Too Busy Trying To Be A Star: When A Man Is About To Die, Instead Of Taking A Picture, How About Helping Him?

December 4, 2012  |  

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Where have all the empathetic people gone?

That’s a serious question, because there seems to be a huge decline in caring, giving and helpful individuals these days. Many of them have been replaced with WorldStar stans and self-absorbed people doing everything for shock value and attention.

If you live in NYC, I’m sure you’ve heard in the news today that a 58-year-old man was thrown onto train tracks at a subway station yesterday after getting into an argument with a black man deemed “emotionally disturbed.” The victim, Ki-Suck Han, wound up getting hit by an oncoming train as he tried to get up and get back onto the platform. The man who pushed him fled the scene, and as you can see from the controversial New York Post cover, the man died a gruesome death. He was left in critical condition after being trapped between the train and the platform and died at a nearby hospital.

When I heard this horrific story, not only did I feel terrible for Han and his family, but I had to ask myself a serious question after seeing the New York Post cover: How the hell is it that someone had time to take a picture but not enough time to help save this man’s life? I’m not saying jump down and risk your own life, but offer your hand to pull him up. Any attempt is better than none at all. Allegedly the person said they took photos of the scene to alert the oncoming train that a man was on the tracks (but why did you sell the photo later?), but the time used to do that could have actually been used to get him off the track. And there were more than enough people who could have done so. Video of the altercation shows the man yelling and cursing in the face of Suck, and in the video you can see a wealth of people, healthy, tall and presumably strong men and women, standing in the cut, being nosey. Where all these people were when he got thrown off the platform, I’m not sure.

And this happens a lot more often than it should these days. You might remember the post we did not too long ago about a man who was caught on a subway in New York late at night trying to put his hand up the skirt of the woman who was asleep sitting next to him. Instead of immediately coming for the creep, a man sitting across from the two decided to videotape the touchy-feely fest for a good few minutes before saying anything. When asked by pretty much everybody why he didn’t stop the man immediately, he claimed he wanted to have “video evidence” to show MTA officials. However, it seemed he videotaped the mess to show people online, get clicks, and feel important. And of course, that “video evidence” didn’t help, because the man got away.

When I think about stories like this, I often think of a short story by David Sedaris from his book, Me Talk Pretty One Day called “I Almost Saw This Girl Get Killed.” If you know anything about David Sedaris, a very funny author, his stories are outlandish but meant to make you laugh–and think. The story actually chronicles a day Sedaris went to a fair in France and was bored out of his mind, until he spotted a woman looking like she was about to fall out of a broken ride to her death. Instead of being focused on her well-being, he was thinking about the story he would be able to tell and share, to make himself look better in front of friends, if she did indeed fall:

“The crowd moved closer,” he continues, “and if the other three to four hundred people were anything like me, they watched the young woman and thought of the gruesome story they’d eventually relate to friends over drinks or dinner. In the not-too-distant future, whenever the conversation turned to the subject of fairs or amusement parks, I’d wait until my companions had finished their mediocre anecdotes and then, at just the right moment, almost as an afterthought, I’d say, ‘I once saw a girl fall to her death from one of those rides.’
“I estimated the hush that might follow my opening sentence and felt my future listeners leaning forward, just slightly, in their seats.”
If you were wondering, the woman didn’t fall, and Sedaris was disappointed in the end. And while that story was meant for jokes and giggles, I really feel as though the mentality of many people is like Sedaris’–the “How does this help or hurt me?” mentality. Or better yet, “Wonder how many clicks this can get on YouTube” mindset. In New York of all places, it’s good to look out for self in most cases to keep your good health and life, but I find many people don’t help others or stop dangerous situations because they would rather stand back and pull out their phone and watch. There are way too many people trying to get on WorldStar and who would rather get money for publishing a picture, a particularly gruesome one, then take the time out to actually help the people they’re getting notoriety off of. From the Post printing such a sad photo to get you to pick up the paper to the man videotaping a woman being fondled, everybody really just wants to have the best story to share. Shame.
All in all, after seeing the New York Post cover and the very sad picture of a man seconds away from losing his life, not only was I sad by that, but by the fact that there was NO ONE standing around willing to help him keep his life. We’re too busy worrying about ourselves and what we’ll tell our friends when we get outside that we don’t step in to do what’s right when it’s needed. Seriously guys, we have to do better.

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  • Alexis_Gloria

    it is the age of narcissism…

  • That picture is so haunting!

  • Briana Mccarthy

    This is just SAD. The fact that the NY post used the pic is just as bad as the man as the man that took the picture. What is this world coming to?

