Last week, there was a gang-related shooting in Portland. This occurred in a part of town that has undergone some serious gentrification in the past two decades. When I moved up here 20 years ago, Alberta Street was not a place to venture after dark. Nowadays it’s home to trendy restaurants, gourmet ice cream shops, food cart pods and a popular summer street fair. It has become a mecca for hipsters – not necessarily a bad thing. Well, until this happens.
This couple decided it would be fun to snap a selfie amidst the chaos that followed a shooting in which three people were injured. To call their actions “insensitive” is going easy on the pair. Never mind the people lying on the ground, bleeding from gunshot wounds; the really important thing was getting that perfect look-at-me-I-was-there! shot uploaded to their social media accounts.
Other folks who were lined up for ice cream at Salt & Straw pleaded with police to let them duck beneath the yellow crime scene tape so they could pick up a Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper ice cream cone. It was a warm evening, after all.
What is wrong with society? Have we become so self-absorbed that basic human decency has taken a backseat to some inane desire to flash a smile in front of a public tragedy? And if so…why? To prove we were there? This problem is not exclusive to Portland. The same thing happened earlier this year in New York City following a gas explosion in the East Village that left two dead and injured 25 others.
I am no stranger to taking photos with my smartphone and posting them to Instagram or Facebook. Many an enticing main course has made its way onto my homepage. But there’s a big difference between a really bitchin’ salmon fillet and human tragedy, y’know?
I also think there’s a big difference between being behind the camera vs. in front of it. This is a great historical document of an American tragedy…
Can you imagine if people had taken selfies during the Holocaust?! At least some places are sacred and meant for quiet introspection only. Right?
Wrong, actually. On so many levels.
I think the worst part is, people are more interested in posing than actually helping. Kid drowning behind you? Gotta hashtag that shit!
They say not to lose your faith in humanity, but photos like these make it pretty hard.
Me? I think I’ll stick with food…