All Summer long when people were freaking out about the shark attacks in North Carolina (and worldwide) I was quick to point out that there really wasn’t any more shark attacks this year than in any other year, and this year wasn’t any more deadly than years past. If you felt like this year was significantly worse in terms of shark attacks then you are very, very wrong. What was actually happening was the mainstream media was reporting on the shark attacks 24/7, sensationalizing them in a way that made it seem like the sky was falling. They were doing this because there is an early-stage El Niño forming in the Caribbean that has actually led to significantly less hurricane activity and therefore CNN, CBS, NBC, and FOX News didn’t have their typical hurricane fear-mongering to do, and therefore they resorted to making sharks attacks in 2015 sound like the worst thing to happen in the history of mankind. Don’t believe me? Well, Mashable ran the numbers and selfies are responsible more deaths so far in 2015 than shark attacks. Selfie-related deaths have accounted for 12 fatalities so far this year while shark attacks have only caused 8 deaths.
It sounds like a joke, but unfortunately it isn’t: The deaths are a tragic reminder to travelers that focusing on a phone screen instead of unfamiliar surroundings is not safe.
Four of the selfie deaths this year, like the tourist, identified as Hideto Ueda, were caused by falling.
The next leading cause of deaths involving selfies was being hit or injured by trains, either because the individual was taking trying to get a photo with a train or because the photo they wanted involved getting on dangerous equipment.
It’s not clear if the number of daredevil selfies is increasing, but more and more tourists are making headlines because of their dangerous attempts at a memorable photo. Parks have closed because visitors keep trying to take selfies with bears, bull runs — an already dangerous activity — have had to expressly outlaw selfie-taking, and even Tour de France cyclists are concerned about selfie danger.
I just want to send a huge shout out to Mashable for doing the finest journalism work we’ve seen so far in 2015. In my mind it all went down like this:
Person 1: I’m sick and tired of the mainstream media and their asinine fear mongering when it comes to shark attacks.
Person 2: I wonder if we could find something that’s killed more people than shark attacks, something that’s so simple it’d make the mainstream media look like gigantic assholes for their shark attack feat mongering.
Person 1: Let’s run the numbers on deadly fart attacks.
Person 2: Did you say ‘heart attacks’?
Person 1: No, I said ‘far attacks’.
Person 2: Okay, well, I can’t find any data on people dying from fart attacks so far in 2015.
Person 1: What about selfies?
Person 2: Holy shit, we’re going to make these shark fin soup-eating assholes look like the scumbags they are for making sharks look like the ultimate harbingers of death, and perpetuating evil stereotypes about sharks that are leading to massive decline in species numbers and has forced many species of sharks towards extinction.
Person 1: To be honest, I just think it’s funny to point out that selfies can be lethal.
Person 2: Oh. I see your point, it is somehow (albeit morbidly) funny to point out that selfies can be lethal.
Person 1: Good talk, now let’s go viral with this.
And then the news that shark attacks are responsible for less deaths than selfies (in 2015) went viral. The same mainstream media that in mid-July were making the Outer Banks shark attacks out to be the worst thing to happen in the history of mankind are now happy to report that selfies have killed more people than sharks this year.
I for one think we should all blame Kim Kardashian, and her ‘Selfish’ book of selfies for this alarming spike in selfie-related deaths. Last year our very own BroBible Editor Chris Illuminati called 2014 the Year of the ‘Death Selfie’ because there were so many selfie-related deaths, but already there are more selfie-related deaths through September of 2015 than there was in all of last year.
For more on this epidemic of selfie-related deaths check out Mashable’s report.