view giant snake are dangerous no less than hot snakes. Although many people try to fight the government about this.
Lets hope all hot keepers be responsible when they still have this precious rights to keep hots. I think I said enough....