Cellphones Don’t Always Save Lives


When Sensationalism is More Important Than Saving Someone’s Life

Marc-André Lavigne
Opinions Editor

A couple of weeks ago, a heartbreaking video surfaced online of a woman allegedly suffering from a drug overdose in an alley next to a grocery store. Next to her, trying to help her and wake her up by tugging at her arm, was her desperate two-year-old daughter. For a lengthy amount of time, nothing happened until a man came to help while still keeping his distance.

My initial reaction to this video was one of utter disgust. I did not want to believe that a man or woman simply stood there and felt the need to film the scene to post it on the Internet rather than providing first aid or even calling an ambulance.

My next reaction was one of hopelessness, as I realized that people have become so enthralled by their cellphones that they cannot refrain from using it in situations where its use is not a priority. I can understand that these last few weeks have been marked with video footage of police shootings or police brutality, and people feel the need to document these types of events as proof. However, the video in question is clearly a very different type of situation where this is not the case. The person behind the cellphone filming the video has already been highly criticized by a great number of people outraged by the situation.

An investigation is currently being conducted about the event, and the mother will most likely face charges of child endangerment. As for her daughter, she has been taken into custody by Child Protective Services. In a way, things ended up better then expected with the daughter able to get proper care and her mother the help she needs to fight her drug addiction. It is still not an ideal situation but things may be better for this family in the long run.

Regarding the individual who filmed the video, the person could have claimed that his or her inaction is due to the Bystander Effect. However, in my opinion, the fact that the individual decided to shoot a video of the scene eliminates their right to use the Bystander Effect as an excuse. I was very surprised upon first seeing people filming instead of helping in such a desperate situation.

It should also be noted that a number of people were around, as you can hear them in the background. These people are as bad as the person filming the scene, and some serious reflection should be undertaken in order to tackle problems of this sort. Maybe an awareness campaign would help spread the message that people have to fight the Bystander Effect and prioritize giving life-saving care instead of filming the events.

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