  • Ms_Mara

    This is why the New York Post is known as trash. They are no better than the Enquirer to me. We are so desensitized that a story trumps a human life? It’s sickening.

  • Just like the time it was a bus load of people watching a man eat another man’s face off, and they did nothing but moved to the back of the bus. I wondered to myself, why the heck didn’t anyone do anything…If i were on that train, I would have tooken something long and hard and treid thwappin the mess out of him….but to not do anything at all….smh.

  • Meyaka

    This is thoroughly disgusting,My prayers go to the victim’s family and friends.

  • Nessa

    This is not the actual picture. Did you guys really think they’d print the actual pic?

  • chanela

    this is the one thing that pisses me off the most. surprisingly whenever i bring up the topic of my disgust over able- bodied people not helping others out of preventable situations, i get my head chewed off. people would tell me ” you can’t judge them because you weren’t in that situation” or ” i’m not gonna risk my life for somebody i don’t even know! that’s stupid. if you died then it you died for what?”

    this one disgusting piece of filth had actually said that he wished he had never helped this girl from getting raped and that he should have just let her get raped/killed,because then he had to go to court as a witness afterwards.

    how do these people sleep at night?how do they live with themselves knowing that they could have prevented a death, but instead did nothing.

    this is why i am on high alert whenever i am in public by myself because i know that if something happened to me, nobody would help me.

  • Gimmeabreak78

    Wow. This is truly a disgrace. Many newspapers self-censor graphic images to protect the families of the people involved. This was absolutely heartless on the newspaper’s part.

  • IllyPhilly

    This story is so…something we see and here everyday in life.

  • Kaori

    I don’t agree with the actions of the people who were there, but I think they were probably scared that they, too would end up on the tracks.

    • Thank you. I am a New Yorker. I’ve been one for my entire life (22 years). I’ve been taking the NYC MTA subway alone since I was about 14. We all have a fear of falling or being pushed. That is, imo the worst way to die. Maybe I am being self ish or jaded, but if I see someone get pushed, I am going to yell for help and try to find the nearest exit. I am not going to stand on the edge of the platform and try to pull him/her up. I’ll yell for an MTA employee (they’re everywhere in the subway) to get someone to stop the train. I won’t just stand there, I’ll do something but I am not risking my life to pull someone else up.
      Whenever I am riding the trains, I stick to myself, try not to sit near strange looking people and I stand FAR away from the platform edge. Usually I sit or stand near the wall/stairs. People need to be smart.

      • Kaori

        I ride public transportation as well. And though I would hate to have to see someone leave (die) that way, there is just no way I could jump down onto any tracks and risk my own life.

        • Yes, this is exactly my point. I am VERY, and I mean VERY careful when I am on the train. I talk to no one on the subway and make no eye contact. I do this to avoid situations like these. I am not trying to end up on nobody’s train track.

    • I agree. Taking and selling the pic is inconsiderate and disgusting. But to people saying “he should’ve saved him” that train was way too close at that moment for anyone to have saved him.

  • UmmYeahOK

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Every person who could have done something, yet CHOSE to stand there and gawk is complicit in that man’s death. There is no humanity anymore. My heart really goes out to his family and friends. There was a video in the DC area of a man who laid dying, literally dying on the sidewalk blood and all…people stepped over him to get on the metro bus. There is NO way I could stand by and watch as someone was dying or about to die and do NOTHING. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???

  • Disappointed in my City

    The New York Post is actually ridiculous. The title of the story?!? So inconsiderate. Smh I never read that paper. But I agree, there were too many people on that platform, at least one or two could of lent a hand.

  • realadulttalk

    This story disgusted me…I already had no faith in humanity.

    • olivia

      I thought it was just me…I almost wanted to throw up behind this.

      They made no attempt to help this guy.

  • JaneDoe

    ppl disgust me with their lack of humility… Where is the compassion in the world these days. Not bc someone isn’t the same race or ethnicity as you there should still be some compassion (generally speaking)… This man choose the winning picture over this man’s life.. How disgusting.

    • JaneDoe

      I meant humanity

  • Say What?

    Wow…I’m about to move to NYC in a few days…

    • JaneDoe

      Nyc is a very nice place to live.. Minus the weather, aggressive drivers, and some bad tudes.. Things like this happen all over the US

  • ANTMilf

    I was thinking the same thing. I saw the “photographer” on Inside Edition just a few minutes ago and he tried to explain that he was using the flash from his camera to alert the train operator the the guy was on the tracks (which I’m not buying). Still, should have helped him up back on the platform before the train came.