Moments of Impact
I’m pretty sure we’ve been on this topic before but we’re going to revisit it today. This blog is not for those with weak stomachs. If you’re one of those folks kindly click out now and we’ll see ya on the next post.
Admittedly, I try to stay away from ‘the news’ as much as possible these days. I cruise Yahoo! several times a day, check out The New London Patch several times a day and, once in a great while, I hit “The Day” paper’s website. Oh, yeah, and I get my 10-15 minutes of local morning news right before my 15-30 minutes of GMA Monday-Friday. That’s about it. I did put Flipboard on my phone, it’s kinda cool, but I don’t really use it.
On Monday (pretty sure it was Monday) GMA told me a man was pushed off a subway platform to his death. They even had grainy video of the altercation leading up the poor getting shoved.
While I thought it was ‘a shame’, I wasn’t rocked by it. This isn’t the first time someone was pushed off a NYC subway platform and died either from being hit by the train or because they came in contact with the infamous ‘third rail’. I always wondered why they don’t put up guard rails on those things. Ya know, something like the fancy TV’s they have now-a-days that raises up from the cabinet and then lowers back in when you’re not using it anymore. They should have something like that because the place is full of crackpots.
So I’m doing my best to wake up this morning over a cup of coffee with my hubby and GMA flashes a photo and tells me of the controversy the “New York Post” has stirred up. Nothing new for “The Post”! That’s what they’re good at and they’re not always wrong. This was the photo I saw
Ok, the headline is definitely tacky. Once again, it’s “The New York Post”, basically two steps above “The Star” or “The Inquirer”. It was the photo that grabbed me as they babbled on the TV over ethics. Right or wrong, part of me wished I’d been the one to take the picture. Not because I want to see a guy die, I most definitely do not, but because of the frigid electricity that rushed through me upon first sight. It starts in my elbows of all places, shot up and down both arms, sank in to the bone marrow and then proceeded to invade every single millimeter of my being.
Like it or not, this will go in history with other tragic photographs. No one will ever remember the photographers name but they’ll know the shot. Here it is without the glaring tacky headlines.
Wow. It’s heart and gut wrenching. All I want to do is run over and help that poor man. What really gets me about the picture is how empty it is, how cold, desolate, and alone. So eerily silent, almost as though the train isn’t make a sound at all. Almost as though someone turned off the volume or removed the soundtrack completely. Look at the platform there’s no one there. No one. That’s NYC and there’s…no one? Not that they’d help if they were there you understand, we’ve all heard the horror stories of people in ‘the city’ who’ve screamed their lungs out for help only to have their neighbors close their windows and draw their shades hoping they don’t hear it and that will go away. Maybe even that ‘someone else’ will do ‘something about it’ but they don’t feel they have any need to ‘get involved’.
Now there’s a great ethical debate over whether the photographer should have rushed to help. I don’t really know why that should be given the video. There are people all around this poor man just before he’s shoved off the edge of the platform. Where were they? Why didn’t they help? Why did they scatter like rats leaving a sinking ship and no one’s ‘down on them’ over it?
Here’s the photographer
Who said: “I just started running. I had my camera up — it wasn’t even set to the right settings — and I just kept shooting and flashing, hoping the train driver would see something and be able to stop.
I had no idea what I was shooting. I’m not even sure it was registering with me what was happening. I was just looking at that train coming.The victim was so far away from me, I was already too far away to reach him when I started running.
The train hit the man before I could get to him, and nobody closer tried to pull him out.
What keeps playing over in my mind, what haunts me when I think back on it, is that the man did not scream at all.
I didn’t hear the man cry for help.
And then I was standing there, with this poor man, twisted like a rag doll, and it was so painfully hopeless.” You can read everything he has to say about the incident on The New York Post
I’d like to think that I would make a mad dash and rush in like a rabid bull to help a stranger in such a predicament but, well, no one can be sure of what they will do in any given situation until they’re actually in it. All I know for sure is I’m not even looking at the photo right now and my head is still tingling just thinking about it. It’s one of those photos, a moment frozen in time, that will never lose its impact or its meaning. Something that, like it or not, we were meant to see. Sort of like these;
Each of the photos above has a story to tell, an important story. Stories and lesson we should all learn and take to heart even if they’re not pretty. Instead of debating the ethics of the photographer, perhaps we should all ask ourselves; what would I do? How far would I go to save a stranger’s life? Once you find the answer to that question, whatever it is, maybe then you can gain a better perspective and clearer focus. I’m betting not everyone out there in Blogland would do so much as shout for help let alone rush over there and put their own neck on the line. There’s a good deal of you out there who would just turn your backs and look away.
Problem is now there’s this photo staring back at you like a circus mirror reflection showing you what you could have done. Maybe even should have done. If, Gods forbid, there’s a ‘next time’, maybe it will give you the courage to go the aid of stranger instead of turning away.