How would you react when tragedy strikes?
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. com.au 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.