Monday, October 27, 2008

The last few weeks... revisiting some issues

Since I didn't have this blog a few weeks ago, I didn't have an outlet to share a story that really got to me a little while ago. I was on my way back to work after going home for lunch when I got a call that a man was pinned under a car at the corner of 14th Street and Van Buren Avenue. Accidents are one part of the job that I hate because you never know what you are going to run into, but it isn't often good. It turns out, the man was in his truck, which stalled out at the stop sign. For some reason, the truck was configured in such a way that he didn't use a key to start it, but "hotwired" it from under the hood. Unfortunately, when he got out and started it again, it lurched forward and pinned him underneath and he ended up dying from his injuries. This is something straight out of the Darwin awards, but to see it in real life isn't funny at all. I felt horrible for this poor man and his family.

This event, while tragic, was not the catalyzing moment that triggered my ultimate sadness. What really got to me was the reaction of the crowd that had gathered around the scene as the emergency crews raced to try and save this man's life. Many were in shock and horrified, but some, for reason's beyond my comprehension, were taking pictures and video with their cell phones. Now I was there taking pictures, I will give you this, but it is part of my job and I can guarantee you that I would be no where near the scene with a camera if I didn't have to be. So I can't quite fathom why people would want pictures and video of a poor man dying under his truck. Am I wrong in all of this?

In truth, I was truly saddened by our society which appears to have become so desensitized that they would stand by and take pictures and video for whatever reason as a man dies. I have had to cover a few things at this job where people have died and I use my camera as a buffer between me and the reality of what is going on because I have to be there and must get through it for work. But don't think that each one doesn't affect me and I don't think about what I saw. I can only hope that those people there, with their cameras and cell phones, were using them as their own shield from reality, but they had a reasonable choice to just walk away so they didn't have to see it. And I hope each person is affected by what they saw there because they should be. If not, and it is just another story to tell and laugh about, then I really do worry.

To end on a positive note however, I had some of my faith in humanity restored that night as I shared my story with friends. They were each very helpful and reassured me that it was good that I was impacted by this event. One friend in particular, helped me more than she can ever know when she told me that she went to the place of the accident and prayed for the man and his family that night. She wasn't there at the scene and only heard about it through me, but she genuinely felt for the man and his family and that meant the world to me because it helped restore some faith in people. I don't follow any particular religion and not much for praying, but her prayers helped at least one person that day and for that I am forever grateful.

And for anyone out there reading, I promise the next post will be much happier.

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