Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Garth Rattray | Cruel social media practices

Published:Monday | September 25, 2017 | 12:00 AM

I recently saw a young lady who was extremely close to her younger cousin. In fact, they were like sisters. She was severely emotionally traumatised when she saw (viral) photographs of her little cousin's mutilated dead body appear on her smartphone all the way from a source out of Miami, Florida. No one in the immediate family was aware of the unfortunate demise of the young lady. That was how they learnt of the terrible tragedy that befell the teenager.

People capture various violent crimes and killings of all sorts - suicides, self-defence, accident, and murder. They record the last gasps and dying embers of human lives. They gawk while focusing on mangled limbs, gaping wounds, gushing blood and splattered corpses. Then, they send those images out at light speed, all across the globe. That level of callousness, thoughtlessness, cruelty and moral decrepit actions are way beyond my understanding.

I vividly recall a lady who consistently braved the burning sun and pelting rain to sell newspapers in Half-Way Tree. She turned up day after day in order to support her family. She was a faceless figure until a large, runaway garbage truck accidentally ploughed into her as she sold newspapers by the sidewalk. She was pregnant and the truck mangled her body, killing her and the foetus inside of her. Out came the smartphone cameras, and that indescribable image was transmitted everywhere for everyone to witness her tragic end.

Another striking broadcast was that of a policeman murdered in the line of duty by a sociopathic degenerate. I'll never understand what prompted passers-by to record the gruesome end of one of the only people sworn to protect us from ruthless criminals and murderers like the one that shot and killed him.




People have always expressed serious and genuine concern that they or their loved ones could conceivably be involved in a bad crash or become the victims of criminal activity and be further victimised by low-life people who rob them of valuables while they are totally helpless. The ridiculous state of our emergency ambulance responses (aside from the private services) has also left many of us fretting that Good Samaritans might mishandle our damaged and unconscious bodies, leading to even further physical trauma.

Now, added to all that worry, is the reality that, should anyone become involved in trauma of any kind, many people will flick out their cellular phones and record our horrible suffering to replay and broadcast for their sick pleasure. No one is doing it in case there are legal proceedings. The cowards will never turn up as witnesses in the court, so their actions are in no way meant to assist the victims. Besides, they are too preoccupied with their ghoulish task to help anyone.

There was this recent recording of a young man who was shot somewhere in his upper body, in Spanish Town. The videographer circled the fellow in order to capture every conceivable angle of his suffering and the flowing blood. No one assisted him. Instead, someone asked him if he wanted to be taken to the hospital!

People, people everywhere and not a one to assist,

They're busy recording suffering and death, to send to those who missed.

Blood and gore and so much more, who cares who they offend?

Relatives and friends grieve forever, having seen loved one's bitter end.

Since freedom of speech and of expression are now the order of the day,

Our rights to privacy, even in dying, have been taken away.

Oh for a law against pornography, on the Internet they cannot post,

We need one to protect victims and relatives, because they suffer the most.

How can someone become so detached, and take the time to record,

Images of dying fellow humans and broadcast them, even abroad?

I always wonder how they do it, without a care or thought,

It must be a new mental malady, a classification must be sought.

Our Cybercrimes Act (2010) is a good start, but it obviously begs for amendments in keeping with the scope of atrocious cruelties committed by degenerates. Alternatively, perhaps those offended and traumatised could sue the perpetrators for severe emotional trauma and the cost of therapy and medications.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to and