We’ve had an unusually high number of shark attacks so far this year, but even so, Condé Nast Traveler has reported that even more people have died in 2015 due to selfies.
That’s right. It turns out that a bad mix of vanity and not paying attention to one’s surroundings is far more deadly to human beings than the killing machine of Jaws lore. Most recently, a 66-year-old Japanese man visiting the Taj Mahal Royal Gate tripped and tumbled down some stairs while attempting to take a selfie. His head injuries lead to unconsciousness and death. One of his friends wound up fracturing a leg in the fall as well.
What makes this story so sad and bewildering is that it isn’t an isolated case of injury-by-selfie. Earlier this year, a 21-year-old woman was posing with a gun for a selfie when she accidentally shot herself in the head. Fortunately, this Moscow woman lived, but a Spanish man who tried to get a picture of himself during a bull running wasn’t so lucky. In Russia, injury due to selfies is becoming such a serious problem that the government has started a public service campaign cautioning young people against taking selfies near trains, on rooftops, or in the presence of dangerous animals. People are needing to be reminded to stay aware.
So yes, we’ve had 8 shark deaths so far this year, but we’ve had 12 selfie deaths. 12 tragic, completely avoidable deaths, and far more instances of major and minor injury. It’s becoming enough of a safety concern that major tourist locations including Disney theme parks and Comic-Con have started banning selfie sticks.
What’s the moral of this story? Try to use your front-mounted camera responsibly, and don’t get so distracted by your own mug that you wind up forgetting everything around you. It could save your life.