Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 9, 2015

Self(ie) sacrifices

Are We There Yet

Jay Edwards

Let’s be careful out there.” – Sergeant Phil Esterhaus, “Hill Street Blues”

I’m heading to the beach soon and was relieved to read I’m more likely to die from taking a selfie than I am from being eaten by a shark. So far in 2015, there have been 12 people, worldwide, that perished while snapping themselves, versus only eight who lost a shark battle.

The selfie fatalities began last January when a 21-year-old South African woman died after falling from Northcliff Hill, Johannesburg as a male companion was setting up a tripod for their selfie. Reports vary as to the identity of the companion.

Three Indian students aged 20 to 22 died trying to take a “daredevil selfie” close to an oncoming train. I’m beginning to wonder about the presence of alcohol in some of these.

Two young men died in the Ural Mountains as they pulled the pin from a hand grenade to take a selfie, which remained as evidence of the circumstances of their deaths. This one pretty well ends the alcohol debate.

In May, an 18-year-old Romanian teenager died when she attempted to take the “ultimate selfie,” posing with a friend on top of a train in the north-eastern Romanian city of Ia?i, and her leg touched a live wire from above, sending an electrical surge of up to 27,000 volts through her body. The 17-year-old friend who accompanied her was hospitalized.

A teenager climbed on a railway bridge in the Ryazan region in Russia to take a selfie and died when he came in contact with live wires. I guess this is a fairly common event in Eastern Europe.

A 21-year-old Russian woman asked a security guard at her office to give her a nine millimeter rubber bullet pistol for taking a selfie and accidentally shot herself in the head, sustaining heavy injuries.

A 21-year-old man from Yogyakarta, Indonesia fell into the crater of Mount Merapi and died while attempting to take a selfie. Merapi is active and has been attributed to many casualties the past few decades, but this is the only one reported where someone actually fell in.

A Singaporean tourist died after falling into the sea while taking a selfie on a cliff in Nusa Lembongan, an island off the coast of Bali, Indonesia.

July: A 21-year-old Russian university graduate died after falling from a bridge while she was trying to take a memorable selfie next to Moscow City financial district, a place known for brokers jumping from windows during the Cold War, (OK, I made the last part up.)

A man from San Diego, Calif., was hospitalized for five days following an attempt to take a selfie with a rattlesnake. This is the first American on the list and an early favorite for this year’s Darwin Awards Grand Prize.

August: A man died in the annual bull running festival in the town of Villaseca de la Sagrawhile trying to take selfie with el toro. Isn’t it hard enough getting out of this thing alive anyway? Why handicap yourself? But I kind of get it. It would have been a classic.

September: A 19-year-old from Houston, Texas died after trying to take an Instagram selfie while holding a loaded gun to his head. But he accidentally fired the gun and shot himself in the throat.

A Japanese tourist fell down a staircase to his death while taking a selfie at the TajMahal. That could happen to anyone.

A 17-year-old Russian student fell to his death attempting to take a selfie while hanging from a nine-story building.

This last one gives Russia the most selfie terminations with six. Here’s hoping they’re last in shark attacks.

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.