This is Us

Reaching out with both hands


The video is hard to watch. A woman lays passed out in the aisle  of a grocery store in Massachusetts while her toddler cries and tries to revive her. The fact (learned later) that the mom had overdosed on drugs makes the scene especially sad, but what makes it even more tragic is hearing the voices of the “spectators,” including the person video taping  the event.

No one reaches out to comfort the distraught child who is seen pulling at her mother’s clothes and trying to lift her head. No one tries to soothe the little girl who is obviously frantic and frightened.. and it goes without saying, other than calling 911, no one offers to assist the mother.

Dear God, at what point did filming a crisis become more important than responding to it?

I actually believe there are two things going on here:

One is the desire to be famous; to be the person who captures and uploads an important moment receiving credit and comments, attention and accolades.

The other, more concerning aspect, is that the act of filming ostensibly relieves us of our “duty” to react to what we see.  We are like Nature photographers out on the African Plain, dispassionately documenting an orphaned zebra as it starves to death.  Intervention is not our job. We want to be part of the action, but not involved in it.

As with any technology, there are good and bad aspects, but I fear the raised cell phone has become a symbol of both our detachment and narcissism.


Bystander takes selfies after police biker crashes during Olympic Torch relay in Brazil


Ironically, it may take a video like the one at the grocery store to help us recognize how our cell phones have impacted the way we interact with others. Maybe it will cause us to tuck them into our pockets when a crisis arises and to reach out to those who need us…

with both hands.









17 comments on “Reaching out with both hands

  1. “I fear the raised cell phone has become a symbol of both our detachment and narcissism.” With that single sentence, you’ve perfectly encapsulated my observations and my concerns, Cindy. It’s horrible that social media — something that should in theory boost our sense of shared humanity and draw us together — is turning us into a bunch of observers in which saying “I was there” matters more than the moment itself. My only hope is that the young woman will see herself in the video and realize the cost of her addiction, both to herself and to her child. Maybe the arresting images will shock her enough to help her turn her life around.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Who knows if its heroin or what..but I keep hearing about what a terrible epidemic it is..that POOR BABY..can you imagine what her life has been like..and will be like? Regarding cell phones, you bring up such a great irony..that the very instrument designed to open up communication and sharing has become an actual barrier to “live (as it’s happening) life” weird! This video though is beyond you hear people talking and filming this baby as if she’s a little animal at the zoo or something. awful stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This has disturbed me too many times to count and it really is sad that so many and not one person comforted that child. I was so amazed at the video out of Charlotte where a woman stepped in to help the photographer that they were trying to put in the fire and that another woman joined in to help cops carry him to safety…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t see that Charlotte video.. nice to think there was some good happening..sheesh. My neighbors here are so shocked that this has happened. It’s such a great city and across the board, the people are so kind. I was in church the evening it all started meeting new people..all races, all cultures..everyone having such a good time and we walk out to chaos unfolding. SAD. (What’s the verdict on your trip? AT what point do you have to decide? I kind of lost track of the weather..)


  3. Heart breaking. When did it become more acceptable to film someone’s suffering than to help end it?! I never understand those who seem to think capturing a moment on film is the same as experiencing it. The whole thing makes me very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s really is. I noticed it too the other night watching those horrible riots on TV..I told my husband if they shut down all the cell towers, people would probably disperse because they would no longer be able to facebook and instagram themselves there. But this video of the mom and the toddler..this one took the cake. I just couldn’t believe it. 😖

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This makes me sick. Technology, which can and has been used for so much good is also the bane of our society. A week ago a 13 year old girl hung herself. My mind struggled to process this. I cried to my husband, “She was a baby, thirteen! She should be out rollerskating and riding bikes with her friends.” My husband replied,”Thirteen year old girls aren’t doing that anymore. They’re having sex and posting on social media.”
    I would bet Facebook had something to do with it. Rumor had it she was being bullied. I love my smart phone but I am putting it down more and more. Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel the same. When I was watching video of the protests in Charlotte (aka riots) it’s like people were documenting their own reality shows..”Here I am screaming in a cop’s I am tossing a rock..” It is the strangest form of self absorption I have ever seen..and yet ironically, so many people’s sense of self-worth seems so fragile..I just don’t get it..I’m just grateful for my’s becoming more and more of a refuge for me in this crazy world.


  5. We’re so busy documenting our lives that we forget to live them.

    There was actually a study done somewhere that showed this – if you document things on your phone, you “experience” them less mentally.

    I’ve been trying to take fewer pictures and capture more memories….I have some work to do though.


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