The Growing Selfie Death Toll

Here’s an interesting statistic:  more people died last year in “selfie”-related incidents than died from shark attacks.

That’s according to a recent scholarly paper that looked at the phenomenon of “selfie” deaths — defined as deaths that could have been avoided if the person involved had not been taking a “selfie.” According to the paper, India leads the world in reported selfie deaths and, in fact, has had more reported selfie deaths since 2014 than the rest of the world combined.  The United States, according to the paper, comes in third.  Sadly, most of the selfie deaths occurred to people who were under the age of 24, and the number of selfie deaths seems to be on the rise.

o-bull-run-selfie-facebookThe primary cause of “selfie” deaths appears to be the “adventurous” selfie.  That’s the selfie the person takes against some dramatic backdrop, like a selfie taken at the edge of a cliff or in front of an oncoming train.  (No kidding!  People really do this stuff!)  The paper breaks selfie deaths down into categories like “height related,” “water related,” “train related,” and “weapons related” — where the death is caused by the accidental firing of a weapon that was to be prominently featured in the selfie.  There are even categories for “animal related” and “electricity related” selfie deaths, which sound especially grisly.

The paper attempts to quantify what makes particular “adventurous” selfies especially dangerous, in the hopes of making the world a safer place by making people more aware.

It’s a laudable goal — but what makes the authors think that anyone stupid enough to go shuffling backward toward the edge of a cliff, or to move nearer to that tiger, to try to frame the perfect selfie shot is going to read a scholarly paper?  Selfie deaths seem to be Darwinism in action.

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