Last week, there was a picture on the cover of the New York Post
that showed a man who was about to be hit by a subway train. Actual
picture, actual event. There are many things about this that are
For one, how can you take a picture of
a man who's ABOUT to die? A person who is in danger and could be helped
– and your first thought is not to take a step toward to help this man,
but to focus your camera so you can get his expression?
"Help! Someone help me off the tracks!"
this is just like the TV! But there are no cameras here. Wait! Except
this one around my neck! Don't worry, NBC, I'll be your eyes and ears on
"Help! Help me!"
"I am helping, sir! I
am taking your picture so that everyone gets to see this horrible event.
You'll be in the paper! Say cheese! …Guttural screaming, huh? That's a
weird way to say 'cheese'."
Why would someone
take a picture of this, you ask? The man who took the picture said he
started taking pictures so that the flash on his camera would alert the
driver. I think that needs to be written again to really understand its
outlandishness. He took the picture... so that the flash... would alert
the driver. Are we serious? Can this be said at all? What other
ludicrous ways does this man try to alert people?
"Hey, man! I
tried to warn you about that bike that was about to hit you. You didn't
see me? I was across the street and I made an origami swan and threw it
at you. Man, first you run the light and then you don't see the swan?
You're not good at reading signals, huh?"
He took pictures so
the flash would alert the driver?! There's no end to what a lie that is
to protect himself against people who call him a monster. That reasoning
is as insane as when a kid tries to make up a story of how a chair was
"Well, you see, we were standing on the chair to do our homework."
"Really? In the kitchen? Beside the cookies?"
We weren't going to eat them; the cookies just help us focus. So we
were standing on the chair, and I said, "I love my mom so much! She's so
great!" and I guess the weight of those words, combined with our own
weight, broke the chair."
The picture taker was
on The Today Show the following day, and was asked why he didn't help
the man, and if he felt bad about taking the pictures. His answers were
pretty robotic, and he didn't seem as if he felt any emotions, let alone
guilt or sadness.
"If I gave you a new car right now, would you be happy about it?"
don't know. It would depend on whether or not my batteries are fully
charged. If you are going to give me a new car, can you check my bars? I
want to act accordingly."
He was asked as well if he sold the pictures or made money off of them.
"Yes. I was offered money for them. I wouldn't call it 'selling' the pictures, I would call it 'licensing'."
Licensing! This man has a picture of someone about to die, and he's 'licensing' the pictures?
"Ya know, I REALLY want a picture of a dead guy, but I just don't think I can afford it right now."
afford it?! Well, I've got a deal for you. How does one hundred dollars
down and forty bucks a month for the next five years?"
"Really? Okay, that soun... Wait, what does forty bucks a month for the next five years equal out to?"
"It equals out to you leaving right now with a picture of a dead guy."
"Wow! Where do I sign!"
only was it bad enough that someone has a picture of this at all, but
the New York Post printed it. On the front page! Printed it on the front
page of the paper? With the headline "Doomed"? Are you "Faces of
Death"? Are you hard up for sales? If you're printing this, why not
print other pictures of people about to die? Why not head right to the
morgue, and instead of just having a story about a prostitute who was
murdered, get a picture of her? Why not? Do you have to see it as it's
happening before the picture can be used?
"Guys! I have a
great picture for your paper! You heard about the old woman who was
stabbed last night for her wallet, right? Well, take a look at this."
"Whoa! That's a straight-on shot of her face. Wait, is that the knife in her stomach?"
I stabbed her with my left hand, took the picture with my right! I can
steady a camera better with my right hand. My left hand is kinda shaky.
This woman found that out the hard way."
"...You murdered this woman?"
"Sure did. Seventy-eight bucks on her."
sir, I'm am thoroughly disgusted... that you are going to go to jail
for this! I mean, look at the lighting! Look at how close you are! It's
just a shame. You'll probably get fifteen years, but when you get out,
you'll have a job here with benefits. Congratulations."
one person there could help this guy? Not one? I know there isn't a
good Samaritan law, but man, can nothing be done to these people? At
least be banned from the subway for a bit. Something.
"Can I buy a monthly pass?"
"Sure... wait. Weren't you on the platform the other day when a man fell onto the tracks and you didn't do anything about it?"
Man, it was nuts. I got some pictures. You want to see? I got right up
in his face in one of them. You can almost see him mouth the words, "Why
the fuck are you taking pictures and not giving me a hand at all?"
"You are not allowed on the train, sir. And you make me sick."
the people on the tracks actually wouldn't have been able to help him. I
wasn't there. But could they have at least attempted to help him? At
least fake an attempt to try to help him? People feign interest all the
time. Just about any time someone is walking behind you when you walk
through a doorway, and they're just a little bit too far behind for you
to hold it open for them, you'll make an attempt at pretending to reach
back to hold it, but you just don't quite make it.
man. My hand didn't reach it in time. I tried. Sorry about that cake
that was smashed into your face. If only you were two steps faster."
fake attempts all the time! If an old woman is about to lift a heavy
box, and you see someone close to her who is going to help her, you'll
probably still make the attempt, even though you will not be called
"Oh, you got it? Okay."
"No, actually. I was going to help her with her coat. Could you give us a hand?"
what? I am now five steps away from you. You probably just want to
thank me again for stepping forward, but here's a secret, I had no
intention of helping, regardless. Thanks, though."
there couldn't even ATTEMPT to help him? Not even take a stride forward?
Not even yell out? Nothing? Just stand there and wait for it to happen?
that's why there are action movies. Movies that show people doing
heroic things that no one would ever attempt in real life. Maybe if
action movies were based on reality, they wouldn't even happen.
"John McClane! Your wife's Christmas party has been taken over by terrorists! You are the only one who can help!"
whoa, whoa. Help? Not on your life. First of all, I'm off duty. Second,
terrorists? Don't think so. And it's 'ex' wife. Maybe if she hadn't
left me, I'd think differently. But right now? I'm way too upset to
forgive her for leaving, and I will let these terrorists capture her out
of spite. Stop terrorists without any shoes? Yippe-kay-nay!"
amazing that not one person stepped forward to help this man. I think
people don't want to help because most people don't want to step out of
line. No one wants to be embarrassed. About ninety-five percent of
people try their hardest to go all day without bumping into people,
being noticed by strangers, or doing something that could be deemed
embarrassing or ridiculous. Most people are horrified that they could be
called upon to do something.
"Man, I can't go help that guy.
What if I make it into the paper? I'm not wearing anything cool enough
to be in the paper – just a stupid black jacket. Or worse! What if I
trip on the way over to help him and everyone here sees me fall on my
face! I could never take the subway again! How could I continue to live
if forty people saw me trip and f... Oh! The train hit him! Whoa. Well,
at least I can slink back into obscurity. Thank you, Jesus."
crazy that a man is PUSHED onto the tracks and no one moves at all. If
someone dropped his or her phone? Everyone would care.
"Man, you dropped your phone! That's terrible. Here, I'll hold your stuff while you jump down and grab it."
"A man was just pushed onto the tracks!"
God! Tell him to get up and get pushed again! I have to get my phone so
I can take a picture of him! He hasn't died yet, has he? I want a