Warning! Selfie deaths are now more numerous than shark deaths this year, according to a report Tuesday by Mashable that is taking a bite out of the Internet.
The desperate scream of "don't step back any farther!" just doesn't carry the same urgency as "shark! shark!" and Mashable
noted that this stuff really happens, citing the latest selfie death: A Japanese tourist in India cracked open his head while trying to take a picture of himself in front of the Taj Mahal.
The tourist fell off a staircase while trying to take a selfie at the site's Royal Gate, breaking a leg in addition to suffering a fatal head injury. Agra tourist police officer Sushant Gaur told BBC News Hindi
that the tourist had been with three other people when the incident happened.
"The man's death raises the selfie-related death toll this year — to 12," wrote Mashable's Cailey Rizzo. "To put that in perspective, in 2015 there have so far been eight deaths caused by shark attacks."
"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," said Rizzo.
Mashable noted that four of the selfie-takers were killed by falls while others have been injured by passing trains and doing daredevil stunts. In the past, people have died trying for selfies with wild bears or during bull runs. The stories are legendary.
"So now's as good a time as any to offer this friendly reminder: don't do it for the 'gram if the risk outweighs the joyous feeling of seeing those likes go up and up. OK," said Lindsey Caldwell of E! News
. "The seriousness surrounding the selfie is so big that even major event producers are catching on."
As a sign that businesses are starting to understand the safety risks, E! News pointed to Disney theme parks banning selfie sticks at all of its facilities in June
Caitlyn Dewey of the Washington Post
, though, dismissed the Mashable "selfie death" warning, saying picture-taking on the cellphone is no more dangerous any other accident.
"It also makes no sense whatsoever: Rizzo's comparing oranges and apples," Dewey complained. "But if we did that, we'd come to the boring conclusion that selfie-related deaths are total anomalies: a microscopic sliver of the big ole death pie chart, scarcely even worth mentioning."
"Why mention it in the first place, you might ask. After all, people get injured as a result of their distractions every day," Dewey added.
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