I was hoping to write a funny post today about elves on shelves, but I’m really consumed in thought today about a pretty serious topic – the picture of the man getting hit by the train in New York City. Here is the summary of the story:
Two men were fighting on a subway platform in NYC. One man pushed the other man on the tracks. The man on the tracks was hit and killed by a subway train. Another man on the platform began snapping pictures of the incident. The pictures were published in the NY Post. People have gone crazy reacting to why the photographer didn’t help the man on the tracks instead of snapping pictures. The photographer said he was only snapping pictures to get the attention of the oncoming subway conductor with the use of his flash. True? We will never really know.
The outcry is over where was this photographer’s moral compass? Why didn’t he reach out and physically help this man before he died by the oncoming train? Where was the paper’s moral compass? Why did the paper publish the pictures?
Let’s not forget that the photographer was standing on a platform with other people. Where were they? Maybe he thought in the split second when life or death decisions had to be made that taking a picture of a tragedy would forever mark it in our minds for discussion like these about right and wrong. Maybe he thought that others would jump to save the man. Is it any different from the people who took pictures of the victims of 9/11 instead of running up the steps to try to save a life?
I guess we should ask the same question when the 911 tapes of the Belcher murder were just released. We know all the details of the murder-suicide, because of the excellent reporting by all of the news organizations in Kansas City. Today, however, the heart wrenching call that his mother made to 911 after Perkins was repeatedly shot was played on all of the news stations over and over throughout the day. What purpose did that serve? Did it add to any details of the story that has already been reported? It didn’t provide us with any new facts about that horrible incident. So why play it? Why force us to continue to relieve that tragedy? Isn’t that just scratching our curiosity itch?
Since we are all about judging other people’s decisions in the face of moral dilemma’s here’s one I faced. I was in a village in Africa once where most of the people were very sick. There were mothers with infants who were ill. The infants were lying on the ground crying and the mothers were not picking them up. I inquired why the mothers were not trying sooth the infants and the response was, “it is likely that the infants will die anyway so there is no need to try to sooth the infants.” As much as my heart ached to pick up and cradle just one of the babies to try to ease their crying, I did nothing. Go ahead…judge me and my moral compass. What would you have done?
These are hard questions to answer. We can never really know what we would do unless we are in that position. The good thing for me is we all seem to have an opinion. I would feel depressed about mankind if no one had an opinion and we weren’t debating this issue. That to me would mean our moral compass was totally off and all hope would be lost.
Whew…tomorrow Elf on a Shelf. Let’s lighten things up a bit!