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December 06, 2012
Make a photo or a rescue attempt?
Is is not strange to think of the photographer before we think of him of a moral human being? His obligation to act was no greater than that of any other witnesses who saw what was about to happen but it was no less either.
Should say "as," rather than "of" in first sentence.
Joan asks: Should the photographer be more accountable than others in this situation. Answer: NOT MORE accountable, but JUST AS accountable as any other bystander who witnesses another human being in urgent need of assistance. The picture is just a picture in the end.
The outrage is exacerbated by the sensationalized headlines accompanying the photgraph.
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I think the problem was not only did he do nothing, but he also profited from it...
Let's hope if confronted with a similar situation we have the presence of mind to be of help instead of becoming paralyzed by our human nature.
I am reminded of the Sermon on the Mount: Judge not, lest ye be judged. One person is responsible for Mr. Han's death: Naeem Davis. The photographer has frozen a moment in time. It is not possible to say for certain if he of anyone else had time to help, as there is often a hesitation resulting from shock, surprise, and astonishment. All of us would like to think, had we been there, we would have acted to save Mr. Han. The NY Post, on the other hand, has certainly earned their bad reputation, all the more so for their choice of such a grotesque and prurient caption.
There should be no question. As a human being you try to help. That's all there is.
It's so easy for trolls on the internet to judge other people caught in a situation they themselves have never had and can't understand. Life isn't a movie. Most people have neither the training not the speed and agility of body and mind to react in any helpful way in a situation like this. This is not an argument for not helping, but it is a call for a somewhat more realistic and less judgemental view of the incident. According to news accounts the man appeared to have been drinking and he picked an argument with another man who was already clearly disturbed. At that point everyone on the platform did just what you and I would have done - they moved as far away from those two as they could get and tried to ignore them. So how much time did anyone have to access the situation, reach this man and attempt to help him? Could you pull a drunk man up off the tracks without ending up down there yourself? This photo gives a distorted view of reality. It freezes time. You don't have any sense of the speed of the train or the noise and confusion on the landing. The people who were on that platform have had enough horror to deal with without being judged by a bunch of anonymous cowards sitting safely in front of their keyboards.
One guy was fast enough to snap a bunch of photos, and greedy enough to sell them to the Post. He seemed to understand the situation pretty well. I think it's healthy for these people to be judged, from a societal standpoint. Others have been in similar situations and helped, even at great risk to themselves. We'll really be in trouble when we stop being horrified by the indifference and cowardice that sometimes shows itself among us.
reply to gassydan: It's just so easy to sit at your keyboard and pass judgement. You clearly know nothing and understand nothing. I guess for some people ignorance is it's own reward. Have a blissful holiday as you luxurate it your own courageous wonderfulness.
Substitute "human beings" for "photojournalists" in your headline. There's your answer.
Two reasons he deserves special scorn: 1. He seemed to be close enough to help, and he definitely knew what was happening. 2. He immediately went to the Post, presumably to sell the man's death to the highest bidder.
How the heck would you know whether or not he was close enough to help? Who are you? God?