This morning on my way to San Francisco, I drove past a traffic accident where a car was on fire releasing a huge puff of black smoke into the air. As I approached the burning car, I took out my iphone and tried to take the best picture of the scene that I could. I wanted to be like one of those people on twitter that post live images and videos of events as they happen. I felt as if I was doing the world a service by photographing this event and broadcasting it to everyone.
At the moment, it seemed exciting and I was annoyed I was not able to get the best shot that I could have considering how close I was to the accident. But when I calmed down and thought about what I did, I realized that I am an idiot.
First, because I was so focused on trying to take a good picture, I totally neglected my driving and avoiding the hazard on the road. I was so focused, the whole event seems very hazy on my mind right now. But I do remember driving past some debris, as well as what looked like an oil slick across the road. Now that I think about it, I was so caught up in trying to take a picture, I didn’t realize I was putting myself in danger by driving across a gas spill, while there was a car burning next to it. What if the gas caught fire and spread into my car? What was I thinking?!?!
Secondly, as soon as I took the picture, I posted it to my facebook without even looking at it much. Thinking back on that action, I realize I should have been more sensitive the what was happening. What if I caught something horrible unfolding? What if I had taken a picture of someone burning inside the car, or what if I caught an image of a dead body? It seems extremely insensitive and stupid of me to post such an image to my facebook. What if my picture went viral and that’s how someone found out their loved ones was in danger? Luckily I did not catch anything like that, but it was still a stupid move on my part.
Third and lastly, instead of inspecting the scene and looking for how I could help, I drove by and spectated on the event without lending a hand. It’s a classic case of the bystander effect. Without much care for the accident in front of me, I rubber necked and drove on.
I am embarrassed by what I did, and I deleted the facebook photo as soon as I came to my senses. But the incident made me realize that I need to remove myself from technology. Somewhere along the line, I have forgotten how to live like a normal human being.