Being Human – Are we losing it?

Out of the blue, a few months back, one afternoon, I received a couple of pictures on Whatsaap from a friend in Bhopal. Coolly downloading them I felt my legs tremble and a shiver of repulsion run down my spine. There were a series of pictures, many of them close-ups, of a young woman with a large knife (kataar in Hindi) protruding from her chest, lying dead in a pool of blood. The cold blooded murder had taken place in one of the posh locations in Bhopal in broad daylight (12:00 PM), on the side of a busy road in full view of passersby, who were stunned into a stupor by the sudden turn of events, enabling the assailant, later identified as her second husband, to swiftly make his escape from the murder site. In no time the pics and videos of the incident were going viral.

The question here is not exactly the alarmingly escalating crime graph of the city, but the lack or absence of humanity in the honorable citizens who gather around the victim who is probably gasping their last breath, quickly pulling out their ever ready cellphones and shooting the entire event of the tragedy as if it is going to run for the Oscars.      

The Social Media craze is growing by leaps and bounds and everyone is extremely eager to get a mention of being the first to post the situation on various sites. The basic humane feeling of helping the victim, for whom every minute is vital, is forgotten. Regardless of occasion or situation, taking a selfie and video filming the event has become a trend now. In the race of becoming first to post on the social media, we sometimes forget what the situation in front of us is. I recently read an article about an 18 year old youth near Bangalore who was hit and run over by a state transport bus. As he lay in a pool of blood requesting someone to help him, the onlookers kept themselves busy by clicking videos and pic on their cellphone cameras. This went on for over 45 minutes. After that he was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. This is an example of the apathy in our hearts today.

The above incidents show only one thing that, more people are getting killed by public apathy and indifference rather than accidents. People need to become more sensitive towards others and need to help someone who is in an emergency or pain. Filming them and later on uploading the videos on social media may get more likes to your posts but maybe at the cost of someone’s life. Social media is made for helping each other rather than dwelling on it for personal publicity.

There is another aspect of the people posting these videos and pics on social media.
This could breach the privacy of the victim/s or other people present at the scene.
Sometimes it could also lead to identification of a victim, such as when the vehicle’s registration plate is shown, prior to police being able to carry out family notifications.
It can be highly traumatizing and shocking for someone to find out their loved one has been involved in a crash or any other event via social media.
There is a risk that graphic or inappropriate images could cause distress for people who view them as I saw yesterday. The gory pictures and video haunted me for a long time.
Psychologists term this approach as ‘The Bystander Effect’ or ‘Bystander Apathy’ – It is a social psychological phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present. … Several factors contribute to the bystander effect, including ambiguity, cohesiveness and diffusion of responsibility and now the social media angle- the chance of making it big by spreading the news first.

The only thing I can think of right now is-

People please help accident victims instead of taking their photos/videos on road. Every second counts and who knows, our acting timely and saving somebody’s life could give us more likes and recognition as compared to clicking pictures and taking videos of the proceedings rather than helping.

Peace out for now!

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