December 4, 2012

"Photo of Man’s Imminent Demise Covers Front Page of the New York Post, Sparks Outrage."

"Abbasi claims that he was using his camera's flash to warn the train's conductor, possibly suggesting that the photos were incidental. The Post further defends Abbasi, saying he wasn't strong enough to lift Han off the tracks."

Have we lost our soul?

57 comments:

jimbino said...

Hey, the victim had a bottle of vodka on him. That officially makes it an "alcohol-related" incident, same as when a sleeping or walking drunk is run over by a car.

What a country!

chickelit said...

Abbasi claims that he was using his camera's flash to warn the train's conductor, possibly suggesting that the photos were incidental.

I call BS. Subpoena the train driver to see if any such multiple falshes were seen (or they perfectly match the number of photos?). The widow of the victim could probably convince a jury of a negligence on the photographer's part and the newspaper has deep enough pockets to entice the legal talent to help her.

Synova said...

It depends... was the photographer a person, or a journalist?

Brent said...

Have we lost our soul?

I know we have lost sensitivity when CSI shoes and the like are the TV's top rated programs. Dead people and abused and severed body parts in every episode -that's entertainment? Exactly how does such a thing make anyone more sensitive about the pain and suffering of others? And then you've got extreme fighting - is our society being primed for eventual real hunger games.
You know it is.

Palladian said...

"Isn't the NY Post horrible to publish this ghastly photograph?!" writes Gawker, publishing the ghastly photograph.

deborah said...

The New York Post, you say?

Brent said...

Have we lost our soul?

I know we have lost sensitivity when CSI shoes and the like are the TV's top rated programs. Dead people and abused and severed body parts in every episode -that's entertainment? Exactly how does such a thing make anyone more sensitive about the pain and suffering of others? And then you've got extreme fighting - is our society being primed for eventual real hunger games.
You know it is.

rcocean said...

Why are we criticizing the photographer, there's no proof he could've rescued the man in time - and where was "everyone else" on this "crowded platform"?

This photo should never have been published by the NY Post. Who is the editor? He is the one to blame.

edutcher said...

Consider this paragraph, "One of the haunting photos Abbasi took graces the front page of the Post this morning, incurring the ire of readers who want to know why no help was extended to the injured Han in lieu of capturing the moment for posterity."

OK, how many "news" events are just like this?

The Crusading JournoList is too busy watching, photographing, talking to do anything - even call the cops.

There was a situation in the Rodney King riots where the TV traffic chopper showed a man being attacked by a mob and it took a man watching at home to not only call the cops, but actually jump in his car and try to help.

The is the Mike Wallace "You're a journoList, you haven't got a country, only a story" mentality.

Surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Surfed said...

I am personally shamed that I looked at the cover of the Post. The entire time waiting for it to load was spent thinking to look and click away to somewhere else. I didn't. And that says more about me than it does either the photog or the photo editor.

Sam Hall said...

"A freelance photographer working for the New York Post..."

OF course, he only thought of what a great picture he was going to get. Journalists have no feelings.

Chip S. said...

It's probably time to re-examine your life when Howard Stern's producer says you're "trash".

Lem said...

The photographer behaved like a 1 percenter.

Its Romney's fault.

McTriumph said...

It's New York City, the anal pore of the USA. Who gives a shit?

Mark said...

Who will be surprised if the photographer is found to be associated with the pusher?

Mark said...

FWIW, I've been told that there's an area under the platform where if lay still and straight and don't weigh 300 pounds you will be safe.

Wouldn't like to have to try it, but it's a potential out.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Brent,

Why are you thinking in terms of TV? Mystery novels involving (inter alia) dead people have been around for 150 years or so. It is not as though this is new.

And Exactly how does such a thing make anyone more sensitive about the pain and suffering of others? Well, you know, it can. Well-written crime fiction does; well-written televised crime drama certainly can. I could point you to books in which the suffering brought about by misunderstandings and good intentions and pure goodwill are all laid bare.

It's possible to do your very best by everyone and still cause harm. If you don't want to be reminded of this, it's probably best to ditch the Internet. And the TV. And any books that might be lying about.

ricpic said...

For a very long time the most famous photograph in the world bar none was by Robert Capa, a loyalist soldier in the Spanish Civil War at the exact moment he is shot and starts falling backward to his death. I've never understood why there isn't the same shame/self-loathing experienced by the vicarious viewers of that photograph as there is and should be as regards the Post picture. But there isn't. It's "art" ya see.

Chip S. said...

Abbasi claims that he was using his camera's flash to warn the train's conductor

Why would anyone think that a subway train operator would bring a train to a screeching halt b/c some guy on a platform was taking flash pics?

Bob_R said...

The NYT would have photoshopped the pic. Photojournalists have a genetic defect that causes them to run toward horror and click the shutter (archaic term.) As long sa their pictures are accurate we should be thankful. There is no hope that they are "true."

