There’s no other way to say this, or cushion it, or formulate it, because it sounds absurd, so we’re just going to throw it out there. Here goes: in a new death toll released a few days ago, the number of people who have died chasing likes and validation through self-involved selfie ventures has risen to 12.
The most recent figures come after a 66-year-old Japanese tourist died after taking a tumble down a flight of stairs at the Taj Mahal while attempting to snap a selfie. There was no word on whether his picture was uploaded posthumously. As the Mashable article points out, for perspective, this figure of 12 selfie-related deaths is higher than the number of fatalities from shark-related run-ins, which stands at eight.
Like the Japanese tourist, the leading cause of death-by-selfie comes in the form of falling. Helpfully, there is an entire Wikipedia page devoted to selfie-related injuries and deaths. Some choice highlights from the “Get Likes or Die Tryin’” page:
- In January, a 21-year-old woman plummeted to her death in Johannesburg while her climbing partner was sensibly setting up a tripod to take another picture. To be fair, the internet waits for no one, especially not for someone setting up a tripod.
- Two men perished messily in the Ural Mountains as they pulled a pin from a grenade as the camera snapped, the selfie the sole evidence of what occurred.
- A Romanian woman died after attempting the “Ultimate Selfie” which consisted of her and a friend riding on top of a train. Her leg came into contact with a hanging livewire that sent 27,000 electric volts through her system.
As a result of the dangerous activity, many parks and attractions have taken precautions against selfies, from either banning selfie sticks outright, to even going so far as to shut down operations because of reckless selfies. Waterton Canyon in Denver, Colorado closed due to fears that people were taking daring selfies with the bears in the park.
It’s also reached the point where governments are now issuing PSAs warning about the dangers of selfies. Out in Russia, the interior ministry launched a campaign that outlined the hazards of thoughtless selfie taking along with a brochure with a forbidding statement that read, “A cool selfie could cost you your life.”
The tragic thing is that selfie deaths are always at least half cool. To wit, imagine two people talking about how someone died.
“He died riding on top of a train,”
“Wow. Like ‘Mission Impossible’?”
“Sort of. He was trying to take a selfie.”
The Russian interior ministry is probably right, it’s just not worth it.