I have never taken a “selfie”. I never will. The very idea of mugging for my camera to have a picture of me, whether solo, or with some famous person or landmark, the idea of buying an extension of my arm–a selfie stick–so I can photograph myself with a greater panorama or in the midst of some action…..it’s all too much. As with any stupid trend, especially one that entices with ego satisfaction, more and more stupid people will compete with ever more stupid stunts, until someone dies. Then the dying itself may become a trend, which is a good thing for the gene pool.
In the last six years, according to a formal study done in India, 259 people have died taking selfies. Of those deaths, researchers found the leading cause to be drowning, followed by incidents involving transportation — for example, taking a selfie in front of an oncoming train — and falling from heights. Other causes of selfie-related deaths include animals, firearms and electrocution. India has the highest number of deaths, followed by Russia, the United States and Pakistan. More than 85 percent of the victims were between the ages of 10 and 30. Like I said, good for the gene pool. I personally object to describing them as victims, since they were victimized by their own stupidity.
“What worries me the most is that it is a preventable cause of death,” said head researcher Bansal, “Taking a toll on these many numbers just because you want a perfect selfie because you want a lot of likes, shares on Facebook, Twitter or other social media, I don’t think this is worth compromising a life for such a thing. While the number of deaths reported in the study may seem high, “Bansal said, “there could be many more cases that just haven’t been documented because of issues with reporting.” This guy is absolutely the master of understatement!
In 2018 alone, there have already been several selfie-related deaths. In May, a man in India tried to take a selfie with an injured bear and was mauled to death. Just last month, two people died in the United States in separate cases also involving selfies. On Sept. 5, an 18-year-old hiker from Jerusalem died after he fell more than 800 feet off a cliff at Yosemite National Park (what, living in Israel is not dangerous enough?). The man’s mother said he had been trying to take a selfie at the edge of Nevada Fall, a popular waterfall in the park, when he fell. Roughly two weeks later, a 32-year-old California woman met a similar fate while hiking at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan when she slipped and fell to her death after stopping at the edge of a 200-foot cliff to snap some selfies.
“One possible way to prevent selfie deaths would be ‘no selfie zones’,” Bansal said, “banning them in certain areas such as bodies of water, mountain peaks and at the top of tall buildings.” Really? If people are that stupid, they are really going to be stopped by a sign? What next, no stupidity zones? Efforts to dissuade people from taking dangerous selfies have already been attempted in multiple countries, including India, Russia and Indonesia. Three years ago, Russia launched a “Safe Selfie” campaign, which featured the slogan, “Even a million ‘likes’ on social media are not worth your life and well-being,” the BBC reported. Depends on how Russia defines well-being! An informational graphic with icons of “bad selfie ideas” — highlighting stick figures posing on power poles and while holding guns — was also distributed. In 2016, Mumbai declared 16 “no selfie zones” across the city following a slew of selfie-related deaths, the Guardian reported. Earlier this year, a national park in Indonesia announced it would be working to create a safe spot for photos after a hiker died taking a selfie, according to the Jakarta Post.
I have a more effective idea, inspired by Dirty Harry. The signs, posted at dangerous spots, would read, “go ahead, take a selfie, make my day, signed The Gene Pool.”