How would you re­act when tragedy strikes?

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I WROTE a com­ment for this col­umn af­ter the Bourke Street ter­ror at­tack in Mel­bourne early in Novem­ber, but didn’t pub­lish it at the time. A story on­line at smh. last week­end prompted me to re­visit what I’d writ­ten.

The news site was re­port­ing on an emer­gency that oc­curred last Fri­day night, and be­gan: “Shocked wit­nesses have tried des­per­ately to help a man who staggered into a Syd­ney petrol sta­tion plead­ing for help af­ter he was se­verely burned in a fac­tory fire and ex­plo­sion.”

Embed­ded with the story was a video of the man as he staggered, ap­par­ently filmed on a mo­bile phone.

So, per­haps the story should have read: “Shocked wit­nesses have tried des­per­ately to help a man, whilst one of those wit­nesses grabbed their mo­bile and filmed him at what was prob­a­bly the worst mo­ment of his life.”

Some­thing that con­tin­ues to trou­ble me is how peo­ple re­act when fel­low hu­man be­ings are in cri­sis.

Sadly, from what I’ve seen over the past decade or so, when tragedy strikes, it re­veals there are two types of peo­ple in the world: those who get in and help, and those who stand around and video it on their mo­bile phones so they can up­load it to Face­book.

In the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the 2017 Lon­don Bridge at­tack, thank­fully there were those who went to the im­me­di­ate aid of in­jured peo­ple ly­ing on that bridge. But there were other peo­ple who thought it was ap­pro­pri­ate to film the in­jured at their worst mo­ment in life.

What is wrong with those peo­ple? To me, it shows a real lack of abil­ity to value hu­man life.

The same hap­pened again in Mel­bourne in Novem­ber, with mo­bile phone-hold­ing by­standers al­most jostling for best po­si­tion as the at­tack un­folded.

I think it’s sad.

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