Surfed said...

@ricpic - The Spanish Civil War death pic by Robert Capa is thought to be a fake.
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1912110,00.html

Phil 3:14 said...

Have we lost our soul?

Yes, but we can get an inexpensive replacement on eBay

Ann Althouse said...

I think the honest problem was that anyone attempting to pull the man out would have gotten dragged down, most likely. No one wanted to risk that. 2 would have died. But there was enough time that everyone stood there looking, knowing they were not helping. Terrible luck.

virgil xenophon said...

Phil 3:14 @8:37/

Just steer clear of "Rubber Soul"(s)--unless it's the original album cover and mint vinyl, lol

Lem said...

Shouldn't this guy be ostracised?...

or would that be racist?

Dubby Hess said...

Sad. It reminds me of an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street where Vincent D'Onofrio is trapped between the train and the platform, twisted like a pretzel, knowing that once the first responders free him he'll die.

And speaking of new souls; don't use ebay, but Amazon through the Althouse portal.

rcocean said...

People are always wise after the fact. Most people are so shocked and surprised at unforseen violence or accidents they either freeze or they react blindly Laying down on the tracks is counter-intuitive. The normal reaction would be to try to climb to safety.

As for the onlookers, most people were probably too surprised to react and/or assumed someone else would do something.

Synova said...

To argue "devil's advocate" for the photographer...

Probably he wouldn't have been able to help and certainly the train couldn't stop. And a photographer is likely to have his camera ready in an instant where other people would have to dig around for their phone and turn the camera on and stuff.

Only someone who was there would know if there was time to help, or if he was the only one who failed to help.

But the industry has a reputation for standing by tragedy and getting the story. Get the picture of other people trying to find living among the rubble of a building... instead of moving debris... that sort of thing. I think it's well earned. It just may not apply to this individual in this instance.

Chip S. said...

Synova, what you say is perfectly reasonable. What the photographer has said is ridiculous.

I think that's a big reason why he's getting slammed.

Richard said...

The pic is nothing like what people have witnessed throughout the centuries of human civilization. Just imagine, for instance, walking around London in 1000 A.D. Much ado about nothing.

J Scott said...

One thing that bothers me is that the flashing would have probably distracted the operator from looking at the railway, to the looking at the flasher.

The other thing that bothers me is that the man on the track is in sharp focus, the train not so much. Camera technology must be a whole lot better then my four year old point and shoot.

I'm curious what the operator has to say, in any event I doubt he could have stopped in time.

Palladian said...

The train definitely could not have stopped in time. The trains enter stations at or near full speed and take the entire platform length to slow and stop.

The lesson from this is never stand near the edge of the platform and always be aware of what is happening around you.

chickelit said...

How come when I was on the platform of the DC Metro I I could tell when a train was approaching well before I could see it.

What was the immediate timeline of events here? Did the photographer get a shot of the perp fleeing?

Pogo said...

In which NYC goes from ignoring the cries of Kitty Genovese to pushing her off a subway platform and photographing it.

No doubt there's porn about it, a la 1996's Crash.

Martha said...

If you think that photo was insensitive, imagine the photos after the train hit the man.

Let us pray the photographer shuttered his lens out of respect for the dying man.

Martha said...

If you think that photo was insensitive, imagine the photos after the train hit the man.

Let us pray the photographer shuttered his lens out of respect for the dying man.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Have we lost our soul?

Soul isn't a 'we/our' concept. It's a singular individual thing.

EDH said...

Linked this video before...

This is how it's done.

The secret, evidently, is waiving your baseball cap.

Lesson learned: Smoking will kill ya.

chickelit said...

Ruth Anne Adams reminds

Soul isn't a 'we/our' concept. It's a singular individual thing.

True, except to a Sullivanist, writing about conservative souls.

EDH said...

An even better angle that shows how close the train came.

Lem said...

Had the guy been black I believe the photographer would have tried to help.

Nonapod said...

I'd like to believe I'd have tried to save him rather than freezing in disbelief.

leslyn said...

Ann Althouse said... "I think the honest problem was that anyone attempting to pull the man out would have gotten dragged down, most likely. No one wanted to risk that. 2 would have died. But there was enough time that everyone stood there looking, knowing they were not helping. Terrible luck."

The platform had what passes for humans (plural) on it, not one limp dick. Three or four people could have pulled this guy up, there doesn't have to be one superman. But they probably didn't want to crease their trousers. I used to see that attitude all the time.

Have no reason to believe it's changed. Just come here and take a random sample of comments. Terrible luck. It's way too late for you to be asking about souls, Althouse.

Fortunately a "soul" is individual and there really are people out there who still have them,

veni vidi vici said...

