Everyone has a phone, everyone has a camera. Most phone cameras also do video. Most cities have cameras on corners of busy intersections and in public places. Most businesses and large companies have cameras. Everyone has the potential to be a photographer and a journalist.
There are mixed opinions to cameras…and the ability to rewind, replay, and submit to just about anywhere for public scrutiny. You could spend a lot of time just on YouTube watching situations caught on tape. Crimes, fights, happy moments, sad moments, people dying, babies being born. And then you could spend the rest of your day looking at public photo albums. Again people capturing moments…some posed and others spontaneous.
Do you live your life as if you could be filmed or photographed at any moment? Do you teach your children about respect, morals, and character while explaining that everyone is potentially up for being “caught on tape”?
It seems that this is a new spin on the virtue of temperance.
One of my friends listed on his Facebook page this week an article about a man who died in the San Francisco bay, apparent suicide, while at least 75 people watched and fire fighters were “handcuffed by policy” to not do a water rescue due to budget cuts on training and equipment. The suicidal man looked back many times while taking slow steps deeper into the bay, the article explained, and no one did anything as they watched. Some horrified, some not so much. My friend posted this article stating that “there was one less idiot in the world”.
I was horrified at the article and disappointed/angry in my friends thoughts and actions.
What we broadcast on our social web links, phones, emails, etc… is all a form of us being “caught on tape”. The audience is wider and the repercussions are deeper.
Think of the pebble. Thrown into the water. It hits the water, makes a splash, sinks, not to be seen again. But what happens on the surface? The reverberations of the impact cause ripples. Waves in circular form, moving outward and affecting everything left on the surface.
What we do and say to each other is under constant scrutiny.  And then becomes the pebble.
Yesterday a flight was detained and flown back to Washington, DC with fighter jet escort due to a fight between passengers. After take off a man settled into his seat and reclined the headrest. The passenger behind him was immediately angry and struck him. A fight broke out with other passengers and flight attendants becoming involved to try to remedy the situation.
Do you become so angry in public that you do things you normally would not do in your circle of family and friends? Do you get a crowd mentality when you are places? Do you do things out of your character because you feel safe in a crowd, thinking you will not get caught? How about when you are in a situation to be trusted? Or a situation where you are one on one, or small group?
People are caught everyday in compromising situations through being filmed, photographed, or quoted.
So in going back to the man in the San Francisco Bay….why would a friend of this family laugh at suicide and state that one less idiot is in the world. Because of the stigma around suicide, depression, mental illness, etc..?  Because maybe talking to hundreds of friends in 140 characters of less means you can be anything you want to be for the moment…even if it is perceived as heartless?
Maybe because you don’t really know someone until they are caught on tape?