At the time of this snap, it's way past too late for this poor slob, as anyone who's ever stood on a subway platform knows (and as Palladian already mentioned upthread). If he got this, he almost undoubtedly captured impact or immediately post-impact (airborne projectile humanity).


Notwithstanding the condemnation some will heap upon me for saying so, fair minds will acknowledge that the photographer deserves credit for providing for our hypervisual age what may become the definitive visual expression of the old adage, "Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel you see is an oncoming train."

Valentine Smith said...

Why didn't the guy get down in the center gutter or hop over the 3rd rail? He was on his feet! He just stood there and got his head stuck between the platform and the car.

Having ridden the subways for over 50 years I gotta say i've frequently thought about what I'd do if this happened to me. And what this guy did never occurred to me.

pm317 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

"FWIW, I've been told that there's an area under the platform where if lay still and straight and don't weigh 300 pounds you will be safe."

There are a couple of spaces where, if one thinks and acts quickly enough and is small enough, one can squeeze oneself in and possibly avoid being hit by the train.

Under the platform is one such area, but better is the space between the tracks, directly below where the center of the train's body will pass.

Rusty said...

leslyn said...
Ann Althouse said... "I think the honest problem was that anyone attempting to pull the man out would have gotten dragged down, most likely. No one wanted to risk that. 2 would have died. But there was enough time that everyone stood there looking, knowing they were not helping. Terrible luck."

The platform had what passes for humans (plural) on it, not one limp dick. Three or four people could have pulled this guy up, there doesn't have to be one superman. But they probably didn't want to crease their trousers. I used to see that attitude all the time.

Have no reason to believe it's changed. Just come here and take a random sample of comments. Terrible luck. It's way too late for you to be asking about souls, Althouse.

Fortunately a "soul" is individual and there really are people out there who still have them,


It would depend on timing. If he fell as the train was approaching there may have only been a few seconds. On the other hand if he fell before the train even got to the platform then there was time for someone to help him. Squat. Grab an arm. Stand up and fall back.
Poor bastard.

Michael said...

What Palladian wrote is true. Also useful to steer very clear of derelicts, drunks, beggars, shouters, mumblers, stumblers and mutterers on railway platforms. If they dont push you on to the tracks they will let you feel their box cutters cool edge.

smarty said...

Let's see, city people tend to be Obama voters, yet we constantly find them standing by when seconds count.

Seems that "Compassionate Liberalism" involves a bunch of people saying "not my job, man".

smarty said...

Also, when do we hear about heinous "Black on everyone else" hate crimes?

Will everyone know his name, like we all know about the "white hispanic" Zimmerman, the man who's broken nose matches the bloody knuckles of the man he shot?

Peter said...

"FWIW, I've been told that there's an area under the platform where if lay still and straight and don't weigh 300 pounds you will be safe."

"Why didn't the guy get down in the center gutter or hop over the 3rd rail?"


There are a number of escape scenarios, should you ever find yourself on the tracks as a train approaches.

1. If there's an ajoining track, walk (carefully!) over the 3rd rail to the other side.

2. If there isn't, there may be man-sized indents in the wall every twenty feet or so. I don't know if these are everywhere, but I recall seeing them on what used to be known as the IND division.

3. The desparation move- lie down between the tracks. It's true that the concrete ties are under each rail but do not go completely across, so there is an area in the middle where you might survive lying down. But if anything at all is hanging under that train, you lose.

As with a car accident, I'd guess that everything just happened so fast that the victim no time to think of any escape plan after committing to climbing back onto the platform.

And there's not enough here to know whether there was a "diffused responsibility" psychological effect here, with everyone thinking that surely someone else would help him up before the train killed him. But in horrific situations many people will just freeze, leaving them unable to do much of anything quickly.

Of course, the N.Y. Post's editors had plenty of time to think about whether or not to publish the photo. He/She/They have some 'splainin' to do.

MisterBuddwing said...

This atrocity reminds me of something I've occasionally wondered about - why do subways seem to be designed in a way to make escaping from the tracks as difficult as possible? Is it to discourage people from jumping onto the tracks for whatever reason?

Jason said...

The autistic reporter has the story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I9ReOm3Wwec

TosaGuy said...

Blue state people doing blue state things.

mark said...

@Ann "Have we lost our soul?"

If our soul is an understanding of being a "real man". Then, yes.

The guy froze in fear and did the wrong thing. The people stood by in fear, or passive interest, and did nothing. It takes forethought in dealing with fear to man up and then step up in a scary situation.

Easy example was teaching self defense classes to abused women. Before the classes they got walked on. After, they were never bothered. Why? Because they thought about situations before they happened, and acted accordingly. They were aggressive (in a positive way) when they needed to be.

Our soul used to be about action. Doing. Being willing to be scared and still do something for others. Real men like my grandpa.

Standing and watching him die is the end result of a passive culture.